Saturday, January 31, 2004
Book review: I just finished Christopher Paolini's "Eragon" today. I started it yesterday. It's 528 pages. Is it good? Yep. Is it fun? Yep. Should you buy it? Yep.
First off, let's get one thing out of the way. I bought the book because it was cheap for a hardback and I'd read a wire story about its author -- who is still a teenager. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has won a lot of praise and awe because she wrote the multi-million selling books as a single mother on welfare. That's difficult. But it is even more difficult to write a book of fiction as a young man without the benefit of a lot of life experience and decades of practice -- and have that book be good.
Eragon is the story of a young farmboy, already a talented hunter, who discovers a large, odd-looking stone in the forest. From there, an adventure begins involving dragons, elves, dwarves, bloodthirsty urgals, an evil king, and a number of other assorted characters. The first book isn't the end of the story, there is more to come, but it is an excellent beginning. Readers who enjoy the Harry Potter books will enjoy this one too.
If you go to Amazon.com's page and look at some of the book's reader reviews, you'll get a more in-depth idea of what the story is about -- you'll also discover there are two classes of readers of this book. Those who hate it and those who love it. I read some of the critical reviews, and concur with some of their points. Yes, Paolini has cherry-picked from J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks and others. But, with the exception of Tolkien, every fantasy writer has done this to some degree. The critical reviews remind me of the record store employees in the movie "High Fidelity"; they're elitist and arrogant.
Fantasy books are supposed to be fun. This one is fun. Check it out.