Book Review: Eragon (Middle School)

          Have you ever picked up a book grudgingly, thinking that the read will mean nothing to you, and that you will only waste hours of your precious life (that you spend stalking people on Facebook), only to find the book extremely entertaining? That is what happened to me when I was a judgemental, silly 12 year old, except for the Facebook part. The book in my case is actually heavily criticized online by many “literacy experts” who claims it is a “Bad Lord of the Rings ripoff”, but I like it anyway. I enjoyed this book more than a 100 episodes of Top Gear put together! And, at the time, all I did was either watch Top Gear or play Counter Strike: Global Offensive. But, with the introduction of this book into my life, a very old side of me was reborn, leading me to more books than I could fit in my bookshelves. Although that certainly caused problems, I am very happy to recommend the book that actually changed my life, which is Eragon, written by Christopher Paolini. If you are a teenager rebelling against society like me, I guarantee that you will learn many things from this book, just as I did. If you are not a teenager, I guarantee that you will find this fantasy book entertaining anyway.

         I will explain, in detail, how this book changed my life. I was a bookworm at an early age of four. That was mainly because of my parents; they put a lot of effort into my education, and gave me as many books as I wanted. I feel that without my parents’ efforts, I would be a completely different person, and for that, I am very thankful. Anyway, after the introduction of books, I began digging very deep into the books, sometimes acting as the characters, earning myself many weird glances from adults and children alike. At the time, all I cared about was becoming the cool things I saw or read in books, and the side “that-kid-is-weird” glances meant nothing to me. However, that caused some issues. I have a tendency to just drift out of reality when I get too involved in fantasy, and that includes books. That meant that I would suddenly stop listening to the teachers, and that landed me in trouble very frequently. Once, I even threw a “tsumiki”a small block of woodat a fellow student and friend of mine, which caused many, ah, problems. I was sent straight to the principal’s office, and the other boy was sent straight to the hospital. The troublemaker-and-short-fuse personality of mine was one of the things that allowed me to relate to this book so much. The reason for that is because the main character has to deal with his spiking emotions in this book, just like I had to. For example, when his guardian is attacked, he gets too emotional and accidentally shoots flames at the aggressor, killing the monster and nearly him. Events like this happened frequently, too frequently, and my teacher even recommended a doctor specializing in ADHD and Aspergers to my parents, which angered my father very much. After that day, my teachers never criticized me when I did something wrong due to, ah, an overdose of fantasy.

         After my seventh birthday, I started reading Japanese novels meant for adults. That also means that I was introduced to the world of adults early, and learned about emotions, violence, murder, society’s structures, and gender roles. At the age of ten, at a show and tell, I brought one of my favorite novels, which started with a very brutal scene – a man gets killed brutally by a member of a Yakuza group. To make things worse, the book ended with another very brutal scene – the Yakuza member gets shot in the heart. My classmates were not ready for that kind of violence and adulthood, and I was, once again, in trouble. I feel like this is a more realistic and less nonsense version of Eragon; I bring a book to school, whereas Eragon brings a forbidden secret (dragon egg) to his home. I read the book to the class and get in trouble, whereas in the world of Eragon, the dragon egg hatches and he is chased by guards of the Empire. The incident with the Yakuza book was very discouraging for me and my reading. I was confused. Many questions were flying around in my head, such as “why do teachers even promote reading, if I land in trouble for reading one?”, or “Am I really that weird?”. Needless to say, it was a massive blow to my self-esteem. Eventually, I backed away from reading, not to return for two years. However, this book had all it takes to reintroduce me to the fantastic world of reading; I can, just like before, relate closely to a book’s main character, and explore the book as myself.

          Relating to a book has always been an important part of book selection in my life. I like books with main characters of my age or a little bit higher, because I get to relate to them, and feel what they feel like in the book. That is, I think, what sparked my interest for this book, since its main character is a 13-year-old boy named Eragon. He, just like me, struggles with many unwanted things in his life. I struggle with *ahem* my grades, where he struggles with control of his powers – he nearly kills himself from exuding too much energy. I struggle with my short temper and knock teeth out, and he does, too; he knocks magic monsters out. I struggle with some typical teenage boy problems such as acne, peer pressure on being a man, and he struggles with a lot of teenage boy problems, such as his crush on the elf Arya (which is something I have yet to experience). Another thing that adds to the relatability is that the author is a teenager. That means two good things; first, you can relate to the book even further, because the author is probably writing and relating his life to it, and second, things (especially the plot) are smoother, as there are no weird parts which a child does something too maturely that ultimately breaks the flow in the story. To give you a little bit of an idea of the storyline, I will reveal some parts of the book. Eragon finds a secret he should not find, and is hunted by the Empire because of it. As the secret unveils itself, so does more of the storyline and background information. The secret is not his mom cheating on his dad by the way, like in Hatchet. Anyway, the story has a fairy tale feel to it, probably because it has things such as elves, dwarves, dragons, witches, and magic in it. And, for me, that is what makes this book too much fun to resist, because my  life is on the boring side – I go to school, come home, sit in front of the computer, read a book (or not), and then sleep. It is a great way to run away and take a break from the homework due dates, that group project where you have to act like a Hérnan Córtes with a significantly lowered IQ, and your parents yelling at you for your grades in writing class.

Books are a great way to have a vacation, since all it costs is about a thousand yen and your imagination. If you don’t read at least a book per 3 months, you are definitely missing out. So, what are you waiting for? Here I am, recommending a great book to read and ponder over. Eragon is a great book to read, whether you are a bookworm or not.

By: Turbocharged

 

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