Eragon is the tale of a boy who is uprooted from his country farming life and thrust into a wider world of magical, martial, and political dangers. He is forced to quickly grow up from a child to a young man, along with his dragon friend, Saphira. The characters of Eragon and Saphira are well-developed and sympathetic, and the relationship between them provides a firm anchor for the adventure story surrounding them. The other characters in the book also have a level of depth to them that is sometimes not seen in secondary characters. Paolini writes vividly in a way that brings his fantasy world to life. In some parts of the book, however, this level of detail makes the story drag a bit, and the reader may at times be longing for action even as they’re reading a description of another beautiful or imposing setting. I would like to have seen more swords and magic and less describing of how majestic the mountains are or how beautifully crafted a building is, so the book feels unnecessarily long.
This first part of the story of Eragon is epic in its scope and promises more to come in the remaining Inheritance books.
Profanity/Language: 2 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 1 anatomical term.
Violence/Gore: Character knocks another over accidentally; character has blood on his face after implied violence; character pins another and threatens them; characters verbally threaten each other a few times; characters are threatened with bows and arrows; a death is prophesied but no details given; character has wounds indicating previous beatings/torture; character shows a scar as evidence of past child abuse; character orders other characters to kill; attempted sexual assault is alluded to; a character is found beaten and bloody; a vague flashback of past violence is shown; recount of historical death (5 instances); character dreams of being clawed by animals; recount of a town almost completely destroyed; explanation of how a poison could be used; recount of execution by burning; report of people kidnapped and murdered; report of past battles with deaths (3 instances); report of non-human characters killed; mention of self-mutilation, human sacrifice, and blood drinking; character is seen in a vision wounded and bleeding; scene in which property is destroyed, characters are shot with arrows (one in the face), and characters are crushed by heavy objects; reported deaths of a human and a horse; character cuts his hand with a knife; character skins his legs, bloodying them; characters spar with practice weapons many times; characters are battered by a storm; character breaks a bone in a fall; character is knocked unconscious; arrows are removed from a character who is shot; characters fight using punches and kicks; characters drop rocks on others, with no detail of wounds; character is mentally tortured (without physical violence); fantasy violence scene with weapons and magic but no serious injuries; a few fantasy violence scenes in which characters are injured or killed in non-bloody ways; a house is burned and a character left for dead in it; a few violent scenes using medieval weapons and magic in which characters are seriously injured or killed, showing things such as broken bones, stabs, dismemberments, bodies exploded by magic, splattered blood, or characters shot with arrows or impaled; a character is poisoned; a character is disfigured by a sword wound; recount of a shipwreck with no details; a character succumbs to wounds from a previous battle scene; bloody bodies of many men, women, and children are found in a graphic and disturbing scene; brief fight with magic and medieval weapons in which a character is decapitated, with the head and headless torso described; extended scene using boiling/flaming oil, medieval weapons, stockade stakes, claws, teeth, and magic which results in broken necks, blood, stabs, decapitation, disembowelment, brains revealed, and impalement.
Sex/Nudity: Character discusses whether or not he finds someone beautiful; characters kiss briefly; a character is self-conscious about the necessity of pressing close to a person of the opposite gender; a wet-nurse is mentioned; a few mentions of animals mating; a character shyly notices the beauty of someone of the opposite gender while rendering medical aid; mention of “bedding the wrong woman”; implied sexual activity (character in a story is pregnant, and identity of the father is assumed); attempted sexual assault is alluded to.
Mature Subject Matter:
War, death of a family member, death of a friend, theft, underage drinking, bribery, slavery, child abuse, torture.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
A character smokes a pipe; adults drink wine, beer, and liquor; a minor drinks wine; rum is mentioned; characters are drugged with an unnamed substance.