The hype: The fourth and final book of the Inheritance Cycle, Inheritance, is coming out November 8, 2011, so now is a good time to re-read the series to remember what’s going on. If you’ve not read Eragon yet, or are relying on the movie to tell you the story, then now’s an even better time to read!
Tell me more: While hunting in the foreboding mountains known as the Spine, Eragon sees a mysterious blue stone magically appear. After taking it home, the stone soon hatches a dragon, one of the last of its kind. When strangers come seeking the stone and kill Eragon’s uncle to find it, Eragon and the village storyteller, Brom, flee with the quickly growing dragon, Saphira, to avenge Garrow’s death. Along the way, Eragon learns more about his new responsibilities and powers as Saphira’s Rider. Only Eragon can hope to oppose the rule of Galbatorix, who is also a Dragon Rider. To do so, Eragon and Saphira must somehow find and join the rebellious group known as the Varden. But can Eragon hope to kill the Ra’zac, evade the Shade and Urgals hunting him, and somehow find and rescue the mysterious woman who appears in his dreams? And will he be prepared for the political manipulations among the Varden?
Content advisory: As with just about any action adventure, there’s a significant amount of fighting involved. People and creatures are killed, but not described in an overly graphic way. Eragon and others engage in some light drinking, and the only “drug use” is poisons used. There are also minimal and veiled sexual references. Coarse language is rare.
Does this book end? No. The action ends, but Eragon’s journey has just begun. Fortunately, the sequel, Eldest, is already out.
Why you should read this: It’s hard to believe that it’s only been eight years since Paolini published Eragon in the mass market. At the time, most of the hype surrounding Eragon came from his young age (19 when Alfred A. Knopf first published it). Aside from all that, however, Eragon is a strong, epic novel filled with promise for lots of action and adventure to come. Unfortunately, the series somewhat lost its following as the time between books grew longer and the trilogy ballooned into a four book cycle. Still, the writing is solid and the descriptions are vivid. As the series progresses, the writing becomes even more solid, if sometimes more convoluted. Still, this is a great beginning to a promising series.
The bottom line: Eragon, and the entire Inheritance Cycle, is a classic fantasy adventure filled with magic, monsters, dragons, elves, dwarves, oppressive rulers, and unlikely heroes rising up to defeat them. Fans of fantasy novels will enjoy this book.