by Christopher Paolini
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
509 pages; ISBN: 0375826688
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Knopf, Aug 2003, $18.95, 509 pp.
Fifteen years old Eragon hunts deer in the nearby Spine, a locale feared by the townsfolk of his village Carvahall. As he about to shoot an arrow, an explosion occurs. He checks and in the midst of where his prey was resides a blue stone with white lines on it. The gem soon hatches into a noisy sapphire blue dragon. Receiving guidance from the village storyteller, the teen raises his new companion that he names Saphira.
King Galbatorix wants the dragon and its owner working for him. His evil followers murder Eragon’s uncle and go after the lad. Eragon and Saphira flee. On the run, they learn to fight as one and study magic in an attempt for the lad and his dragon to become the first Dragon Rider in a century. If successful with the first stage of their quest, they will attempt to avenge the killing of his family and free the Empire from the monarch and his malevolent minions.
Clearly paying homage to Beowulf and of course Tolkien, Christopher Paolini provides a powerful epic fantasy. The tale stars a delightful coming of age hero, a dragon, a mentor, and an assortment of human and otherworldly evil essences. Though adjusting to the proper names of places and people can prove difficult (thank goodness for a listing and a map), the fast-paced story line is action-packed so that readers gain a strong novel that tells part of the tale (sequels to follow). Lord of the Ring fans of all ages will appreciate Christopher Paolini’s terrific tale and look forward to the sequel in the Inheritance Trilogy.
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