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Eldest (Inheritance Cycle #02)by Christopher Paolini
In his online newsletter Alagaesia, Christopher Paolini shares, "Writing Eldest was one of the hardest things I've ever done, as was writing Eragon, although in different ways. I pushed myself with Eldest, both in terms of the characters, the story, and what I attempted with my technique....
All the hard work and determination really paid off Eldest delivers! The deft young author's writing has matured giving the second story in the trilogy more depth, as well as successfully building further anticipation for the conclusion of the series. I'm not letting out any spoilers... Just get the book. Read it. Love it!
Fantasy lovers still recovering from the post-Harry Potter blues will find some much needed late-summer relief in these pages. Eldest, Christopher Paolini's accomplished sequel to his bestselling Eragon, continues the story with excitement and skill, expanding Paolini's imaginary world and, as the story unfolds, the devoloping voice of its young author is revealed. Of all the swell young adult fantasies currently filling bookstore shelves this summer, Eldest is the swellest!
Synopses & Reviews
"This phone-book size second helping in Paolini's planned Inheritance Trilogy picks up with the battle-scarred but conquering hero, first introduced in Eragon, and his dragon, Saphira. As the novel opens, the two are neck-deep in political intrigue over choosing a successor to replace Ajihad, the Varden's slain leader. The scope of the story expands when Eragon and Arya, the elfin ambassador he not-so-secretly lusts after, head to Ellesmra so he can complete his training as a Rider. Eragon's cousin, Roran, makes a more perilous journey, leading the townspeople of Carvahall in pursuit of the villain Galbatorix and his cronies, who have kidnapped Roran's fiance — hoping to bait Eragon and Saphira. The narrative shifts occasionally to follow the troubles plaguing Nasuada, Ajihad's daughter, who now leads the Varden. Fans of the first volume will find even more of the same here: a wealth of descriptive detail, mythic archetypes and prolonged battle sequences. Here, the inspiration sometimes seems less Tolkien than Star Wars (Eragon says 'Yes, Master' frequently). The most affecting element remains the tender relationship between dragon and Rider, and teens will empathize as the object of Eragon's affection (repeatedly) spurns him, his teacher humbles him and he struggles with questions about God and vegetarianism. Readers who persevere are rewarded with walloping revelations in the final pages, including the meaning of the title and the identity of the red dragon on the cover. The story leaves off with a promise — To Be Continued. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Once again, the expected fantasy elements are well in place, and the characters and their relationships continue to develop nicely. The ending promises an even more cataclysmic battle ahead." Booklist
"Eldest shows literary growth but is bogged down by inconsistent pacing and an overwrought, archaic style....It's a fine world to escape into. One wishes only that it were grander." Los Angeles Times
"I have not for many a year read anything so mind-numbingly silly as Eldest....Malarkey like this might be forgiven if it were hitched to a fast-moving narrative. But Paolini dawdles, with long, self-indulgent asides about the proper components of a dwarfish bow... (Grade: D+)" Entertainment Weekly
"Eldest roars along from beginning to end. The author's writing has matured and he has developed great skill at layering his themes as they build to an exciting climax." BookReporter.com
"Suffused with purple prose and faux-archaic language, this patchwork of dialogue, characters and concepts pulled whole cloth from the fantasy canon holds together remarkably well....Derivative but exciting." Kirkus Reviews
"Not that Eldest is all bad (although in places it is very bad). It's a good story, if way too familiar....The high points of Eldest are a little higher than Eragon; the low points, unfortunately, are just as low." The Boston Globe
"The plot and characters are largely derivative, not just of Tolkien but of Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin and others...and the prose is often hackneyed and in need of pruning....Eldest isn't extraordinary, though it has its extraordinary moments." The Washington Post
"Aside from a tendency to wax flowery...and a sad lack of humor, Christopher Paolini largely delivers on the plot of his followup to the bestseller Eragon....The book is too long by about 200 pages, but Paolini has created a likable hero, and fantasy buffs should enjoy Eldest... (Grade: C+)" Christian Science Monitor
"[R]emarkable...[an] intricate plot and meticulously built fantasy world....The story is richly detailed in parts, logically laying down elements of magic and folklore....This is a series worth reading..." Children's Literature
"Paolini's lush writing and close attention to detail make this epic flow effortlessly, leaving readers to wait impatiently again for the third and final book of the trilogy." KLIATT
"Paolini provides a worthy companion to Eragon....The plot — indeed, most of the fantasy conventions — is heavily inspired by Tolkien, McCaffrey, and especially George Lucas....While there's nothing particularly original here, the book will find its fan-base." School Library Journal
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship.
Darkness falls...despair abounds...evil reigns...
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn't know whom he can trust.
Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle — one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.
Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life...
With the highly anticipated publication of Book Three in the Inheritance cycle, Brisingr, the hardcover editions of all three books will be available in a handsome boxed set!
About the Author
Christopher Paolini began writing the Inheritance trilogy when he graduated from high school at 15 — and became a bestselling author at 19 when Eragon was published by Knopf. He lives in Montana.
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