A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Soon after the strange stone he found in the forest hatches a dragon, Eragon finds that his life has changed forever; his home is destroyed, the uncle who raised him is killed, and he and the dragon, Saphira, are forced to flee the minions of Galbatorix's evil Empire. Accompanied by Brom the storyteller, Eragon discovers that he is the last of the Riders, who once kept the peace and were wiped out by Galbatorix.
While pursuing revenge against those who killed his uncle, Eragon learns to communicate telepathically with Saphira, and Brom begins teaching him the skills of fighting and magic. But soon Eragon realizes he is a pawn in a vast power struggle that is tearing the Empire apart, and that he and his dragon may be the ones to change the balance of power -- if only they can find out whom to trust.
Includes map, pronunciation guide, and language glossary.
Is it any good?
That young first-time author Christopher Paolini is a major talent in the making seems certain -- but he's not quite there yet. Paolini (he was 15 when he wrote this book) has gotten quite a bit of publicity for ERAGON, the first of a planned trilogy called Inheritance, and it's easy to see why. The story is large in size (around 500 pages), epic in scope, and very engrossing. For a generation of young fantasy fans who love long, monumental, high fantasy, a teen author is icing on the cake.
It's not long, however, before they begin to notice the long-winded descriptions, the clichés and hackneyed dialogue, and the derivative nature of the plot -- straight out of Star Wars by way of The Lord of the Rings, with bits of other great fantasies thrown in here and there. That this is a great achievement for one so young is undeniable, and many children will love it. It certainly ranks right up there with other overblown fantasies written by adults, such as Terry Brooks's Sword of Shannara series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the qualities of successful authors and how to become a published writer. Do you think this book's young author did a good job writing his first novel? What about his writing do you find appealing? Is there anything about it that you don't particularly like? Do you think you could have done as good of a job -- or ever better? Families can also talk about the major motion picture that was spawned by the book. When your favorite books turn into movies are you excited, or are you worried Hollywood might "get it wrong"?