Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1 Book Poster Image

Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1

A teen wrote this engrossing fantasy story.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know


Lots, some quite gory: beheadings, torture, piles of dead bodies, etc. Monsters, battles, capture by villains.

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brom smokes a pipe.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the idea that a teen wrote this will be fascinating to many children, and it may inspire some to try their own hand at writing. The story does include some rather gory violence, however, including beheadings, torture, and piles of dead bodies.

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.

Families can talk 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"?

Book details

Author:Christopher Paolini
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date:October 19, 2003
Number of pages:509
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Award:Common Sense Media Award

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Kid, 11 years old July 1, 2011

Wonderfully Written

As far as I've read, which isn't very far, maybe half the book, violence is a small issue for me, but otherwise it is amazing and I adore Christopher Paolini for writing the Inheritance cycle . Yes, many deaths and piles of bodies does sound very gross and inappropriate. As a preteen, I find this mild as I prefer to read books out of my age group. It simply must cling to the plot as it is a good vs. evil story. Language is not a major issue either, so far, in my perspective. Others say the butcher and Eragon's conversation is not needed, inappropriate and especially the one word used. The conversation with the butcher and Eragon is a mild argument, from my thought, as the butcher is implying that the Spine is a cursed place, referring to a description earlier in the beginning where strange men and creatures emerge from the woods. Eragon is great role model to young children who can understand the book. He holds bravery and confidence in his grasp. I would also suggest to parents that if your child is reading for fantasy enjoyment or educational purposes alike, let them read in a silent area such as their room or a library if you come across one. I read in my sun room as noise doesn't pass through the walls as much. Also, if they are reading and concentrating hard, and keep repeating the same page out of noisiness from others, turn the volume down on TVs, computers, stereos, and such. Otherwise, perfect for a vocab lesson, which can be educational if they are entering middle school. Many words are from Paolini's big vocabulary; some being unreadable at first, but will be understandable afterwords.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written byChristian_girl March 11, 2010

Scary spoiler that parents NEED to hear before they buy this book for their kids

I'll write what I think of this book in another review, but first, I have something I need to get across. I think this might be good for 12-year-old kids, be careful of the violence, but I have a warning for the parents. Something I disapprove of. It's in the "Violent Things to Watch Out For" above, but I think you may need one more detail. It's a spoiler, true, but it's one from early in the book. It's the scariest thing in Eragon (it's not in the movie, thankfully.) There's a scene where Eragon and Brom are walking through a town and they see that it's empty. They then see a bunch of dead bodies in a pile in the town center. (hang on, it gets worse) At the top of the pile is an "infant," being the term the book uses 3 or 4 times. Right after this is a small battle where Eragon learns that the evil king sent a squad of urgals (creatures that would pass for human if not for their sharp teeth, pale gray skin, and their nature: kill) to murder everyone in the town because the he suspected they were aiding the Varden. (rebels against the king) I've only read the first three books and as far as I can remember, this is never ever mentioned after Eragon leaves the town, but all parents of ten year olds, be wary. The next books aren't no field trip either. Maybe the scariest part is that the author was 15 when he actuallly started writing this. Paolini, you're a great writer, but I advise and beg you never to do this again. Not only will the books be better, you'll sell more. Trust me.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written bycherryapple February 12, 2011