Eragon imitates fantasy greats. Review by Violet Kane

Book Cover

In Print
Younger adults or newcomers to fantasy may find novelty in Eragon, but any well-read fantasy readers will find it largely imitative of old standards.

In the interest of full-disclosure, I did not start out expecting to like Eragon. I typically find that teen or young adult stories lack the type of ambiguity I find most engaging in fiction. That said, I was surprised at the character development in the opening of this story. We first meet the hero, Eragon, as he finds a mysterious blue stone, hoping its sale value will be able to help feed his family over the winter. His family is surprisingly well-drawn and realistic, especially considering how difficult it is to create fictionally a happy family, where parents show authority and reason and children harbor genuine respect for their elders, even when they feel compelled to defy them. The uniqueness of this story ends however when Eragon discovers that his blue stone is really a dragon egg and he must leave home to fulfill his destiny as the first dragonrider in over a century.

Book Cover

On Audio
At first, when his dragon hatches, the story takes a charming turn, his growing relationship with the creature reminiscent of classic "man's best friend" stories, a novel borrowing into fantasy from classic young adult literature. But the novelty soon wears off. Many days of travel, where Eragon learns magic and secrets from his sagely mentor, diffuses any uniqueness left in the character of Eragon or his relationships with other characters. The pace of plotting could be worse, and so some newcomers may find page-turning intrigue in this story. But well-read fantasy audiences will find most of this novel typical and predictable.

Readers who are too young to have read most fantasy or who are new to fantasy and accustomed to other genres may find this book entertaining. However, fantasy fans new to Paolini will find his story largely unremarkable and derivative.


Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.