Saturday, 19 April 2014

Author Spotlight: Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini is one of the most successful young authors of our time. The talented author of The Inheritance Cycle, wrote his first book, Eragon, aged just 15. The Inheritance Cycle tells the tale of Eragon, a young boy who accidentally finds and hatches a dragon egg - drawing him into a life changing of journey of learning, friendship and duty. 
Christopher's family self published Eragon in 2001, and in 2003 it was re-published by Alfred A. Knopf books. Eragon became an overnight hit in the Young Adult genre with Eragon appearing on the New York Times Children's Books Best Seller list for 121 weeks. Following on from the success of Eragon, the second book Eldest was published in 2005 followed by Brisingr (2008) and Inheritance (2011). 

In 2004, fans of the series were extremely excited when 20th Century Fox announced that Eragon would be made into a film. Released in 2006, the hotly anticipated film was unfortunately slammed by critics and fans of the book alike and no sequels followed. 
Speaking about his influences Christopher once said, "In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf". Reading The Inheritance Cycle it is not hard to see the inspiration that Christopher drew from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, with elves, dwarves and humans co-inhabiting a mysterious land. Similarly when assessing the tone and language displayed in our own Seamus Heaney's Beowulf one can see certain similarities with Christopher's own work. 

In off the moors, down through the mist-bands God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.
The bane of the race of men roamed forth,
hunting for a prey in the high hall.
Under the cloud-murk he moved towards it
until it shone above him, a sheer keep
of fortified gold. Nor was that the first time
he had scouted the grounds of Hrothgar's dwelling -
although never in his life, before or since,
did he find harder fortune or hall-defenders. 
(Extract from Beowulf)

Certainly, much of the story is cliche and typical to the fantasy genre - but in our opinion it's still a good series. We would recommend Christopher's books for young adult readers both male and female with a penchant for fantasy. 

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