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Eldest

A novel by Christopher Paolini and the second installment in the Inheritance Cycle.

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The Adventure ... Doesn't Really Continue, It Bogs Down.

  • May 14, 2007
Rating:
+1
After having read ERAGON, I was looking forward to discovering how the saga in Alagaesia between Eragon and his dragon Saphira and the evil King Galbatorix and his minions would continue. Even though ERAGON was a derivative and not all too original, I enjoyed the book and was looking forward to reading ELDEST, the second part of a planned trilogy. I was even more excited because often the middle part of a trilogy is often the best. My expectations were not met at all.

ELDEST begins immediately after ERAGON leaves off, just a few day after the battle of Farthen Dur has ended. The cleanup has been ongoing but bodies still litter the plains inside the mountain. A group of warriors led by Ajihad and Murtagh are sweeping through the tunnels to clear out any Urgals that might remain. Everyone goes to greet them upon their return, but the group is ambushed and Murtagh and the Twins are taken captive while Ajihad is killed. A political game for power ensues and Eragon finds himself in the middle and is forced to begin choosing sides. Soon after, Eragon leaves for the forests of Ellesmera to begin his dragon rider training with the elves.

Eragon and Saphira's training is broken up by chapters about Eragon's cousin, Roran. Roran returns to Carvahall after his fathe's death. Roran can't figure out why Eragon fled and why the Empire was searching for him in the first place. However, his yearning to engage himself to Katrina weighs more heavily upon his mind. Then soldiers under the direction of the Ra'zac return to Carvahall seeking Roran. Roran refuses to be taken and flees to the edge of the Spine. The soldiers make things for the villagers miserable and they slowly begin to unite to revolt. Roran is summoned and he soon finds himself the leader of entire village fighting against the Empire for everything they hold dear.

ERAGON was highly derivative, but ELDEST is even more so. Not only that, but much of the story is not told very well. The title of the book apparently takes its name from a missing family member of Eragon's that is revealed in the book. However, the title could just as easily refer to Roran, Eragon's older cousin. Eragon and Saphira's training takes up a huge chunk of the book, but most of it is dry and dull. Perhaps the author has some reasoning for detailing so much of the training, but most of it seems to have very little to do with the overall plot of the saga. Even though his adventures aren't as chronicled in detail, Roran's adventures are far more exciting and interesting. Roran has no magically powers and no formal training, but is able to lead an army of humanity across a mountain range, across the seas, and into a new land. Roran seems like a very real person and connects with the reader. On the other hand, Eragon continues to grow in power and skill and as he changes he becomes more and more disconnected, so much so that by the end of the novel if it wasn't for the fact that the fate of Algaesia rested in his, I wouldn't care what happened to Eragon.

Of course, there's also the final chapters of the book which reveal a twist that is supposed to make the story more intriguing and exciting. Instead, I found the twist to be a major let down. It really doesn't fit with the personalities of characters we have already met and events that happened earlier in the saga.

ELDEST was supposed to be an exciting adventure story. There are parts in the book, especially the ones that include Roran, that are exciting and engaging. However, the majority of the book focuses on Eragon and instead of growing into a more fascinating character he becomes more aloof and less relatable. If you enjoyed ERAGON, you will probably want to read ELDEST, but be forewarned that it isn't as engaging. I would give the book 2 stars, but Roran makes it worth more.

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More Eldest (book) reviews
review by . June 25, 2010
There aren't many books who can claim the coveted title of "not-able-to-put-down", and this is one of them. For me, anyway. I remember reading this book way into the wee hours of the morning just because I could wait to find out what happened next. (Spoiler!) Especially at the dragon fight at the end when Paolini skillfully wrote the action scenes so vividly. But while the story of a far-away place, war and magical creatures was fun, it lacked good character development or anything …
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
a great second book to get you hooked on the story. secrets are reveled, and eragons world gets flipped upside down.
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Bridging the gap between the two bookends of the trilogy, simple yet readable
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
A good follow-up to Eragon. Paolini develops the setting and adds more interesting characters. It is a great book two.
review by . January 29, 2006
If you enjoyed reading Eragon, buy this book.    That said, allow me to elaborate. First off, I'm hoping that young Master Paolini will, in his third book of the Inheritance trilogy, include some community of narrow-minded, petty, jealous folks who cannot accept magic even when they see it performed in front of them. My work involves me daily with teenagers; they are the most wonderful and most critical creatures on the face of the planet--and the more jealous they are, the more …
review by . October 20, 2005
I bought "Eldest" about a month ago, shortly after I had finished reading "Eragon." When I finished "Eragon" my final judgment of the book is that it wasn't a GREAT book, but it was a very good book nonetheless! I bought "Eldest" in hopes that it would become a great book, as the potential was definitely there. Well, I bought and read "Eldest," and my thoughts on this book is more divided then those I had for "Eragon." The first couple hundred pages of "Eldest" are great. I loved the book, it was …
review by . October 06, 2005
I almost didn't buy this book because the sheer size threw me off, but I'm glad I did! I admit it was a bit hard to keep up because I haven't read the first book, Eragon, yet, but it was such an exciting reading adventure that I couldn't put it down.     This heroic quest fantasy, complete with dwarves, dragons and new creatures is a credit to its young author ... only 17 when his first novel came out, now 19.     The author says he strives for lyrical beauty …
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ISBN-10: 0375840400
ISBN-13: 978-0375840401
Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Format: Novel
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