Review: Eragon - Christopher Paolini
Genre: (YA) Fantasy Published: Alfred A Knopf Books, april 2005
Rating: 4 stars. Childhood favorite
A land in turmoil, an ordinary boy, a dragon egg… the start of an epic adventure.
Eragon seems to be one of those series that divides the community. People either love it, or are hugely disappointed by it. I have talked to many lot of people about this book, and have heard everything from “the perfect fantasy” to some blatantly calling it bad. In a way I can agree with both. If I had to “objectively” review this book, I feel a 3 star rating would be most fair. This is epic fantasy in its most classic, if not tropy, form. If you ever need an example of a book that follows the Hero’s Journey in fantasy to a T; look no further. The world is heavily inspired by Tolkien, including the races and their political relations as well as the tendency to describe it in a lot of details. To be fair: if you are an avid fantasy-reader, you will most likely not find anything new to you here.
HOWEVER: I love this book to pieces! If I were to rate it purely on my enjoyment-level and the nostalgia I feel from even looking at the spine on my shelf, it would be a 5 stars. For the purposes of this review I am middling it out to a 4 star.
Eragon was the first toe I dipped into the high fantasy waters. It’s the book that opened my world to all the Tolkien, Hobb and Sanderson that was in my future, which makes it a pivotal moment in my reading life. Besides that, these pages are saturated with amazing childhood memories for me. The first time I read the series was with my best friend (still to this day). We had never done anything like that before (buddy-reading wasn’t a thing back then), but had the most amazing experience. We discussed so many details, exchanged our friendly annoyance about Eragon as a character and fantasized about having our own dragons. I even got my mother to read this series, and repeated the entire process with her again.
I was not an experienced or critical reader back then. I wouldn’t even consider myself one now, but that’s besides the point. The point is that none of the above mentioned flaws bothered me. I loved this book in a childlike, irrational and unconditional way. That feeling hasn’t left, even after multiple rereads, which is why it has never left its spot on my favorite shelf. When it comes to my childhood favorites, I guess logic goes out of the window and my inner child (the one who would still love to ride my blue dragon to Hogwarts) takes over. I guess it’s true: nostalgia is a powerful force…
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