Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The concept of dragon riders seems like it would be cool, but I think it’s poorly executed. So much of the plot is predictable, from the missing parents to the wise old man with a mysterious past.
The illusion of depth is maintained artificially, which is what annoyed me the most about the book. Characters refuse to explain things for no reason at all just to keep the mystery going for longer. When things do get explained, there’s nothing else, leaving everything extremely straightforward.
Something feels very off about the timeline as well. Although things are supposed to have taken place over a long time (which is why the Empire is the only thing Eragon has ever known), all of the major players have massive lifespans and have been around the whole time. Rather than a deep-seated clash of factions, it feels like the major conflict is just a grudge match between the chieftains.
There are definitely some issues going on with the language—I know not all of us are linguistics professors, but so many of the names and places seem to be English derivatives or knockoffs of things from Tolkien. Examples include ignasia – insignia, Isidar – Isildur, Eragon – Aragorn.
Many other reviews mention similarities between major plot points from Tolkien, but there are others that are taken from the Silmarilion as well. From the city inside a mountain and the way it was eventually defeated to the rebels making a desperate fight to wrest one of three valuable objects from the evil king (see Morgoth and the Silmarils).
The plot is a classic Hero’s Quest. There’s nothing wrong with that except that this author brings absolutely nothing new to the table—not even to the concept of dragons. Anything to make it seem like this story was less formulaic would have done wonders.
All that being said, I will probably read at least the next book as well, but this is not a very well-written book, nor extremely enjoyable. I found an even more thorough review of this book here, which is definitely worth looking over if you are considering reading it or if you are a fan of the series.