When Eragon (and I promise, this review isn’t secretly an Eragon retrospective) released in 2002, I picked it up with deep interest and excitement. By the end of middle school, four friends and myself were obsessed. We started writing our own stories of dragons and eggs, mysterious elves, orcan languages, and flight. We passed notebooks of our handwritten epics around in class the way other kids passed notes of gossip. The four of us even wrote Christopher Paolini fanmail, and he responded with notes of his own—to be fair, I’m still unsure if that was actually him answering his mail or if it was just an adult feeling really bad for us. Paolini, if you’re reading this, do you remember fanmail from a gaggle of young Iowan teens? Did you send them replies? Inquiring minds must know.
Anyway, up until that point, I had been reading fantasy passed down to me: Narnia, Belgariad, and more were stories suggested, placed in my hands. I devoured them, but I never felt like they were my stories to share with others. The Eragon series was the first time I had chosen a fantasy story to read that was just mine.