Last spring, I visited an old friend and when I asked what to bring, he said he’d love a few good books. We always had that in common so I thought it would be easy. As I looked through what I had been reading recently, I realized that many of those books were geared towards women. That’s not too surprising since I happen to be female. Plus, many of my female friends tend to be the ones who recommend books. So I had to search a bit to find a few that might appeal.
I stumbled on an epic adventure series I had read. The first book in this young adult series, Eragon, by Christopher Paolini, seemed a good candidate. My friend, like a lot of men, is not a man of many words. But given that this was the first book he picked up and was then so thoroughly engrossed in, I suspect I hit the mark. Perhaps, even, a little too well. Though I do have to admit that this is certainly a fun read.
The story is about a young man, Eragon, who stumbles across a beautiful stone, which he soon realizes is no ordinary stone. It is in fact, an egg, from which a dragon, named Saphira, is born. Trying to hide a dragon is not an easy feat and it isn’t long before the evil empire notices the disturbance in the force…I wonder, can I use a Star Wars reference here or is that just like mixing metaphors? In any case, the evil ones, the King and his attendants, the Ra’zac, are after the pair. Eragon and Saphira must flee their home and take with them a mysterious old man from the village; which turns out to be a good thing. Brom, who is much more than he seems, teaches Eragon the basics of being a dragon rider and about the others who may be able to help him in his quest to take down the evil King.
Lots of mystical creatures abound. There are the scary and brutal Kull, the large fighting creatures who help the bad guys, along with the even scarier Shades, who take evil to a new level. On the good side, among others, there are elves and dwarves, but the different factions do seem have some trust issues. There is Murtagh, the new friend who helps Eragon out of a jam, who also appears to have a secret or two. Even the magicians come in both flavors, evil and not. Mostly we learn that much is not what it seems.
Personally, I loved the adventure of it all and cheered with Eragon when he triumphed and felt his pain when he did not. This is one to share with the boys, even if those boys haven't seen their youth in a while. It is also for anyone who loves a good epic fantasy, especially those, who like me, were weaned on Tolkien.
Eragon is the first book in a series of four. I’ve read the first three, but there are so many characters and story lines that I decided to re-read the books to have a fresh perspective. So far, I’ve made it through the first two, Eragon and Eldest, and I’m about to begin the third book, Brisingr. The fourth, Inheritance, will be released this November. Unfortunately, I am currently number 427 on the 97 copies my library has ordered. That's okay; given the length of the third book, I’m kind of glad I have a little time to read it before the next one comes in.
In the meantime, I’m off to fly with my dragons, both real and imagined.