Friday, 5 April 2013
Eragon is the first book in the epic fantasy series, Inheritance Cycle. It was originally self-published via print on demand in 2002, a time before the current boom in self-published ebooks. But perhaps most noteworthy was the fact that its writer, Christopher Paolini, was only 15 when he wrote the first draft, and 18 by the time it was ready for publication.
It was re-published by Knopf in 2003, after being discovered and acquired by one of its editors. Since then, the book has not only resulted in a 2006 movie adaptation, but gone on to sell, along with sequels Eldest, Brisingr and Inheritance, more than 33.5 million copies worldwide, making the Inheritance Cycle one of the best-selling fantasy series.
The story itself is often considered unoriginal by critics. It takes place in a world called Alagaësia, and tells of a farm boy named Eragon, who, during a hunting trip, finds a magical stone that turns out to be an egg. It hatches into a brilliant, blue dragon he names Saphira, and the two of them form a bond with one another.
Learning about the bond, the king, Galbatorix, sends his servants to capture the boy and his dragon. But Eragon and Saphira escape to the safety of the wilderness. By the time they return, it is to find their home destroyed. And so begins their quest for vengeance, as they journey the land in search of the people responsible.
The book clearly follows a well-worn formula we have seen many times before, in movies like Star Wars and other books like Harry Potter. But the fact that the book has managed to find such success means it is a formula that still resonates with its intended audience. After all, as the saying goes, you shouldn't try to fix what isn't broken.