Corgi Books, January 2007-02-07
First published in Great Britain by Doubleday
Published in the US by Alfred A Knopf
Eragon, out hunting in the Spine, finds a strange blue stone in the forest. The stone is unlike anything he has ever seen before. Perhaps, thinks Eragon, he can sell it, and with the money help his uncle buy meat for the winter for all of them. But the stone turns out to be a dragon's egg, and when it hatches, it changes Eragon's life for ever, and the destiny of the people of Alagaesia as well.
At first, Eragon seems to be just one more of the many fantasy tales modelled on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It has the mandatory elf, the orc-like Urgals, the gruff and hard-working dwarfs, a Shade that is faintly reminiscent of the Ring-Wraiths, and even 'new' languages created by the author for the various races of beings.
What makes Eragon different, and worth reading, is Christopher Paolini's delicate and sensitive portrayal of the relationship between the boy, Eragon, and his dragon Saphira. The boy and the dragon share a closeness akin to that shared by identical twins, or maybe lovers. Their Fates are linked, their Destiny mapped out, and together they must journey to fulfill it.
I would not say that Eragon is great literature, but it is definitely a good read, and leaves the reader interested enough to wish to explore its sequel, Eldest.