Book Review: Eragon
Ah the newbie fantasy writer sets out on his first romp into the published world. Darn you Christopher Paolini, why couldn’t it be me?
Okay, I didn’t mean that, I wish all new fantasy writers the best of luck... just don’t get in my way.
The story of Eragon begins much like many other fantasies. A farm boy with a lack of parentage and average life comes upon something magical. In this case it is a “Sorcerer’s Stone” in which lies what else but a baby dragon? But being the upstanding citizen he is, Eragon takes it upon himself to care for this baby dragon, only to watch it grow rapidly until the point where his life is turned upside down by an unknown evil.
Many of the ideas expressed in Eragon aren’t new, but what sets it apart from other fantasies is the mood Christopher Paolini creates. I always found myself happy to be in Alagaesia, and he does a good job of describing that world, despite how young he was when this book was first published. I also enjoyed the way in which he made Eragon communicate with the dragon. (Thought dialogue is underused.)
I don’t know how long Christopher Paolini had been writing before he published this book, but there are times where his inexperience shows through.This tends to show itself in the form of unnecessary characters (Angela) and difficulty with pacing. These aren't as noticable in this first book, but as the series progresses, the author makes some frustrating missteps.
small quarrel I had was the lighter tone he seemed to be stuck on. Not every fantasy needs to have graphic descriptions of gore and sex, but when the story calls for it, then you, as the author, need to deliver. I got the sense that certain descriptions were danced around because he either didn't want to offend anyone or he wasn't confident enough in his skills to make it believable. I'm still hoping he will grow as a writer to address this issue, but it might not be something you find with this particular series.
Considering the wealth of young adult novels on the market, you can't really go wrong with Eragon. In fact, I would argue that it's a great introductory book into the world of fantasy. It has its issues but it is a lot of fun and, I believe, worth your time.
4 out of 5