Eragon is a novel about a fifteen-year-old boy of the same name. He lives a relatively simple life – minus being the only one in his village who still dares to enter the Spine, an area that everyone believes to be cursed. One day he finds something there that will change his life forever. I enjoyed reading about Eragon. He’s a likable character who feels very life-like. His character development is believable, and it’s hard not to root for the starry-eyed young man who’s forced to see his world in a whole new light. It makes you wonder: what would you do if legends and fairy tales became ominously real and you were thrust front and center?
What I Loved:
I think my favorite aspects of Eragon’s personality are his loyalty and ability to forgive others and give them a second chance. In this story, there are multiple parts where it is delightful that he doesn’t fall victim to several annoying tropes of the unsuspecting hero genre: Eragon doesn’t wallow in self-pity, and he doesn’t storm off like a petulant toddler whenever another character’s secrets are brought to light. And yet, at the same time, he manages to evade being the wide-eyed “innocent” who blindly trusts people and is shocked when they do something bad (I’m looking at you, 2017 Wonder Woman). This isn’t to say that there won’t be times when you’ll want to shake him or get frustrated with him, but would it be any fun if you didn’t? It’s a great indication of how invested I am when I want to shake a character and hug him at the same time. I feel for Eragon’s pains and struggles, and I want things to work out for him, so when he did something that irritates me, I still felt like it made sense for the character and what he was going through. One aspect that helped this story develop and leap past some pitfalls was the relationship between Sapphira and Eragon. She balances him out and provides guidance and support throughout the story. Also, I loved the ancient language! That was set up brilliantly, and I think the author handled that aspect really well.
Anything Confusing/Hard to Read?
Surprisingly no. There were a lot of details in this story and several slow stretches. Typically, this is where I start skimming in stories, but I didn’t. Not once. After puzzling about that, I came to this conclusion: the slow spots (like setting up camp, traveling across the desert, etc.) had purpose. There was always something to glean about the world/characters instead of just endlessly droning on about some minor detail – which is a failing of many YA books.
Was the Wordbuilding Easy to Immerse Into?
It was! I mentioned before that I think the ancient language was clever, and here’s why: “…The language has a name for everything, if you can find it.” “…The language describes the true nature of things, not the superficial aspects that everyone sees. For example, fire is called brisingr. Not only is that a name for fire, it is the name for fire…” (pg. 140). The author gets to drop in names and words of the ancient language throughout the story because it is a language that has been primarily forgotten in his world. The characters have to find the words – the true names – to grow and become more powerful. This was a genius way of making the world feel old and established without explaining everything and risk boring the reader. I think the main reason that his worldbuilding went smoothly was because of his character Brom the storyteller. Brom did all the heavy-lifting by weaving his stories of Alagaesia and the Riders throughout the dialogue. It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to read any books, and the few times I tried before this one, I skimmed a lot. I mean, there are only so many times I can bear to pay attention to the details of every tapestry or every “lavish” item in a lavish room (probably safe to say I’ll be steering clear of fantasy romance for a while). So, I’m honestly surprised at how well this held my attention throughout the whole novel. The slow spots were a nice respite with enough going on to keep me reading, and the action was great! Overall, I’m very impressed with the pace and flow of this book.
What Book Would You Compare This To?
The first book that comes to mind to compare this to would be The Ruins of Gorlan, which is the first book of the Ranger’s Apprentice series (I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but it’s on my TBR). Both books follow a teenage boy who gets thrust into the action and realizes that there’s a whole lot more to the world than he thought he knew. Most similarly, though, is the style and pace of the writing. It’s been a few years since I read The Ruins of Gorlan, but (unless my memory fails me) there were slow spots in there that were very similar to this book in the sense that they tend to carry a great deal of importance – whether worldbuilding or character development – before the protagonist gets shoved back into the action. Both books have a mysterious mentor that takes the protagonist under his wing. Both boys form an unlikely friendship (in Eragon’s case, it’s the son of a feared dragon rider who was his mentor’s greatest enemy, and in Will’s case, it’s his childhood bully who reforms his ways and protects him). They also have similar personalities: unsure/untrusting at first, but loyal and forgiving deep down. If you like Will from The Ruins of Gorlan, you will love Eragon as well.
I’ve always said that I wished there was an IMDb for books, which is why I’ve decided to add a parent’s guide to each of my book reviews. There have been so many times that I tried finding out what triggers/iffy subjects might pop up in my TBR list – especially the books I look into for my younger sisters. So here’s a summary of what I remember from Eragon. WARNING: the following may contain spoilers.
Sex & Nudity:
- There are some mentions of Roran (Eragon’s cousin) having feelings for the butcher’s daughter, Katrina.
- There’s a couple of hints that Eragon might develop a romantic interest in Arya, but nothing is said in this book.
- Honestly, I can’t recall anything for this category – maybe there was a small kiss between Roran and Katrina? If so, that would be it.
Violence & Gore:
- There are several fight scenes in this book.
- There’s blood, dismemberment, and death. Some of it is only briefly mentioned, but graphic scenes might be disturbing for sensitive readers.
- One character is tortured a lot over a period of time, but it doesn’t happen “on camera” as it is mentioned, not seen.
- I think this is the one that bothered me the most (this is VIOLENT and DISTURBING – please skip if you prefer not to read such content):
- A mountain of bodies rose above them, the corpses stiff and grimacing. Their clothes were soaked in blood, and the churned ground was stained with it. Slaughtered men lay over the women they had tried to protect, mothers still clasped their children, and lovers who had tried to shield each other rested in death’s cold embrace. Black arrows stuck out of them all. Neither young nor old had been spared. But worst of all was the barbed spear that rose out of the peak of the pile, impaling the white body of a baby. (pg. 131)
- Nothing specific comes to mind… There might have been oaths or expletives in the author’s made-up language, but there weren’t any curse words or swearing that I can recall.
Eragon is a great fantasy book about a teenage boy whose world is unexpectedly changed forever when he finds a strange object in the Spine. It has likable characters, a believable plot, and an exciting new world. If you’re a fan of The Ruins of Gorlan, I suggest you give this a read! It’s a clean read that would be safe for readers 13 years or older, depending on their sensitivity to violence and gore. Five stars – I loved it and am definitely recommending it!
Let’s Get Social!
You can find me on Instagram and Facebook by searching @lydiawoodwardwriter I’m just starting to figure out Goodreads, so feel free to reach out! https://www.goodreads.com/lydiawoodwardwriter
Eran’s Latest Adventure
Eran is the protagonist of my novel, and I’ve been writing a series of short stories that focuses on him when he was younger. I should be posting another one next week, but you can read the last one I published on my website, Silent Killers.
I’d Love for You to Join the Fun!
You’ll be the first to receive a copy of my novella once it’s finished (for FREE!), and you’ll always be in-the-know on important updates and upcoming book releases.