Eragon (2007) by Christopher Paolini
This novel is at once magical and intriguing with an additional touch of realism, which allows readers to identify themselves with the hero.
The tale is a blend of more familiar novels, but overall Paolini manages to find different ways to describe the fantastic places and creatures he encounters. The language is remarkably descriptive and evocative depicting the scenes as in real life.
Who is Eragon really? Is he an innocent young farmer or someone who is meant for superior accomplishments, not in the least suspecting his heritage and destiny? Our hero has worthy values; he respects life to such an extent that he is concerned for the life of the wicked as well.
The short-tempered mysterious Brom, who is in fact a wizard disguised as a village storyteller accompanies Eragon on his travels through Alagaësia.
The evil powerful emperor, Galbatorix was once a dragon rider who turns to the Dark side after the terrible war between the dragon riders and the elves.
Shapira the dragon has a telepathic bond with Eragon as soon as she is born and a somewhat niggling loving relationship develops between her and Eragon.
Murtagh is also a rather enigmatic character. He is a troubled and impulsive very brave young man who assists Eragon in his adventure. His origins are not very clear, who is he in reality?
There are many other fascinating characters such as dark riders, urgals (orc-like beings), shades (vampire-like creatures), elves, princesses and humans all along the story.
The story of Eragon takes place years after the disaster of the war between the elves and the dragon riders. Once upon a time, the dragon riders were valiant soldiers who protected the people from Urgals, elves and vampire like creatures called shades.
They had magical powers and rode dragons. One of the riders named Galbatorix turned evil and killed all those dragon riders that would not join him. After the war only 11 riders survived and a few elves, while dragons had completely disappeared from the kingdom of Alagaësia, Galbatorix then named himself ruler of the kingdom.
Many years after these events Eragon, a poor boy who lives with his uncle and cousin stumbles on a flawless blue stone while he is out hunting for some food. This stone is in reality is a dragons egg sent towards safety by an elven lady who was captured by a shade.
Eragon takes it back with him to see if anyone knows its origin, but no one does. A week later a dragon hatches from the egg and Eragon feeds it and raises it in secret as he finds out that Galbatorix has sent out Razacs (hooded dark riders) to find the only existing dragons egg. Saphira the dragon chooses Eragon as her rider.
The Razac (hooded dark riders) find out where Saphira is hiding. Eragon runs to warn his uncle that they are coming but Saphira grabs him before he can get to the farm and escapes with him. The two Razacs burn the farm with Eragons uncle in it.
In anger Eragon makes an oath to seek vengeance and starts pursuing the Razacs all over the kingdom Alagaësia. Together with Brom and his dragon he sets off through the kingdom to their pursuit. Throughout the voyage the magical wizard teaches Eragon all the crafts of swordplay and magic, while Saphira teaches him how to ride a dragon.
Along the way Eragon befriends Murtagh who joins the company on their travels. During this time we discover that this long voyage is just a pretext for Brom to teach all the arts in order for Eragon to become a real Dragon rider.
Eragon and Murtagh rescue Arya an elf princess that has been captured and poisoned by Galbatorix and left unconscious. So they finally set off towards the marvellous rebel mountain city to look for Varden and the rebels, where they hope to find a remedy for Arya and join forces with the group of rebels fighting Galbatorix.
Eragon is in fact the last of the Dragon riders, and Vaden thinks he could help defeat Galbatorix. Now Eragon has to decide whether he can resist the evil or surrender and join Galbatorix.
A fierce battle ensues between good and evil and we are left wondering who Eragons father could really be? You will have to find out in the next volumes of the Inheritance Trilogy.
An enchanting, well-crafted fantasy novel for both nonchalant readers and science fiction fans.