If there was one thing I could wish for, I’d wish to have the prodigious talent of Christopher Paolini and the faith and support of his family (oops! That’s two wishes).
But you get the idea. This young writer wrote the epic adventure of Eragon, a marvellous book full of magic, fantasy, a sort of rites of passage story, when he was barely out of college. It is an amazing feat in itself, but to have garnered such huge success and wide following is another accomplishment that’s nothing short of a phenomenon.
Eragon, a poor farm boy, stumbles across a polished blue stone while out hunting in the forest one day. Thinking it was a lucky discovery that may just fetch him some coins or food for his family, he was surprised and disbelieving when the ‘stone’ hatched, and a dragon bonded to him as her rider. At first contended to just keep his dragon hidden, Eragon was prodded into action when his uncle was killed by the veil evil henchmen of the Emperor Galbatorix. He went seeking vengeance, hitching up with story-teller Brom, a dragon rider whose sole role is to train the next generation of riders, whose mysterious knowledge of magic ignites his hunger for knowledge.
During his flight across the kingdom, Eragon underwent lots of changes, not just in his skills as a rider, but also in thought process, attitude towards the empire and started thinking more of his responsibility towards the oppressed and helpless. In fact, during the journey fraught with dangers, he matured, grew up and learnt to be less hotheaded. When Brom died, he has no choice but to go, with his new found companion, Murtagh, to the Varden. But first, he has to rescue the elf princess Arya, while evading capture by the Shade (dark sorcerer) in the employ of the Emperor.
I love Paolini’s simple prose, straightforward narrative and the slow build-up of his young hero’s character and maturity. The plot building up to the eventual confrontation between good and evil may be age-old, but the lush details Paolini pays to building his imaginary world of Alagaesia, and the powerful ideals of honour, chivalry, overcoming prejudices and fears, and seeking justice for the oppressed the book expounds certainly finds resonance with fantasy readers.
This book is truly remarkable for a debut effort, and I applaud Paolini and his family for their painstaking efforts in bringing this book to life. It was well worth it, judging from the fans the book has won. I’m looking forward to getting hold of Eldest. This is one male author I’m watching.