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3.9 68
Young Adult Fiction 1033
A Boy And His Dragon
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The story of Eragon is that of a so-named impoverished farm boy from an insignificant village somewhere in a vast, tyrannical empire. When a dragon egg appears in front of him one day while he's out hunting, he doesn't initially know what he's come across. But when it hatches and the young dragon bonds with him, it begins a chain of events that turn Eragon's world dangerously upside down. The only dragon rider still in existence is the evil King, who wiped out the rest generations before. With the help of a sagely bard, the boy and his dragon are forced to grow up fast and on the run.

I'm a little conflicted as to how I should rate or review this one. It's been on my to-read list since it came out and I heard the inspiring tale of the 16-year-old writing prodigy who conceived of it. The fact is, considering the age of the author at the time, the work is quite impressive. The medieval fantasy element is mid-range, well formed and mapped out. And the tone of it feels wedged somewhere right between Middle Grande and Young Adult. Plenty of action, adventure, war-time and fantasy violence--but nothing particularly graphic. There's plenty of self-exploration and coming-of-age introspection to be had as well--making it a potentially valuable piece for young males, especially.

On the flip side, the story doesn't feel particularly original. Elves, Dwarves, sorcerers/magicians, orc-like creatures, telepathic dragons and true-name magic all echo many long-existing high fantasy concepts. And if I hadn't known the age of the author, I'm afraid this reader would be more tempted to find the pacing dragging in places, and the emotional depth a bit lacking. The dialogue also comes off cheesy at times--particularly in action sequences.

Overall, worth a read. And certainly deserving of its popularity in the YA community. I do wonder, though, how this might have been written if the author had honed his craft for another decade or so. The curiosity is enough to make me think I ought to check out his later works.
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