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on 13 April 2008
I personally liked this book even better than the first, Eragon, which has been one of my definite favourites. The plot is engaging, fast moving and origional with fantasy brought to life as though reality. The characters are also brought to life - as complex individuals - and the book is difficult to put down. The subtlety in many places also makes Eldest a good read for the second or even third time, as some moments just have to be re-experienced, and you also notice things you missed before. Revealing answers are found to some of the questions posed in Eragon, whilst leaving others to be explained in the next book, Brisinger. There is also a fantastic twist at the end of Eldest, which although very surprising is utterly believable as it fits in perfectly with the rest of the story. Overall, these books are a must-read; not to be missed!
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on 21 August 2005
The Inheritance trilogy consists of Eragon, Eldest, Empire.
Read Eragon first, you will not understand Eldest, as it is filled with infomation and parts referring to the 1st book, Eragon.
Despite critics literally screaming "this is a weak copy of the LOTR trilogy!", these 2 (and hopefully 3) books are entertaining, absorbing, and serious fantasy. The unfortunate thing about these 2 books is that they do take a lot of influence from the LOTR trilogy. From the characters (Orcs) to the writing style (similar type of writing, and so on). But, as I said in my 'Eragon' review, no-one intentionally tries to copy, resemble, or poke fun at another book, unless the author is writing a parody.
Eragon seemed a little slow and dreamy at the beginning, but Eldest thrusts you into the action the moment you start. In Eldest, you follow the stories of two people, Eragon Shadeslayer, the slayer of Durza and rider of Saphira, and Roran Garrowsen, the uncle of Eragon. Eragon decides to travel to the land of the elves (ellesmera) to train his magic and swordsmanship. But along the way there is plenty of danger, magic, fights, sarcasm, and of course, adventure. Far away, Roran must defend Carvahall from Ra'Zac and orcs who invade almost everyday, trying to find, or even collect infomation about Eragon or Roran.
The one noticable difference between Eragon and Eldest is that Poalini's writing style has changed again. His writing has become noticeably more mature and darker, depicting scenes of evil more powerfully. In Eldest, Eragon is more like a man on a mission, rather than a teenager who is trying to find a certain area. There are less carefree moments for Eragon, and more 'I must follow my destiny' determination. This is by far a good thing for me, but for younger and less mature readers it might be a bad thing, considering that the pace of the book has dropped quite sharply. The Roran-Eragon switch every 40 something pages keeps you from concentrating on both characters.
Eldest is even longer than the already big Eragon (500 something pages, while Eldest is around 700 pages) I also find it increadible that Eldest retained the quality of Eragon, even though it is a sequel to a highly successful book. Though darker, more mature, longer, and slower-paced, Eldest still retains whatever qualities that Eragon has, while adding more details and information about Alagaesia. A fantastic book, even more so than Eragon.
If you have read Eragon, and not read Eldest, buy it and read it, if you have read none, buy both, and read.
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on 12 August 2015
I enjoyed this. The section with the elves was very long, but on the whole I felt that it was justified and added depth to the world and characters. It's a subjective thing, so others will disagree. I enjoyed Eragon's adoption of elves' ethical stances on other life due to magic affecting the empathies and psychology of the race (though it disappeared after this book!)

The end of the book really took things up a notch and made a welcome contrast.

I'll repeat this section from my review of 'Eragon':

"A few small details in the novels stood out as being a bit strange to me, but not enough to affect my enjoyment (and there may be reasons for them). For example, capitalisation seems to be inconsistent. Some races are capitalised (e.g. Urgals) but not others (dwarves or elves); some titles are capitalised (e.g. Riders) but not others (kings). It's strange. Another little detail was the sword Zar'roc - it means "misery" in the "ancient language", appropriate for the sword of the most evil of the Forsworn. Except... the swords get named after the rider completes training. Morzan was a normal rider back then, not an evil one. Morzan wasn't fully evil until Galbatorix corrupted him. So why did he name his sword "misery"? It's one of those things that seems okay on the surface, but bizarre when you question it. Okay, I'll stop being overly critical now, since these kinds of things might have explanations I missed, in which case they are caused by my ignorance."
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on 2 February 2015
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!!!
***I own a hard cover copy, but I borrowed the Playaway audiobook from my local library

The cover is a beautiful red dragon, so I love it :)

This is the 2nd book in the series. It is narrated by the same narrator as Eragon which is usually best since you get used to how a narrator does each character :)

I loved listening to this as much as when I read it in 2006. I spent most of my weekend listening to it. It is 23 hours long, but I needed to finish it so I could return it to the library so I sequestered myself to my room :)

Eragon is a great role model and at times seems like a typical teen with his mistakes, but he has been given a lot of responsibility which forced him to grow up very quickly. I love that this book has the characters from the first book, but it had a lot more of Carvahall’s characters especially Roran’s journey. There is lots of action, training, and battles throughout the book. You learn a lot of things and there were many surprises along the way, but as always, I will not spoil your journey. This fact irritates my mom because I won’t tell her what happens even when she says it doesn’t ruin her the story for her. I told her she had to listen to it or read it :)

When I read a story such as this, I am amazed at the creativity of authors especially Christopher to build such an awesome world with different languages and creatures. It is just fantastic how wide his vocabulary is :)

I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves magical adventures such as the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, and other such adventures.
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on 16 November 2011
Your enjoyment of the Inheritance Cycle is really going to depend on whether you can tolerate its obvious LOTR and Star Wars inspired origins. Eragon and Eldest may not be masterpieces of literature but Paolini has an eye for storytelling and he manages to add some weight to the series because he goes to expose the smallest details of his world and explores it to its deepest core. This is also where he makes mistakes because as much as the LOTR is admired for its scale and depth, anything else feels like an obvious copy. LOTR grand scale doesnt do it much favour as an easy read but its originality at the time (and now) plus Tolkien's committment to creating a new mythology set it above anything that has come before. Inheritance therefore, by trying to emulate Tolkien (emulate, not copy) also inherits the same weaknesses but to a lesser extent because Paolini does relent and gives us plenty to get absorbed into.

The story follows directly from 'Eragon' only this time Paolini adopts a multi-strand style with changing segments that focus on Eragon, his cousin Roran and of course the Varden. The story finds Eragon recovering from his battle with the Shade, Durza. His victory came at a price as he now finds himself victim to a crippling disability putting all the more pressure on him to fufil his oaths as Rider and vassal to the Varden. He seeks out the elves in their realm of Du Weldenvarden for help in his plight only to discover a long hidden secret that changes everything. Roran meanwhile returns to Carvahall to seek answers to his uncles death and to seek the hand of his love Katrina. When the Empire threatens to destroy everything he cares for, Roran dares not only to resist but to somehow save the villagers from slavery by making a seemingly impossible journy from their home to the Varden.

If there's one thing that Paolini manages to convey here by his first person narrative is the pressure that the story places on his leads; from Eragon's many trials to Roran's story of survival. He tells it so convincingly and manages to convey such a build-up to climactic events that you find yourself drawn into the story and makes you root for characters even more. Eragon himself generally has little in terms of action and his events are rarer, smaller except for the climactic events in the finale. But his new found trials and his journey into becoming a Rider is even more perilous so that his triumphs bring real elation for the reader while his defeats all the more better. As with the first book, the relationship between Rider and Dragon remains primary throughout and still remain a real highpoint of this series. Roran's segment is slower but the story is no less perilous and it itself pays the same dividends.

If there is one thing that lets Eldest down then it is moments where nothing else is happening except characters travelling and discussing things about life in Algeasia and customs etc. It's commendable that Paolini has such dedication and has thought these things out but it slows the story down too much especially when these segments can last a fair while. LOTR is mostly admired for its originality and Paolini doesnt need to replicate that aspect when his own series has enough action, excitement and drama to keep his own story going. Apart that aspact, Eldest is a very worthy sequel to Eragon and takes the series to where it should be going to make things all the more perilous and darker as this fantasy series really gets going.
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on 10 June 2011
In between work and other bits and bobs it has taken me TWO weeks to get through Eldest. Normally I read much quicker than that, and if a book is gripping and good enough I will squeeze a bit of reading time into my ten minute bus journey to work or when I'm waiting at the bus stop. I'll be totally honest with you... I couldn't do this with Eldest. At least, not at first.

Now I may have totally confused you because the rating that I have given the book is a 4 and the opening paragraph of this review is rather negative. It is a 4 I promise you, but it's just a really difficult 4! The reason being that it is a seriously hefty book that is almost 700 pages worth of small writing and very detailed passages...

Eldest is different to Eragon - there are different points of view in Eldest and different stories going on that come together neatly at the end. This is what saved the book. If Eragon had dominated the entire thing I honestly think that I would not have finished it. Roran, Eragon's cousin who we only saw during the early chapters of Eragon, has his own story narrated which is set in Cavahall where he is left to pick up the pieces after Eragon's disappearance and Garrow's death. His story is tense, dangerous and extremely exciting. I read on for his story. About 70% of the book is Eragon's tale and 27% is Roran's while the remaining 3% is Nasuada's (the daughter of Ajihad of the Varden). We didn't know much about Roran from the first book and his role was unimportant - he was sent away to Therinsford where we did not encounter him again. But in Eldest he is very important and I really came to care for him. He suffered a great deal and I was genuinely gutted for him. He became a hero and had to act for the good of his people and risk death several times over. His romantic relationship with Katrina is very sweet and I will be rooting for them to find happiness together as the series continues.

Eragon's role in the book until the last 200 or so pages is quite dull to be honest with you. I was bored. I like him as a character and I think that his strength and personality are fantastic to read about when he is involved in action, but for most of the book nothing really exciting takes place. Eragon is sent to the Elves to learn more about being a Rider and Paolini has concentrated more on giving us all the details - no matter how small - about magic and the world of Alaegasia. It starts to get a bit overwhelming because there is literally about 300 pages of it. You won't remember half of it! The story of Eragon the student and Oromis the Master kind of reminded me a little bit of Star Wars' Yoda and Luke Skywalker but it was a lot less entertaining. There was too much to learn that went on for so many pages. Some chapters I found to be extremely pointless - for instance there is one where Saphira (the dragon) gets stuck in a room or something - it's a chapter of about 3 pages. It was the most pointless 3 pages I've ever read in my life. When the chapter ended I was like "Hmm great was that it?"

But the last quarter of the book is amazing. I read through the pages quickly and was finally able to read a couple of chapters on the bus! There is a huge battle that takes place and a revelation regarding Eragon at the end - one that I kind of predicted when I read Eragon - but instead of being annoyed that I'd guessed at it early on, I was pleased to be proved correct! Roran's tale and the final 200 pages saved the book and that is why I have rated it as a 4. The final events and the overall plot is definitely worthy of a 4. It is just unfortunate that the author took a really long time to get to it. I think that this story could have easily fitted into 450 pages rather than the 700 that it actually is. I can't really be too harsh on Paolini I suppose, because I think he was still quite young when he wrote Eldest and his style of writing shows a boy of very high intelligence and so he has to be given some lee-way.

Overall I would say that the book is enjoyable once you've battled through the rambling informative bits. I'd say that it is still very similar to The Lord of the Rings - the Elves and their dwelling echoed that of Rivendell or Lothlórien - but apart from that it's not as obvious as it was during Eragon. The ending was quite abrupt but I found this to be quite effective because I will be picking up the third book in the series to find out what happens next. I would recommend this to fantasy, action and adventure lovers and those of you who love LOTR and similar stories. Just persevere like I did because you will be rewarded eventually.
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on 22 April 2012
I thought Eragon was an exciting read but when I finished reading Eldest I was just left without words.
The unfortunate thing about the books in the Inheritance cycle or any other series is that they do take a lot of influence from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But any fantasy book that has orcs, elves or gnomes will automatically be compared to Lord of the rings
In Eldest, you follow the stories of two people, Eragon Shadeslayer and rider of Saphira, and Roran Garrowsen, Eragon's cousin. Eragon goes to Ellesmera the land of the elves to train his magic and swordsmanship. Along the way there is plenty of danger, magic, fights, sarcasm, and of course, adventure. Far away, Roran must defend Carvahall from Ra'Zac and orcs.
Christopher Poalini's writing style has changed a little in comparison to Eragon. His writing has become noticeably more mature and darker, depicting scenes of evil more powerfull than before. Just when you think nothing new can happen Paolini introduces a new plot to the book, The Roran-Eragon switch, with some chapters of "Eldest" will be about Eragon's adventures and others about what is happening to Roran and his followers. We also discover two more dragon riders, and learn about what happened to Murtagh and Eragon's mother.
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on 23 November 2010
Many reviewers say that this is too much like the lord of the rings, yet that it is dull and repetitive (especially during Eragon's training)
I do not accept this view.

I have read L.O.T.R. myself and this gem is not a rip off of it at all. It is a wonderful story, better than Eragon which i felt was a little too fast paced. I like characters in a book to spend time not running from monsters or fighting battles just sometimes so you can understand them more. Eragon's training in Ellesmera was a breath of fresh air compared with some other author's works and indeed from Eragon. When you do get past the politics and training however, the drama and combat ect. is described very well. The last few chapters were tense and exciting and the story as a whole moves forward quite a bit since Eragon. Only outclassed by Brisinger, but being outdone by your later works is just one of those perils that needs to be accepted Christopher!

all in all I'd say do not believe the negative reviews this series has got. read it yourself before you judge. It is a great read and a great series which will leave you eager for the next installment.
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on 23 October 2014
I love a good fantasy to escape from everyday stress and strain and a long book at that to really get your teeth into. This book certainly fits the required criteria. Like Eragon, the writing style is easy to read and the characters are well drawn. There are some tense and exciting moments as well as descriptive battle scenes, although the gore is not overdone.

I am finding that I am warming to Eragon a bit more now as he is not as morose and arrogant as he was in the first book. I guess he is learning from his life experiences and coaching along the way. Saphira is still his faithful companion, ever loyal and a fierce adversary in battle.

I find that all the characters are well drawn and the story believable, on fantasy terms. There is plenty gong on and it is not a quick read. I did find toward the end that I was wondering if I was ever going to get through it though!

I have the other 2 books and will have a short break before I start the third; these are books to be savoured and to look forward to of a night and not to be rushed.

Enjoy, the series is a worthwhile investment.
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on 8 June 2010
After I had finished reading Eragon I instantly ordered Eldest and couldn't wait to begin reading it. Christopher Paolini did not let me down.

This book is exhilarating and had me on the edge of my seat for most of the time, especially when we were following Roran's adventures. Each time the Ra'zac appeared I was willing someone to kill them off; I think that we will encounter a lot more of them in the third book, something I'm not looking forward to. Christopher has created these creatures to be hated and feared, and he has succeeded.

My heart went out to Roran when he was unable to protect Katrina like he promised, as it did when Eragon tried to woo Arya.

This book has been a compelling read, watching these two cousins characters develop, their travels and circumstances moulding them into the men they later become.

Not wishing to give anything away, I think that three or four times towards the end of this book I gasped out "Oh my goodness!" as certain truths came to light.
This is a second brilliant book; I have put my order in for Brisingr and can not wait until it arrives. Well done Christopher!
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