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'Eragon'     Send a link to a friend

[JAN. 7, 2004]  "Eragon," by Christopher Paolini, Inheritance Trilogy, Alfred A. Knopf, 2003, 509 pages, seventh grade and up.

Review by Louella Moreland

From the gorgeous dragon depicted on the front cover to the detailed pronunciation key and language dictionaries at the end, this first novel by Paolini is certainly impressive. After the cliffhanger ending worthy of Tolkien's "Two Towers," readers will eagerly await the second novel of the trilogy. One of the biggest surprises is that the author is only 19. He started writing "Eragon" when he finished high school at age 15.

The novel delivers all the components a reader expects in a good fantasy. Eragon, a young man of undetermined parentage (at least on the paternal side), is raised by a loving, if poor, family to whom he is quite loyal. While hunting much-needed food in a forbidden area of the mountains, he sees a large stone hurtle through the air and drop onto the forest floor. Suspecting magic is involved with the appearance of this beautiful sapphire-colored object, he determines to sell it and buy food for his family.

That becomes easier decided than accomplished. After returning home, the mysterious "stone" hatches into a dragon, strangers arrive at his remote village hunting the stone, his uncle is murdered, and Eragon is forced into a life he never imagined.

Determined to avenge the death of his uncle, he takes to the road with his young dragon, Saphira, and the village storyteller, Brom. During their travels, Eragon learns, under Brom's tutelage, to become a true Dragon Rider. He becomes skilled in the use of the sword; he learns how to use his magical powers and care for his beloved dragon. He begins to understand how evil forces corrupted King Galbatroix, turning him from a respected Dragon Rider into a figure feared throughout the empire.


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EragonThe reader is introduced to other major and minor characters along the path: Murtagh, son of a much-hated Dragon Rider; Arya, an elf; Durza, a Shade; Angela, an herbalist witch; and a smattering of dwarfs, wizards and evil Urgal armies.

Is some of this sounding a little familiar? Yes, readers of fantasy will recognize Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffery and others of the genre. They are all here in some form or other. By the end of "Eragon," though, we forgive Paolini for borrowing from these great fantasy writers. Combining all the ingredients of a flavor we have come to love, he weaves this tale into a new recipe we wish to taste again.

After finishing the book in a couple of days, I must admit that I am eagerly awaiting the second book of Eragon's adventures and destiny. However, with a first installment of 509 pages, will the second be over 800 pages? Oh, goodness, now would that remind us of....

To read "Eragon" and other books like it, visit us at the Lincoln Public Library, 725 Pekin St. Ask us to help you find similar stories.

[Louella Moreland, youth services librarian,
Lincoln Public Library District]

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