Title / Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance
Author / Christopher Paolini
Publication Date / 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011
Overall Star Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: One boy. One dragon. A world of adventure. When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realises he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
I will freely admit before starting this review that I am a little biased towards this series. I first read it when I was going through a hard time in my life and it was such a wonderful way to escape it all. For me, it is a series that I will always love. Having said that I know it is not perfect. It has been criticised for its derivative nature and that it pulls strongly from the conventions of the fantasy genre. Many similarities with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Star Wars have been highlighted, as well as some similarities with other sources. Another criticism of this series are some inconsistencies throughout the books, for example with the language. As well as some unrealistic views of warfare and strategy. The last thing I am going to mention here is the writing. Some say that it makes it impossible to feel for the characters. I personally don’t agree with that. I will admit that it is overly wordy at times and Paolini is overly descriptive, but I mostly enjoyed his writing. There are definitely times throughout the series the writing could have been pulled back a bit to make the series shorter, as the books didn’t really need to be so long. I personally had little issue with the writing, although I understand the issues with these books. Back to the similarities before I move on. I never had an issue with this – I definitely saw similarities with some things in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although at the time I hadn’t read the books, but I saw it as inspiration, not imitation. That is my personal take. I think because I was younger when I first read this, I was less of a critical reader. So I was less aware of these things at the time of first reading. Therefore I will always love this series, despite it’s flaws.
Now I am going to talk about some positives. I love all of the characters in this series – it has some of my favourite characters. I think they are all well-written, complex and flawed. Yes Eragon is a bit of an exception to the flawed category, but he is by no means perfect. The development of the characters is done well, and I love the relationship between Eragon and Saphira. It is one of my favourite parts of this series. Their friendship is a wonderful part of this series and it is a pleasure to see it develop through the four books. Other favourite characters include Angela and Elva. The plot is engaging, entertaining and a great form of escapism. The world building is great – Paolini has created a world that you will want to be real. I especially loved the descriptions of Ellesméra, and it clearly shows the skill at which the author has created this world. For me, this is just such a great series. The characters, world-building and plot are all very well done and I hope to see more of this world in future books.
Overall, yes this series has flaws, but I still love this series and would highly recommend it.What book is perfect anyway? 🙂 This series is definitely in need of a reread for me – I think I will plan it for next year. Let me know if you have read this series and your thoughts on it. I’m interested to see what you guys think. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.