Eragon, and its counterparts, Eldest and Brisingr, make up Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy. Paolini also has announced that he is writing a fourth book, although the most recent news from the official websites informs readers that at this time, there has been no official release of either a title or cover art. Also, this fourth book will be the final book of the Inheritance saga.
And that seems to be the best course of action.
Now, I certainly don't mean that Eragon was a terrible book. It was, in fact, quite the opposite. However, I do firmly believe that there was too much hype for a book that was written with underdeveloped writing style. Paolini's characters and plot were well-envisioned, and there were plenty of unique sparks that lit up as you read to keep you interested in the overall storyline. However, there was also a trememdous amount of stock plot - something that any truly great fantasy fiction book simply cannot have.
Eragon's overall plot seemed to mimic the epic journey style of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. Since Eragon is written with young adult audiences in mind, it is considerably less complex than Lord of the Rings. Sadly, however, Paolini did not make use of the epic journey style plot to expand its own story on its own merits. Instead, what results is a long read about a boy struggling to grow up and understand the responsibilities that have mysteriously and suddenly been thrust upon him.
... Somehow, that seems a bit familiar... oh yes, isn't that the basic stock plot of most underdeveloped stories? Especially fantasy fiction?
But, to be fair, Paolini did do a good job in other respects. His characters are very worldly and believeable, and he breaks out of the stereotype with the descriptions of his different races. The magic in the world of Alagaesia is unique and explained enough to hold up within the reader's suspension of belief. And, of course, the concept of dragons as more than mere animals is far from Paolini's own creation, but he does employ it well and with his own character-driven style.
Eragon is worth the read. Just don't expect to be "wowed" out of your chair by it, because you will be disappointed. Perhaps once Paolini finishes his fourth Inheritance book and puts this first series behind him, his future books will be better. I, for one, certainly look forward to his later novels with the hope that his writing will have matured and grown with the experience Eragon and the Inheritance saga has given him. Paolini does have a lot of potential and hopefully someday he will be able to write the kind of book that will stand up under the heavy scrutiny that falls on fantasy fiction.
For copies of Eragon, visit Amazon.com, or head to your local bookstore. Midland friends, Barnes and Noble in the Midland Mall is well-stocked. Also, Eragon is available as an ebook from B&N.com. For more information about the Inheritance saga, visit Alagaesia.com (the official site) or Shurtugal.com (both official information and fan section).
Additional tidbit of information: Eragon was made as a movie in 2006. For movie information, check out IMDb.com or watch the trailer below. As happens with most stories, the book and the movie are similar in nature but certain things were changed to be better adapted for screen viewing.
Trivia Question: What is the name of the dwarves' god?