Eldest by Christopher Paolini

November 28, 2011 Reviews 0

Christopher Paolini is an American author, best known for writing the Inheritance Cycle, including the books Eragon (self published in 2002, published by Knopf in 2003), Eldest (published 2005), Brisingr (2008) and Inheritance (November 11 2011). 

Darkness falls …

Despair abounds …

Evil reigns.

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of a Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn’t sure whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall – one that puts Eragon in even graver danger …

The story telling in Eldest is better than in the previous book of the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon. The war against Galbatorix picks up momentum and the story becomes more engaging. The reader meets interesting new characters as they are introduced to the exotic worlds of the Dwarves and Elves. The political tension is also heightened with Eragon and Saphira being pulled in different directions as every race stakes their claim on them. 

Eragon grows into a mature young man in this book and relies less and less on those around him. One of my gripes with Eragon was that the hero needed someone to rescue him all the time, and he was largely helpless against the forces of the world. In this book, Eragon has realised that he needs training as a Dragon Rider and seeks the help of the Elves. Saphira begins to understand more about human culture and her partnership with Eragon grows to new heights. Their relationship continues to be one the best elements of the series.

Eragon’s cousin, Roran, comes into the spotlight in this book as the fate of Carvahall, the home that Eragon abandoned to escape the Empire, is explored. In many ways Roran is smarter and more capable than Eragon, but lacks his natural compassion and empathy. The story is told through alternating the points of view of these two characters, ensuring that the book is well balanced. 

The story of Eragon and Saphira is beginning to snowball, and I look forward to the oncoming avalanche! The Inheritance Cycle is a must read for anyone who enjoys fantasy and young adult fiction. 

About the book:

  • Pub. Date: 25 August 2005
  • Publisher: Doubleday Children’s Books 
  • Format: Hardback, 509 pages
  • ISBN 13: 9780385607902 ISBN 10: 0385607903
  • Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult
  • Goodreads / The Book Depository
  • My review of Eragon (#1 in the Inheritance Cycle)
  • My review of Brisingr (#3 in the Inheritance Cycle)
  • My review of Inheritance (#4 in the Inheritance Cycle)

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