Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon

Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when...

Title:Eragon
Author:
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Edition Language:English

Eragon Reviews

  • M. Weaver

    Right so. I'll just say it: I hate Paolini's work. To my very core. I don't really think it's so much the "he stole from Tolkien/Lucas/Gandhi/God/my dog..," though whoever may say this has a point. Even though he blatantly took ideas from pioneers in their respective fields, that isn't what bothers me the most.

    When I was fourteen, I admired him out of mere jealously. I was absolutely green with envy tha

    Right so. I'll just say it: I hate Paolini's work. To my very core. I don't really think it's so much the "he stole from Tolkien/Lucas/Gandhi/God/my dog..," though whoever may say this has a point. Even though he blatantly took ideas from pioneers in their respective fields, that isn't what bothers me the most.

    When I was fourteen, I admired him out of mere jealously. I was absolutely green with envy that he could publish a book at age fifteen and receive any kind of acclaim. But in retrospect (and nearly vomiting as I attempted to get through a chapter of

    , which I failed at miserably), I realized that I had no reason to envy Paolini at all. He doesn't know how to write. String together a vague semblance of a story? Possibly. But at the end of the day, the description is purple, the dialogue is stilted, and the character development is next to non-existent.

    For starters, has anyone noticed that he is obsessed with stating distances? Something like, "Two feet away stood three troops of fifty, in rows of five, making ten people per row" is a sentence uncannily close to one I read in the actual book itself. This kind of information is superfluous and distracting, taking away from important aspects of a novel such as character development--which, by the way, he integrates next to none of. Who

    Eragon? I seem to have forgotten everything about him, other than the fact that he is creepily obsessed with a woman who has no interest in him, he acquires fighting skills incredibly fast (read: Mary Sue red-flag), and only reprehensible villains disagree with him. Basically, he's perfect, and he only gets even more amazing at everything he does. Where is the fun in a character like that?

    I do, however, remember Murtagh... a little. Probably because he's the only one who changes at all as a character throughout the book, other than the occasional insight into Eragon's personal airplane--I mean, pet dragon--I mean, companion, Saphira. Even her characterization is sacrificed because she's used as a plot device by Paolini rather than fleshed out as an actual character. None of the characters are memorable and the main character is my least favorite character of them all! How are we supposed to root for the main character when he is nothing but an arrogant snot, constantly reaffirming a holier-than-thou attitude to everyone around him?

    The plot is a cliche hero's journey that has been done before, and

    , might I add. Where's the appeal in that? Answer: there is none.

    What left is there to hold in high regard? His world building skills? False. I don't know why he decided that his world of Alagaesia had to have EVERY single climate condition imaginable, but doing so made his world seem juvenile, fake, and forced. Not to mention boring judging by the awful over-description of said world. With regards to the language he "created"? He mostly ripped from old Norse words. He's admitted to it himself. Look,

    can string a bunch of letters together and call it a language. But Paolini hasn't a single clue when it comes to linguistics. And hey, I'll admit that I don't either. But I also don't try to create my own languages--that I more or less steal--and claim that I created all by myself. Seriously, Paolini's alleged arrogance (based on interviews I've seen/read) disgusts me.

    All in all, sure, it's fantastic that he published a book at such a young age, but are we as a society lowering the bar that much as to celebrate mediocrity? The man is now twenty-eight years old and his successive books

    ,

    and finally,

    are decidedly much worse than his first book on every front. That he wrote

    . This is a huge problem in my eyes. Someone so unwilling to grow or change like any other writer should have their title of "writer" stripped from them. It's insulting.

  • J.G. Keely

    Standard fantasy fare, except that while most fantasy authors lift their plots only vaguely from a previous author, Eragon is simply the plot of Star Wars with a Lord of the Rings paintjob:

    Princess flees, trying to keep precious item out of the evil emperor's hands. Boy finds item. Bad guys burn down his farm and kill his uncle. Old mysterious man helps him, and turns out to be part of a secret order of knights to which boy's (now evil) father belonged. Gives boy father's sword and takes him (ev

    Standard fantasy fare, except that while most fantasy authors lift their plots only vaguely from a previous author, Eragon is simply the plot of Star Wars with a Lord of the Rings paintjob:

    Princess flees, trying to keep precious item out of the evil emperor's hands. Boy finds item. Bad guys burn down his farm and kill his uncle. Old mysterious man helps him, and turns out to be part of a secret order of knights to which boy's (now evil) father belonged. Gives boy father's sword and takes him (eventually) to princess, then dies tragically. Boy learns how to fly X-Wings (er, dragons) and goes to take on his father and the evil emperor, &c., &c.

    Paolini also resembles other fantasy authors by denying that he is a fantasy author, instead imagining that he is a great literary talent. In his own words:

    Unfortunately, his control of language is more akin to a piece of Harry Potter fanfic. There are some days that I wish my parents ran their own publishing company, too. However, if such a boon would require me to write as obliviously as Paolini, I would have to decline.

    Yeah, I know he was eighteen, but so was Byron when he wrote "Hours Of Idleness" and Pope when he wrote his "Essay on Criticism". If Paolini doesn't hesitate to compare himself to (what he sees as) literary greats, I certainly have no problem with letting my criticism fall with equal weight on his little bit of fluff.

    I think the reason I keep returning to Pulp writers like Robert E. Howard is that those authors just wanted to write exciting stories instead of the next 'literary event'. Authors who lack pretension often write very good stories, because they aren't forcing themselves to write overblown, overly-complex stories. Many modern fantasy authors do the opposite: they write redundant escapist yarns and then get upset that no one considers them to be literary greats, yet.

    There is nothing new or interesting here for anyone who has read fantasy before--it's just a rehash of old cliches. The writing, pacing, and characterization are substandard. I wasn't surprised to find that a teen boy wrote this book--it's exactly what I would expect a teenage fantasy fan to write.

  • J.Elle

    I cannot adequately express my complete and utter loathing for this book. I was working at a library during the time that this book was being published and had access to a galley of the novel. I did finish it, but only so I could know (entirely how much) Christopher Paolini (the supposed 16-year-old author-genius) had plagiarized J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of The Rings" trilogy. If you are not familiar with the Inheritance books, allow me to inform you:

    Lord of the Rings: Trilogy

    Eragon: Trilogy

    Lord o

    I cannot adequately express my complete and utter loathing for this book. I was working at a library during the time that this book was being published and had access to a galley of the novel. I did finish it, but only so I could know (entirely how much) Christopher Paolini (the supposed 16-year-old author-genius) had plagiarized J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of The Rings" trilogy. If you are not familiar with the Inheritance books, allow me to inform you:

    Lord of the Rings: Trilogy

    Eragon: Trilogy

    Lord of the Rings: a main character Aragorn

    Eragon: main charactor Eragon

    Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's love interest is Arwen (the daughter of an elf king)

    Eragon: Eragon's love interest is Arya (the daughter of an elf king)

    Lord of the Rings: bad flying things are Ringwraiths

    Eragon: bad flying things are Ra'zac

    Lord of the Rings: there is a big fight in the troll dungeons

    Eragon: there is a big fight in the troll dungeons

    I could continue...suffice it to say, after reading "Eragon" I classified it as "Lord of the Rings" with a dragon. This is definitely not worth anyone's time, unless you want to amuse yourself by noting how many similarities there are between the trilogies.

    Addendum: WOW! Thanks for all the comments. This is, by far, my most popular review. I'm glad to know others share my feelings for this pitiful excuse of an imaginative novel.

    Addendum 2: If you, like so many others in the comments, find fault with my apparent ignorance and wish to correct me regarding the fact that this series is not a trilogy, please see comment #53.

    Addendum 3: I can't even. I just can't. Do you know how many people have commented on the fact that this isn't a trilogy since I added Addendum 2 SPECIFICALLY addressing that? I don't even know how many because I've lost count. What does this teach us? It teaches us that people don't read. Let that sink in.

  • Brownbetty

    Two or three years ago, everywhere I went there was some display attempting to sell me

    , by Christopher Paolini. It was obviously a bad book without opening the cover: the back cover carries a quote from the book, and an endorsement by Anne McCaffrey, and I'm pretty sure I could get that woman to supply a blurb for a double mint wrapper to the effect of "I couldn't put it down! An author ... to watch for!" The quote is "Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the

    Two or three years ago, everywhere I went there was some display attempting to sell me

    , by Christopher Paolini. It was obviously a bad book without opening the cover: the back cover carries a quote from the book, and an endorsement by Anne McCaffrey, and I'm pretty sure I could get that woman to supply a blurb for a double mint wrapper to the effect of "I couldn't put it down! An author ... to watch for!" The quote is "Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world." Please note, the author has just claimed that the world is going to be changed by a smell. Which would actually be an interesting book, sadly, not this one. I know this, because that quote is the first sentence of the book, and what the author means is "Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent giving warning of the coming of persons who would set in motion events that would change the world." I know, it lacks a certain something.

    Better the eighty percent of the pit of voles, but still, undeserving of being published.

    I do not blame Paolini for writing a bad book. People write, and sometimes, they write badly. But I do blame the editor, and his publishing house. This book is crap, and it should have been obvious to anyone who read it. The main character's most interesting bit of characterization and only vestige of personality is that he collects rocks, and this is only mentioned in one paragraph. He's a transparent sue. Everyone acts as if they have just acquired their motivations and history on a 3x5 card before walking on for their scene.

    The plot is a clumsy clunker that is foreshadowed on page 22. He has never known his father, and his mother refused to answer questions about him! Do you think this will turn up again later? His name is Eragon. Like dragon, but with an E. An old man pops in to tell what in a better novel would be suspiciously appropriate myths and folktales every time Eragon needs to know what is going on.

    Descriptive sections are often incomprehensible, as for example, "His hand was numb, his fingers paralysed. Alarmed, he watched as the middle of his palm shimmered and formed a diffuse white oval." The only reason I know what the author is intending to say there is because I have read enough fantasy to recognize the Mystical Mark.

    Our hero makes decisions that make no sense, simply because they are necessary to move the plot forward. Obstacles like hiding a dragon from those living in your house are hand waved away in two paragraphs. Things that oughtn't be obstacles, like buying groceries, are, just to build sympathy with the protagonist by inserting baseless discrimination.

    Why publish this!? Were they incapable of finding something more deserving? Was this book even edited? Is he someone's nephew? Publishing this book is an insult to readers and a disservice to writers everywhere, including Mr. Paolini. It's like telling someone they look great when they have spinach in their teeth. Dammit!

  • Faith

    I LOVE the Inheritance books. I had never heard of Christopher Paolini before, and was walking through Barnes and Noble when I saw this book on the end display. What caught my eye was the dragon on the front cover (I love dragons, and my "artistic eye" was captivated by the artwork). This is a great fiction/adventure/fantasy novel. Anyone who is a Lord of the Rings would truly have an appreciation for this book. I was hooked from the moment I picked up this book and began reading. The story begi

    I LOVE the Inheritance books. I had never heard of Christopher Paolini before, and was walking through Barnes and Noble when I saw this book on the end display. What caught my eye was the dragon on the front cover (I love dragons, and my "artistic eye" was captivated by the artwork). This is a great fiction/adventure/fantasy novel. Anyone who is a Lord of the Rings would truly have an appreciation for this book. I was hooked from the moment I picked up this book and began reading. The story begins with a young farm boy, named Eragon, from a small village. While hunting in the wilderness in search of food for their family, Eragon comes across a rare stone (which is later revealed to be a dragon egg). He takes it home with him and to his suprise the egg hatches and out comes Saphira. The two are instantly connected as a Dragon and Rider making them inseparable. Once Saphira is big enough to fly they set out to seek revenge for the death of Eragon's uncle who was murdered. This is just the begining of their journey throughout the land battling mysterious, evil forces. A very good book to cuddle up with on a cool fall day or during the winter when you need a good adventure to bring you out of being stuck in your house.

  • Swankivy

    A short (and somewhat sarcastic) summary: Main character = Eragon, mysteeeeerious boy-child left with his aunt and uncle by wandering mother, father unknown. Boy finds mysteeeeerious stone. Turns out to be dragon egg. Boy raises dragon and bonds with it strongly. Bad guys come and destroy boy's house and kill his uncle. Boy swears revenge. Boy's secret dragon is discovered by mysteeeerious storyteller who turns out to be master swordsman and random magic user. The hunt for the bad guys begins, a

    A short (and somewhat sarcastic) summary: Main character = Eragon, mysteeeeerious boy-child left with his aunt and uncle by wandering mother, father unknown. Boy finds mysteeeeerious stone. Turns out to be dragon egg. Boy raises dragon and bonds with it strongly. Bad guys come and destroy boy's house and kill his uncle. Boy swears revenge. Boy's secret dragon is discovered by mysteeeerious storyteller who turns out to be master swordsman and random magic user. The hunt for the bad guys begins, and boy searches for his destiny as a legendary Dragon Rider (of course, that must be capitalized). Eragon goes through traditional bouts of training and learning about himself under the stern tutelage of old wise traveling companion. Along the way he gains and loses friends, and rescues a mysteeeerious woman from a horrible dungeon while never straying from his quest to put right all that is wrong in a world oppressively ruled by an evil king.

    This book has gotten lots of attention since it first came out, partly because the author is so young. He was fifteen when he started the book, and was nineteen when it was published. Age isn't always correlated with mastery, of course, but when I read this book, I could TELL that the writer was either young or an immature writer. Though it seems people think it "got published" somehow because of its great merit, this book was actually self-published by the author's parents (company was Paolini International), and then it was paraded around on a self-funded signing tour the way most self-published people do. An established author happened to run into the family doing a signing while he was on vacation, thought a kid writing a book was interesting, bought a copy and made his stepson read it, and decided to try to get the book a deal when the kid liked it. The people at Knopf re-edited and repackaged and re-released it under that label. I believe that if this book had meandered its way to publishing houses the usual way, it would have been rejected as unpublishable, for reasons I will discuss in depth here.

    Christopher Paolini himself, in his own words, describes his story thus: "Eragon is an archetypal hero story, filled with exciting action, dangerous villains, and fantastic locations. There are dragons and elves, sword fights and unexpected revelations, and of course, a beautiful maiden who's more than capable of taking care of herself."

    I would argue that this book is not an "archetypal hero story" so much as an overused and overly traditional Tolkienien "epic," with "epic" in quotes because it lacks exactly that epic nature that made the world of Lord of the Rings so rich. There was absolutely nothing new or "unexpected" in this book (though the author claims there are "revelations"), and if a reader is excited by this book, they are probably reacting to the concepts themselves (e.g., fantasy worlds, dragons, fierce battles) rather than the book's own merit, or perhaps they have never been exposed to the dozens of fantasy and science fiction epics from which this author pulled his influences. My feeling was that this book was nothing special because, if I may be so blunt, "it's been done," and it's been done better.

    Overall, I just think that this book was written as though it had a template or blueprint for "traditional fantasy novel" and the details and names were simply filled in. I couldn't help feeling the entire time I was reading it that I had read this story before, nothing was much of a surprise, and things that didn't make sense or got in the way of a conflicting original vision were smoothed over with excuses or deliberate muddling of motives. I think that in order to write something so traditional, a writer needs something special, a unique twist or slant, and this just hasn't got it. (In other words, I'm not saying that writing an "archetypal fantasy epic" is BAD; I'm saying that it needs to not be a rehashing of overused themes that have been done to death by classic writers.) The boy and his powerful companion having an intimate relationship? Done, in everything from Anne McCaffrey to freaking

    . The hero quest to punish the baddies and bring the good guys back into power? Done, in

    and

    . Lush descriptions of landscapes and surroundings? Done by Tolkien of course, but more as a background to action rather than in stagnant heaps of detail. Mysterious companions to whom there is more than meets the eye? I don't even want to think about all the books and movies that have done that. I can't pick out a single thing that this book has that has never been done before, the characters didn't interest or capture me, the storytelling was riddled with too many attempts to be grand that I was just entirely turned off by it.

    Some specifics about the bad writing style:

    Every imaginable permutation of the word "said" is used. If the reader cannot tell how someone is saying something by what they are saying, it is likely that the dialogue has been written sloppily. "'You're not thinking,' admonished Brom." Yes, that is an admonishment without you telling us so. Leave it out. "'Get on with the story,' he said impatiently." Well, if one person is urging another to get on with it, it stands to reason that it's being said impatiently. Running into "'Sorry,' apologized Brom" made me cringe. The fact that Brom said "Sorry" means that he apologized, so use "said." You can deviate from "said" if for some reason HOW the sentence is said is not obvious, such as volume ("he whispered") or intent ("he said sarcastically," if it isn't obvious that that's a sarcastic comment anyway). Leave out the decorations because they're tacky. The speech tags are not the part of the writing that is supposed to be interesting, so don't distract us; believe me when I say that if you do it, nearly any editor will consider it an early warning sign that you are an amateur.

    Unnecessary description is inserted with maddening frequency. I am not usually a reader of traditional fantasy, and traditional fantasy does tend to be more flowery than the hard stuff, but either way random descriptions should not just be thrown into the mix. Eragon is waking up and stretching. Suddenly we get a description of the items on his night table, including the random information that he likes to look at one of the objects on it frequently. In the meantime, while we are getting this rush of information, Eragon is putting on his shoes. He then does not proceed to touch, pick up, or look at anything on the night table, and none of it is ever mentioned again. Also, people and places just get sudden paragraphs of description. We're fighting an Urgal and all of a sudden . . . drop some description on us. While he's rushing at Eragon with drooling fangs, no less. By all means, describe the fangs, slipping the adjectives in gracefully. But don't give us a run-down of a typical Urgal when we're a lot more interested in whether those fangs are going into Eragon's head.

    And lastly, too many words, phrases, and concepts seem to be entirely lifted from other well-known works. Word choice seemed as though it was the author's attempt to use all his SAT words; it was verbose and flowery as if on purpose, trying to impress with vocabulary that would have been better used sparingly. The similarity of some people's and places' names to those of Tolkien have not gone unnoticed by seasoned fantasy readers; I have heard several people call this book "Aragorn" without even noticing that they weren't saying it right, not to mention things like Ardwen (compared with Arwen), Isenstar (compared with Isengard), and Isidar (compared with Isildur)--and there are a LOT more. A ridiculous number of phrases seem to be something I've heard before, though I'm not sure where; for example, near the beginning someone is touching a wrapped package repeatedly, "as if to reassure herself that it was still there." I mentioned this to a friend and said, "That's FROM something." He replied, "It's FROM everything!" Far too often, ridiculously overused or clichéd similes and metaphors are used, such as tears being described as "liquid diamonds." It is less like this book was written and more like it was sewn together from the torn apart products of others, like some old quilt on which the stitches are showing. (How's that for an original simile?)

    There's definitely not enough space in this little box (which has a character limit) for me to go into as much detail as I'd like talking about how bad this book is, so if you really want to read my ranting in all its entirety, you might want to check out my

    on my website.

  • Nataliya

    Here is a short list of things I find more enjoyable than reading

    :

    Why does this book read like it was written by a fantasy-obsessed 15-year-old? Oh, nevermind...

    It's like Paolini actually, in all seriousness, used Diana Wynne Jones' humorous

    as a real technical manual on how to create the

    universe.

    Here is a short list of things I find more enjoyable than reading

    :

    Why does this book read like it was written by a fantasy-obsessed 15-year-old? Oh, nevermind...

    It's like Paolini actually, in all seriousness, used Diana Wynne Jones' humorous

    as a real technical manual on how to create the

    universe.

    *

    LEFT - the ride that this story promises to take you on. RIGHT - what you actually get.

    Let's have a roll call for the clichés, shall we? A mysterious talented orphan/poor farm boy?

    . Dragons?

    . Elves and dwarves?

    . Stew?

    . Ancient sword?

    . The weird apostrophe-ridden names (save the protagonists, of course?)

    . A quest?

    .

    Damsel in distress?

    . And it goes on and on and on... Wait, you say, maybe Paolini was deliberately paying homage to the traditions of the fantasy genre. Fine. I suppose that could explain some of it. But still,

    I think that the writing is immature and betrays the author's young age and lack of experience. Throughout the novel, Paolini clumsily brings our attention to anything that he considers important to the story with constant reminders and brick-sized hints.

    The descriptions are trying too hard to be Tolkien-like, but fail at this miserably. His attempts at creating accents and dialects are pathetic. There were quite a few instances when I had to shake my head muttering, "I don't think this word means what you think it does".

    OH, I SEE...

    The characters are flat and devoid of any believable personality, with shallow and simplistic motivations that only exist to move the plot forward. The interactions between them are far-fetched and forced. The protagonist (Paolini's version of Luke Skywalker), absolutely marvelous at so many cool things with minimal training (every child's dream) is there for the reader to self-insert into the story. The deux-ex-machina bits replace so many actual solutions in this story that no amount of eyerolling would suffice.

    As for the worldbuilding - well, he stuffs it with every imaginable fantasy trope, as I mentioned before. Ughhhh.

    Why did I read it if I hated it, you ask? Simple answer - I was bored and this was the only book within reach. I would NOT recommend it to those who are familiar with the fantasy genre.

  • Katerina

    -Please,

    do not judge a book by its movie.

    -I read

    for the first time when I was 15 years old.I've re-read it 5 times since (I didn't own many books back then so after I took advantage of my neighbor's and my cousin's library,I kept re-reading my poor collection) and every time I loved it just the same,because it was the book that

    .

    When I got this beauty in my hands,I thought that Eragon was the dragon (laugh all

    -Please,

    do not judge a book by its movie.

    -I read

    for the first time when I was 15 years old.I've re-read it 5 times since (I didn't own many books back then so after I took advantage of my neighbor's and my cousin's library,I kept re-reading my poor collection) and every time I loved it just the same,because it was the book that

    .

    When I got this beauty in my hands,I thought that Eragon was the dragon (laugh all you want,I deserve it).But it turns out Eragon is the teenage boy who finds the dragon named Saphira and together they are the only ones who can fight the powerful and corrupted tyrant Galbatorix.With an old storyteller as his mentor,Eragon travels in Alagaesia,finds dwarves and elves and rebels and embraces his heritage and his responsibility as the last Dragonrider,the protector of the weak and the only hope of an oppressed people.

    You get the picture.

    I know there is a great amount of readers who found this book boring and slow paced and nothing special.Maybe if I read it for the first time as an adult I would agree,maybe I wouldn't.But as things turned out,this is the first book that took me away in uncharted lands,it was my Brom to the fantasy world.I know by heart the ancient language,I still use the dwarven curses (and it is very satisfactory),I still look at it with great affection and love.Eragon could be immature but it is expected from a teenager,and there were so many interesting and vivid characters,like Brom and Murtagh and Arya and Roran and Orik.The world building is fascinating,and there are

    and

    and deaths and

    and

    .

    It is a wonderful journey to embrace one's destiny and purpose.

    And that's exactly what Eragon is.I can't guarantee that you will like this book,but you should give it a chance to bewitch you and make you a Dragonrider!

  • julio

    as if written by an enthusiastic but tragically over-encouraged teenager with insufferably supportive parents who somehow happen to be well-connected in the publishing indus—wait.

    ...oh.

    carry on, then.

  • Ben Alderson

    seriously, Ben. Why have you not read this sooner. This beast has been sat on your TBR pile for years. What is wrong with you? Was little Ben intimidated by the size?

    I FINALLY READ THIS BOOK

    and

    breath

    I honestly think this is one of the best fantasy YA stories. Such a classic!

    ERAGON YOU ARE MIGHTY FINEEEEEEE


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