Earlier on This is My Face, I wrote a review of A Cavern of Black Ice where I said that I had tried to find a fantasy novel that tried to get away from Lord of the Rings connotations. However, long before I had that brainwave, I purchased Eragon, a fantasy novel involving a boy and his dragon. And some Elves. And Dwarves. And Orcs... oops, I mean Urgals.
However it isn’t a complete rip-off. Paolini did come up with his own world map and characters with their own problems. The boy and his dragon is something the target audience will can with; every young boy wants his own pet dragon, surely??
The whole novel is written from Eragon’s perspective which makes it easy to follow. The book is 497 pages long and doesn’t take that long to read once you get into it, which does credit to Paolini’s writing style.
However, going back to the similarities with Lord of the Rings, the general concept is the same. Young character inherits strange object; The One Ring/The One Dragon Egg. Character must then travel; to destroy The One Ring/to protect The One Dragon (now no longer an egg.) The character has elders and friends to help them; Brom and Murtagh/Gandalf and friends. The story is told over three books; Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr/Fellowship, Two Towers, Return of the King.
The best aspect of the novel is the main character. Eragon does everything the reader would expect him to do. He acts his age, is curious and adventurous but at the same time makes mistakes and learns from them. I wasn’t ripping my hair out with frustration, like I have done with many other books, where the characters are overly stupid and end up creating problems for the author. It’s another credit to Paolini. He understands and has control over his characters.
So who would I recommend this book to? Fans of Lord of the Rings would probably like this or children and young adults. Any fans of dragons and the like would also appreciate a bit of Eragon, best served flame-grilled with a hint of scales.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini was originally self-published by Paolini International* in 2002. Due to its success, it was then re-published Doubleday in 2004 and Corgi in 2005. RRP £6.99 (Corgi, Paperback)
*I was actually disappointed that Eragon wasn’t a pile of shit. Then I could have gone on a tirade about how Christopher Paolini is a spoilt child whose parents gave him everything, even his own book. I’m going to have to find something bad to read next week to make up for all this... niceness.