Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Paolini, C. (2003). Eragon. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-0375826696

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Dragons, Elves, Magic

Reading level/ interest age: 12+

Plot summary:

Eragon goes out hunting one day when a mysterious object falls from the sky. Curious, he goes to investigate the item and decides to take it home. Thinking he can make a profit, Eragon shows the item, about the size of a large rock, to a seller in the hopes of trading it for food. The seller turns Eragon away and he goes home. The “rock” hatches a few days later and a small blue dragon emerges. Eragon decides to hide the dragon on his father’s farm and goes back into town seeking advice from a hermit. When he returns, the farm is destroyed and his father lies dead among the wreck. Eragon knows what creatures killed his father and decides to go after the murderers. He is stopped by the hermit who reveals that he knows about the dragon riders and offers Eragon assistance. Eragon grudgingly accepts and starts off on a long journey in the sake of revenge.

Reader’s annotation:

Eragon finds a mysterious egg that turns out to contain a dragon! Riders have not existed for several hundred years, will Eragon resurrect a legacy?

Information about the author:

“Christopher Paolini was born on November 17, 1983 in Southern California. He has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana with his parents and younger sister, Angela. As a child, he often wrote short stories and poems, made frequent trips to the library, and read widely. The idea of Eragon began as the daydreams of a teen. Christopher's love for the magic of stories led him to craft a novel that he would enjoy reading. The project began as a hobby, a personal challenge; he never intended it to be published. All the characters in Eragon are from Christopher's imagination except Angela the herbalist, who is loosely based on his sister. Christopher was fifteen when he wrote the first draft of Eragon. He took a second year to revise the book and then gave it to his parents to read.

“The family decided to self-publish the book and spent a third year preparing the manuscript for publication: copyediting, proofreading, designing a cover, typesetting the manuscript, and creating marketing materials. During this time Christopher drew the map for Eragon, as well as the dragon eye for the book cover (that now appears inside the Knopf hardcover edition). The manuscript was sent to press and the first books arrived in November 2001. The Paolini family spent the next year promoting the book at libraries, bookstores, and schools in 2002 and early 2003. In summer 2002, author Carl Hiaasen, whose stepson read a copy of the self-published book while on vacation in Montana, brought Eragon to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, which is part of Random House. Knopf published Eragon in August 2003. Eldest, which continues the adventures of Eragon and the dragon Saphira was published in August 2005, and in December 2006, Fox 2000 released their movie adaptation of Eragon in theaters around the world” (, 2014).

Curriculum ties: N/A

Booktalking ideas:

1.       What kind of adventures would you seek if you had your own dragon?
2.       Would you risk spell casting?

Critical evaluation:

Eragon is a mildly interesting though not very original adventure story. The author fails to elicit a strong emotion from his readers. Though there are scenes in the book meant to be tearjerkers, readers will make it through the entirety of the book dry-eyed. None of the characters are so remarkable as to be missed when they die off. Surprisingly, though Eragon meets a potential love interest, he does not fall head-over-heels for her and they never make much more of a connection other than sharing a mutual respect for one another. The final battle is also unremarkable and a bit of a letdown. This book could have easily existed by itself rather than have been the beginning of an entire series. The author does leave some loose ends but not enough for some people to wish to continue with the saga. Eragon is predictable and though it has a high page count, perhaps it would be better listed under the title of Juvenile Fiction rather than Young Adult.

Challenge issues: N/A

Why included:

Although I believe that there are better books out there than Eragon that involve dragons and adventure, this series is much loved by many people. I think that it could encourage reluctant readers and entice them to pick up other books in the same fantasy genre.

Reference: (2014). Christopher Paolini Biography. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from

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