Book Review - Christopher Paolini's Eragon
I know that I am a late comer to Eragon. When I first saw the novel on the shelves, I had heard little about the young author, Christopher Paolini or the plot. I was drawn to the wonderful image of the dragon on the cover. In my head I conjured Eragon as a young dragon and the novel itself was about a dragon in a world where dragons ruled. Then, when I read the synopsis of the story I was let down to find that it was the same clichéd fantasy that we see in so many Tolkien clones.
So, I put off reading Eragon until I found the audio-book sitting on my local library shelf. I travel a lot. So, I listen to a lot of books on cd, and when I get a chance to listen to fantasy I take it.
All the clichés are here. The hero of mysterious birth, the older teacher, the kingdom that is on the edge of doom unless an ancient order of dragon riders comes back to save them. The races of dwarf and elf along with man fight the evil forces in a shaky alliance that could falter at any moment.
Overall, I enjoyed the reading, but felt the story was a little too formulaic. Paolini has a lot to learn about finding his own voice, but he also has lots of time to do it. The one gem of the story is the dragon, Saphira. Paolini writes her character very well, making her not just a tool of the humans, but a fully-fledged player in the plot of the novel. She is big, a little scary, and makes it clear that no one but her will control her actions. She is at once the most vicious character in the novel and the most loving. If Paolini builds on these traits in his new book, Eldest, it might be worth the read.