Eragon, the first installment of Christopher Paolini’s quartet–or cycle as he calls it–sets up the classic tale of the hero’s journey. It’s a story we’ve all heard, one that started roughly with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
What makes Eragon interesting is the relationship that our hero–who has the same name as the book’s title–has with his blue dragon, Saphira. Their mental link helps to humanize Saphira. She isn’t like the stereotypical dragon: she has a sense of humor, pride, and unique personality that sets her apart. And she is so cute as a baby dragon!
I also enjoy the adventure that Eragon offers. The aspect of traveling is exciting, and allows me to explore more of the world Paolini has created. Like many fantasy novels before his, Paolini has created a wonderful map, which is perfect for looking up new places. (I also love that as the main book colors change, the color of the map changes.)
While Paolini has written something that is essentially unoriginal–the hero’s journey in a good versus evil plot line–his characters are interesting. Eragon is not the most graceful of male heroes. He is a young person who suddenly gains a large amount of responsibility, and because he doesn’t know everything about his station, he’s going to make mistakes. As Eragon progresses, our titular character makes a range of mistakes, ones that he learns from over time. One of his mistakes in the first book deals with magic. Eragon uses a spell in the village of Yazuac to kill some Urgals–creatures with horns–without knowing what the effect will be on his body. After this, the village storyteller Brom schools Eragon in the ways of magic.
What I enjoyed about Eragon as a whole was watching our main character grow, becoming steadily stronger and more knowledgeable about magic, swordplay, and Alagaësia. Overall, this book was a fun read. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and the idea of having your very own dragon.