Reading Challenge Book Eleven: Eragon
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .
Why I chose this book
It’s one of those fantasy books that everyone else has read, so I decided it was about time I read it too.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars
This book follows a young lad who finds a dragon egg. When strangers seeking the egg destroy his home, he goes on a revenge mission. The tables turn, and the hunter becomes the hunted. Suitable for young teen readers and upwards, this is a clean book with some battle violence.
I’m a big dragon fan, and Saphira the dragon is definitely a highlight of the book. She’s a great character who we watch develop from a baby through to being a juvenile dragon. She steers Eragon and acts as a voice of reason.
This ties in with another good point – Eragon’s character arc. The boy develops from a young lad who doesn’t know his way in the world, through intense training and learning to bond with his dragon, to becoming an experienced fighter and practitioner of magic. The development is gradual and makes for a good read. Eragon makes mistakes and learns from them, with the help of others wiser than himself.
The earlier part of the journey with Eragon’s training and chasing down the Razac was the bit I enjoyed the most.
Bad points *contain some spoilers*
The beginning of the book was very wordy and relied on an awful lot of exposition to get the backstory over. It was too much to take in. Descriptions throughout are rather overdone for my personal taste, especially those of people.
The plot sagged in the middle. Eragon caught up with the Razac, who he wanted to kill to get revenge. He realises they are more likely to kill him, and starts running back the way he came. Then he just seems to run around for ages with no particular goal except not getting caught.
So they cross a desert and meet another race of humans, the Varden, and also the dwarfs. And there is a big battle. The battle works well as a climax, but because we only met the Varden late on in the novel, I only really care about Eragon, his dragon, and his friend, Murtagh. So it’s good action, but not much emotion.
Whilst I thought this was a decent read, and I enjoyed the characters and their arcs, the plot as a whole didn’t do much for me. It’s typical high fantasy, learn some magic, fly a dragon, chase the Orcs *cough* I mean Urgals, elves and dwarves, chosen Dragon Rider, prophecy blah blah.
The beginning reminded me of Star Wars and then it turned into “Lord of the Rings with a wishy-washy goal.” If you like that kind of thing, you’ll enjoy it, but don’t expect any major surprises.
I should also say, that if this book is read in the context of it being written by a 15-year-old, it’s pretty amazing, and makes me more inclined to be lenient in respect of the flaws.
I went on to read book two, Eldest, because I’d already picked it up cheaply. However, I would only give Eldest 3 stars out of 5. I found it long-winded, full of complicated names and backstory, and light on plot where Eragon was concerned. The pace was pretty glacial, and then the final battle was squished in at the end. The secondary plot focuses on Eragon’s brother, Roran, and this was more focused and action-packed, but I wasn’t particularly drawn to Roran as a character in himself. In conclusion, I won’t be reading further books in the series given that the second felt like a decline.