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“Applied properly, it [logic] can overcome any lack of wisdom, which one only gains through age and experience,” Oromis. —Eragon
Inheritance Cycle Series #1
by Christopher Paolini
Dragons are all but extinct in Alagaesia, which is why Eragon is confounded when a blue rock mysteriously appears in the woods. Hoping to make a profit, he tries to sell the pretty stone. But the dragon inside has chosen a different path for the boy who found her.
Eragon is an exciting story that will enthrall readers. Although it is written at a junior high reading level, it contains much violence and alludes to some sexual content. If your junior higher is mature this tale will no doubt delight them. But if your child has not yet been exposed to adult content such as the brutality of war, this series may not be the best fit.
- Eragon asks his friend, “Did you kill someone important or bed the wrong woman?”
- The elf reveals that while in captivity, “His methods were . . . harsh. When torture failed, he ordered his soldiers to use me as they would.”
- In the opening chapter, an elf is ambushed by a Shade. The Shade “saw three of his charges fall in a pile, mortally wounded…Black Urgal blood dripped from her sword, staining the pouch in her hand.”
- Eragon finds his uncle wounded. “His skin was gray, lifeless, and dry…Deep, ragged burns covered most of his body. They were chalky white and oozed clear liquid. A cloying, sickening smell hung over him—the odor of rotting fruit. His breath came in short jerks, each one sounding like a death rattle.”
- Eragon and his friend Brom steal food, money, and supplies several times while on the run. “The thievery made him feel guilty, but he reasoned, It’s not really stealing. I’ll pay Gedric back someday.” “Brom pocketed the money with a wink. ‘Anyone who gulls innocent travelers for a living ought to know better than to carry such a large sum on his person.’”
- Eragon comes across much slaughter on his travels. Once an entire village is killed. “A mountain of bodies rose above them, the corpses stiff and grimacing. Their clothes were soaked in blood, and the churned ground was stained with it. Slaughtered men lay over the women they had tried to protect, mothers still clasped their children, and lovers who had tried to shield each other rested in death’s cold embrace. Black arrows stuck out of them all. Neither young nor old had been spared. But worst of all was the barbed spear that rose out of the peak of the pile, impaling the white body of a baby.”
- Eragon learns to fight with magic. “He shot, yelling, ‘Brisingr!’ The arrow hissed through the air, glowing with a crackling blue light. It struck the lead Urgal on the forehead, and the air resounded with an explosion.”
- Eragon’s dragon fights on several occasions. “Saphira whirled on the monster, roaring savagely. Her talons slashed with blinding speed. Blood spurted everywhere as the Urgal was rent in two.”
- Slavery exists. “He watched helplessly as the slave was sold to a tall, hawk-nosed man. The next slave was a tiny girl, no more than six years old, wrenched from the arms of her crying mother.”
- There are many times where Eragon and his companions are attacked and fight to defend themselves. “An angry snarl from behind made Eragon spin around, sword held high…’Brisignr!’ barked Eragon, stabbing out with magic. The Urgal’s face contorted with terror as he exploded in a flash of blue light. Blood splattered Eragon, and a brown mass flew through the air…He caught a second one in the throat with Zar’roc, wheeled wildly, and slashed a third through the heart.”
- Eragon threatens a soldier to get him to talk. “Do you know how much pain a grain of sand can cause you when it’s embedded red hot in your stomach? Especially when it doesn’t cool off for the next twenty years and slowly burns its way down to your toes! By the time it gets out of you, you’ll be an old man…Unless you tell me what I want.”
- Murtagh kills a Shade. “The next arrow caught him between the eyes. The Shade howled with agony and writhed, covering his face. His skin turned gray. Mist formed in the air around him, obscuring his figure. There was a shattering cry; then the cloud vanished.”
- Eragon rescues an elf who had been imprisoned and tortured. “The elf’s back was strong and muscled, but it was covered with scabs that made her skin look like dry, cracked mud. She had been whipped mercilessly and branded with hot irons in the shape of claws. Where her skin was still intact, it was purple and black from numerous beatings…Eragon silently swore an oath that he would kill whoever was responsible.”
- Eragon and Murtagh argue over killing a man who attacked them. “Murtagh gazed at him coldly, then swung his blade at Torkenbran’s neck. ‘No!’ shouted Eragon, but it was too late. Torkenbrand’s decapitated trunk crumpled to the ground in a puff of dirk. His head landed with a hard thump.” Eragon says they should have let him run, Murtagh says “I’m only trying to stay alive…No stranger’s life is more important than my own.”
- Angela says, “I loathe Shades – they practice the most unholy magic, after necromancy. I’d like to dig his heart out with a dull hairpin and feed it to a pig!”
- There is a great battle. “At a command, the cauldrons of pitch were tilted on their sides, pouring the scalding liquid into the tunnel’s hungry throat. The monsters howled in pain, arms flailing. A torch was thrown onto the bubbling pitch, and an orange pillar of greasy flames roared up into the opening, engulfing the Urgals in an inferno.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Eragon drinks alcohol a few times. “The inn’s food was barely adequate, but its beer was excellent. By the time they stumbled back to the room, Eragon’s head was buzzing pleasantly…What was I thinking? wondered Eragon in the morning. His head was pounding and his tongue felt thick and fuzzy.”
- Variations of damn are used several times. “I won’t deal with anything you bring back from those damned mountains!” “Damnation! It’s not locked.”
- Bastard is used a few times. “I find that I prefer them when they’re greedy bastards.” “There’s only one reason for the king to gather such a force – to forge a bastard army of humans and monsters to destroy us.”
- There are many races in Alagaesia. They include elves, dwarves, dragons, and Urgals.
- Shades are created when a human tried to control spirits in order to practice magic but is overpowered. The spirits take over the human body and control it.
- Many people can use different types of magic, whether speaking words from the ancient language or by harnessing spirits.
- Eragon can communicate with animals by touching their minds. He can speak to people in the same way, hear their thoughts, and attack their minds using magic.
- Eragon meets a were-cat. They can see the future, speak using their minds, and transform into small humanoid figures.
- An herbalist uses bones to tell Eragon’s future.
- Eragon and his friend Brom lie often since they are fugitives on the run. “Eragon knew he had to lie.”
- When Eragon’s adopted father dies, he shouts “What god would do this? Show yourself! He didn’t deserve this!”
- Eragon comes across a town that has been slaughtered and wonders, “What does our existence mean when it can end like this?”
- Brom describes the religion of the city Dras-Leona. “Their prayers go to Helgrind. It’s a cruel religion they practice. They drink human blood and make flesh offerings. Their priests often lack body parts because they believe that the more bone and sinew you give up, the less you’re attached to the mortal world.”
by Morgan Lynn