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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars

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on 1 April 2007
Has someone ever given you a book you just can't find time to read? That happened to me with "Eragon" and "Eldest". I liked the story, as summed up in the cover, but a lot of the reviews I had previously read about the series were awful, mostly criticizing the style of its author, Christopher Paolini, or saying that these book were just an imitation of others, for example the books in the "Lord of the Rings" series.

I must confess that I let those spiteful comments get to me, and I always found something else to read before tackling the books included in this box set. That is, until I watched the movie, loosely based on the book of the same name written by Paolini. It wasn't spectacular, but it had something special that made you care for Eragon, a young man like many others that ends up discovering a dragon's egg, and changing his destiny and that of Alagaesia.

"Eragon", the film, was a good introduction to Paolini's world, a world of magic and dragons, elves and strange creatures. All the same, I wanted more, so I went straight to the source. I picked up the book that had been waiting patiently for me and started reading. I read it in a day, without stopping, enjoying the fact that Paolini's story was much, much better than what the film had allowed me to glimpse, and that I was on holidays and could allow myself the luxury of reading the whole book without having to stop and go to work :)

Of course, reading "Eragon" was not enough, and immediately after finishing it I started reading "Eldest". Truth to be told, I liked it just as much or more. "Eldest" picks up where "Eragon" ended, and allows us to know what is happens with Eragon, Saphira and their friends, and what they need to do in order to survive the wrath of king Galbatorix.

All in all, I can say that I loved "Eragon" and "Eldest", and that I strongly recommend it to others, specially those that (disregarding their age) have lots of imagination. On the practical side, buying this box set is a good idea because it is cheaper, and will save you some time you could spend reading. Now, what are you waiting for?

Belen Alcat

PS: To Christopher Paulini --> Please hurry up with the last book in this triology, I really want to know what happens next :)
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on 10 April 2006
I read these 2 books within 2 weeks, i couldn't get my nose out of them. I got so frustrated when i had to go to school and i came home as soon as possible just to start reading them again!
Eragon is full of the mysteries of the Ra-zac and Eldest is so full of twists and un-expected surprises i wouldn't do anything else and just spent my weekends reading. I've lent Eragon to my best mate and told her if she damages it she'll be paying for it and giving me compensation! She wasn't sure at first but she said she's got to the 3rd chapter and now she can't get her nose out of it either! She want's too read Eldest next and i've said i'd lend it to her only if she will give the first one back!
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on 22 April 2007
These books are both excellently written, carrying the reader along at breakneck pace with the young hero Eragon and his steadfast dragon Saphira through the strange land of Alagasea and it's varying multitude of inhabitants. It is an engaging read and shows off the talents of Christopher Paolini to be amongst the best in this genre of books. If you like fantasy novels then these are a must.
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Mix together equal parts "Star Wars" and J.R.R. Tolkien, then add a generous helping of Anne McCaffrey's dragon-riders and a few random shreds of Garth Nix.

Obviously originality is not Christopher Paolini's strong suit, since the omnibus of "Eragon" and "Eldest" is brimming over with fantasy cliches. But the biggest weakness of Paolini's two books is not his stilted dialogue or numerous cliches, or even the slow-moving pompous slog of "Eldest's" endless elf training -- it's his cardboard cutout of a self-insert hero, Eragon.

The titular character is lucky enough to stumble across a strange blue stone while hunting. After failing to sell it, Eragon finds that it's actually a dragon egg, and the baby blue dragon inside selects him -- yes, him -- to hatch for and remain with forever. All the Dragon Riders were killed off by Evil King Galbatorix long ago, but for the weird old recluse Brom, who becomes Eragon's mentor. And Luke, I am your father... wait, wrong story.

When Galbatorix's men destroy Eragon's home and family, Brom and Eragon flee to find the mysterious rebels known as the Varden, and rescue the beautiful elf Arya who is haunting Eragon's dreams. But while Eragon and his dragon Saphira learn many things -- and make new allies -- the journey to the Varden brings them a terrible (and totally predictable) loss, and leads them to Eragon's first battle.

"Eldest" picks up immediately afterwards, with Eragon badly wounded and the leader of the Varden murdered. But despite the rebels' turmoil, Eragon is told that he has to accompany Arya back to her home city of the elves, to train as a proper Dragon-rider. But when he arrives, Eragon finds that his new master is an ancient, crippled elf named Oromis, who has a lot to teach him before he inevitably expires.

Unbeknownst to Eragon, his hometown of Carvahall is being ruined by a band of Galbatorix's soldiers, and his newly-engaged cousin Roran may be their only hope. And our hero's truncated training leads to strange new changes in his body and mind, as he prepares for a devastating new battle against Galbatorix -- and a horrifying new discovery. Yes, you can probably see it coming.

Lofty elves, kings-in-waiting, humble farm boys, ghastly goblinesque creatures, mystical women, special swords, evil tyrants who are evil because they just are, wise mentors, and telepathic dragons in a variety of colors. Christopher Paolini never met a fantasy cliche that he didn't like. And as a result, both "Eragon" and "Eldest" are dripping with Tolkien and Lucas-style trappings, right down to the hero's suspiciously Tolkienian name.

Paolini paints these typical sword-and-sorcery stories with rather stilted but promising prose, at least at first. "Eragon" has some raw rookie potential, and you can detect Paolini's enthusiasm as he explores his invented fantasy land, much the way many other teenagers have done after reading high fantasy and yearning to explore their own made-up worlds. There's just not much that is new or unique about this story.

But things go way downhill with "Eldest" -- Paolini's prose becomes bloated, sluggish and painfully smug, with dialogue that becomes more painfully wretched with each chapter ("I walk between the candle and the dark"). The story is wrenched out into three different storylines, two of which deal with the Varden's lace-making and Roran's engagement woes. Neither is terribly interesting, and the battle at the finale feels as though Paolini slapped it on to give it a suitably slam-bang ending.

Worst of all, the book's bulk is devoted mostly to Eragon's uneventful dragon-riding training with Oromis, which consists mostly doing yoga and watching insects, and occasionally whapping each other with swords. Yes, it's every bit as boring as it sounds. And the hilariously homoerotic moments with Eragon and Oromis only liven it up a little.

The biggest problem with Paolini's writing is that Eragon is portrayed as a noble, brave, compassionate soul with a brilliant destiny ahead of him. Well, frankly he shows no nobility, bravery or compassion, and the many characters who gasp in admiration of him does not make him any more impressive. He's a glaring self-insert, with all the dimension of a cardboard standee.

The supporting characters are not much better -- Brom is too brief a character to make much of an impact, and while Oromis has a certain fascination, we hear too little of his intriguing past, except how it relates to Eragon. And the love interest Arya is glorified only for her looks -- which is all she has, since her personality is chilly at best, snotty and autocratic at worst.

Christopher Paolini's not-terribly original fantasy series starts off with the flawed but readable "Eragon," before sliding down into the painfully bloated carcass of "Eldest." Lightweight fantasy at best, but a painful salad of cliched preaching at worst.
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on 24 January 2006
I highly reccommend this book, i have read theese books many times and they are they best books i have ever read. I highly sugest reading this if you havent already.
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on 15 June 2011
Whilst I agree with much of the criticism pointed at it.

"Its so obviously like Star Wars and Lord of The Rings"

I suggest one take a step back and remember the Christopher Paolini wrote the first book when he was 15. And also lets be honnest whilst Eragon and Eldest do make more obvious hints and nods at other fantsy works Isn't the general outline for any fantasy novel. "A young character who lives a simple life until one day something happens and he is Thrown into a world he is unprepared for and is forced to sink or swim..."

Despite this I still rate these books highly and consider them my personal favourites, they are easy reads yet beneathe lies a complex story with interesting characters. And arguably as the books go on their similarties to Lord of the Rings and Star Wars begin to fade somewhat.

I strongly advise anyone of any age to give the books a read they are fun enjoyable and leave you eager for more.
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on 29 May 2008
I'm not sure if that is a word that you would use to describe a book but these two are simply amazing. Many reviews have criticised they style in which Christopher Paolini writes but I personally think he is fantastic! I'm a very busy person and love reading so it is essential that I have a book that is gripping or I will not take time out to read it! These books certainly fill that criteria. The phrase "You cant put it down!" is taken lightly in the reading world to emphasise how good a book is but these two books you cannot actually put down. They are definitely up there with the likes of Harry Potter undoubtedly! I pre-ordered (yes call me a reading freak) I'll say that again pre-ordered the next one as soon as I could. I hope that sort of sums up how good these books are, GO OUT AND BUY THEM!!
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on 4 February 2011
This book is absolutly captivating!
I got my Kindle for christmas and this was the first book i purchased on it, i have physically unable to put it down, I've been on the edge of my seat, laughing, crying, and overall thoughroughly impressed by this magnificent piece of writting!
I would seriously recommend this, its way better than the film ever could be, although don't get me wrong.... the film is great!
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on 24 October 2009
very good books, (I would recommend buying them in separate hardback copy's)
these books let your imagination flow(if you have any)
I would recommend these books any day if you like magic and power struggles,

(spoiler alert)
If you have not read the books I would advise not to read the mini book 2 star review below as it gives away main parts of the books which are better found out reading it.
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on 15 February 2009
Fantastic stories, very easy to read full of brilliant imagery and recommended for any age group.I have since also read Brisinger and cant wait for the next one.
The stories are very moving and in part not unlike Lord of the Rings which is one of my favourite reads of all time.
The books are great page turners and once you start very hard to put down.
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