Monday, March 06, 2017

Book Review: Inheritance Cycle Books One and Two

I consider this to be a spoiler free review.

 These books are in no way new by this point but I thought I'd share my impression of them anyway.  In truth I picked up Eragon (book one) not long after it was first in the bookstore.  I read it and enjoyed and thus picked up Eldest (book two) once I was able and read it right away too.  Then I heard that while Christopher Paolini was working on the third book that he decided he couldn't wrap it up by the end of it and thus was going to write a fourth book as well. That is when I decided to wait on reading anymore until I had all four books.

I think I finally remembered to buy the fourth book sometime last year.  It went on the shelf with the other three and waited for wintertime to be pulled off again.  Here it is almost spring and I'm finally reading them.  Since it has been so many years ago that I read Eragon and Eldest I decided to read them again to refresh my memory.  

The story follows a teenage boy who goes by the name of Eragon and his dragon as they must overcome insurmountable odds to overthrow an evil king.  Sounds rather typical doesn't it? Most fantasy stories seem to follow something to that effect.  What sets them apart are the characters.

The main characters, Eragon and his dragon, are likable.  They make mistakes and learn from them which helps the reader relate to them and also helps the characters grow.  The Eragon you meet at the beginning of the story is not the same Eragon at the end of Eldest.  

There are also plenty of side characters that appear and reappear.  I really like when an author is willing to make good use of their supporting characters.  Some make you cringe and others make you smile whenever they again rejoin the story.  Even they show growth as the story continues as well.

As l was reading through these two books recently, I realized how much Tolkien is an influence on the author.  You have your Gandalf type figure, your elves, your dwarves, your orc-ish race, and even separate languages that Paolini wrote in so it didn't come across as everyone speaking the same one.  I wouldn't say these elements are a huge detraction but I did have some moments of, "Really? You're pulling that?”  Thankfully they were not many

Overall the plot isn't something groundbreaking but then it can be difficult to come up with something totally new.  There are some twists here and there that help add some flavor.  Although if you pay attention you can see them coming or at the least be suspicious.  While some may see that as a shortcoming it didn't bother me overly much.  For me it's the characters that draw me in more.  I'm sure part of it has to do with the bond between Eragon and his mighty dragon which to me likens to the bond that Cocoa and I had.

These books may not be for everyone but I find them enjoyable enough that I will continue onto Brisingr and Inheritance.  As such I recommend them if you're looking for a deeper fantasy that is a fairly easy read and pays homage to the father of fantasy.

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