I loved Eragon when I first read it, and some ten years or so later, after a re-read, I still love it now.
I see no end of criticism over the whole ‘Star Wars’ plot issue, and whilst on one level I can understand it, how many people complain about the Seven Samurai influence on Star Wars? Why is it that some writers can get away with it, and some can’t? Stories borrow from stories…and imitation is the highest form of flattery.
The other negative I keep seeing is that when you pick this one up, you know exactly what’s going to happen in the end. Well, that may be true, but the fun and games come from how you get to what happens at the end. You could say the same thing of almost any novel. When you pick up a romance novel, you can be pretty sure person A is going to end up with person B; when you pick up a crime novel, you can bet your mortgage on the fact that the grizzled, hardcore detective will catch the bad guy; but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to enjoy yourself immensely along the way.
In a nutshell, for anyone who loves dragons, elves, dwarves and magic, you really can’t go far wrong with Eragon. It’s well-written, intricately plotted, and full of interesting characters.
Is it mind-blowingly original and does it bravely shatter the rules of the genre? In all fairness, no. Does it prove that you don’t need to do this to write an engaging, memorable novel? Well, that’s up to you to decide. For me, the answer here is yes.
And for everyone who likes to attack Paolini, it might be worth remembering that he wrote this as a teen, for teens. And did a damned fine job, imho!
I’m planning on re-reading the entire Inheritance Cycle over the next few months, if my teetering TBR tower permits.