By Christopher Paolini
Reading Level: 7th grade
Interest Level: 7th grade +
Awards: Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature (2004), Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Older Readers (2007), Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award (2006), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book (2006), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2006), Nene Award (2006), Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award (2005), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Grades 6-8 (2005), Rhode Island Teen Book Award (2005),Beehive Award for Young Adult Book (2005), Evergreen Teen Book Award (2006), Golden Archer Award for Middle/Junior High (2006), Soaring Eagle Book Award (2005), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award for Intermediate (2006), Iowa Teen Award (2008), Literaturpreis der Jury der jungen Leser for Kinderbuch (2005), Virginia Reader’s Choice Award for Middle (2005), Missouri Gateway Readers Award for Young Adult (2006), Oklahoma Sequoyah Award for YA (2006)
Teaser: Eragon is just the son of a farmer, but one day he finds something-someone-who will change his life forever.
Summary: Eragon’s world is Alagaësia. He is a young, farmer’s boy in a rural mountain valley. He lives with his Uncle Garrow who raised him from childhood and his cousin, Ronan. One afternoon, Eragon goes hunting in the woods near his house. Nearby he hears an explosion and once he finds the source of the noise, he finds a blue rock. He takes it back to the farm and his uncle and cousin suggest selling it for food, but no one will buy the blue rock. Then one night, the rock begins to crack and out hatches a dragon. Immediately, Eragon and the dragon whom he names Saphira, bond with each other and are able to communicate mind-to-mind. Later, while Eragon is out with Saphira, his home on the farm is attacked and uncle Garrow ends up dying from his wounds. Eragon and Saphira team up with Brom, the town storyteller, to get their revenge for Garrow’s death. But then soon learn that they are a part of something even greater than what they had originally thought. Eragon and Saphira must decide what they want to fight for and who they want to fight with the battles to come.
Information about the Author: Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana with his parents and younger sister, Angela. The tall, jagged Beartooth Mountains that rise on one side of Paradise Valley inspired the fantastic scenery in Eragon, the first novel in his Inheritance cycle. Christopher was homeschooled by his parents and often wrote short stories and poems, made frequent trips to the library, and read widely. He was fifteen when he wrote the first draft of Eragon and his family self-published the book in 2001. In August 2003, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers published Eragon and it was an instant success, reaching a worldwide audience. Christopher’s second novel Eldest was published in 2005, followed by Brisingr in 2008. To date, there are 49 foreign-language licenses for Eragon alone, and together the first three books in the series have sold 25 million copies worldwide. Inheritance, the fourth and final book in the cycle will be published on November 8, 2011 with a first printing of 2.5 million copies.
Critical Evaluation: The beginning of this book and the end of this book were really good. The rapid succession of events kept me on my toes and I did not know what I should expect. The middle of the book was a little long and drawn out. When Eragon and Saphira are in the desert chasing after the Ra’zac, they run into someone else in the desert and it takes them the longest time to just be open and straightforward with him, which makes the whole journey in the desert seem very boring. Overall, I liked the fantasy elements included in this book. There are fae, dwarves, trolls, and other magical creatures that make the story much fuller.
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalk Ideas: Create a book cover of the book (Don’t recreate the real book cover)
Challenge Issues: Supernatural
Challenge Resources: Rationale for choosing this book (see “Why Did I Pick This”), Engage students and parents in discussions about intellectual freedom, ALA Library Bill of Rights,Challenge Resources from the American Library Association
Why Did I Pick This: I picked this book because I think it’s a great book for young adult readers just delving into the fantasy genre. It’s a well-known title and it’s suitable for any gender.
Paolini, C. (2005). Eragon. New York: Knopf Books for Young Readers.