After reading the Harry Potter books, my interest in children’s literature was somewhat rekindled. I had read a lot of praises for Eragon and when I saw it on offer at half price at the Borders bookshop near I work, I did not hesitate to pick up a copy.
Eragon is the first in a planned trilogy called The Inheritence Cycle. Although Paolini was merely 14 years old when he started writing the book, his inexperience does not show for the most part. The writing style could do with some tightening up in places but had I not been aware of the hype that accompanied the book’s publication, I would not have suspected that the writer was a new, teenage writer.
Like most fantasy novels, the plot is predictable. It involves a reluctant hero who is forced to go on a quest to save the world from an evil tyrant. In this book, teenager Eragon finds a dragon egg and when it hatches he becomes the first Dragon Rider in recent memory. Suddenly, the world’s fate rests in his hands and it is up to him to stop an evil king’s plans for world domination.
The book takes us on a well-trodden path as we are introduced to characters that could have been lifted straight from the pages of The Lord of the Rings such as wizards, elves and dwarves. While I can accept that Tolkien’s formula has become the model for most fantasy writers, it was still disappointing that there was little that could be described as original in Eragon. There were no real twists or surprises. Just familiar characters with different names.
Having said all this, I still have high hopes for this series. There are two books to go and I sense that there are better things to come from Paolini’s pen.