Galadedrid Damodred, July 25, 2007 (view all comments by Galadedrid Damodred)
Not just Eldest, but the entire Inheritance Trilogy to date is a tedious, mind-numbing mass of generic fantasy elements shoehorned into the Star Wars plotline, plagued with simply ridiculous characters and riddled with inconsistencies. It is a valiant, but truly laughable attempt at literature. Paolini starts off with minimal character development with a sprinkling of irritating prose and illogical events, followed by some pointless religious banter. Toward the middle of the novel, he waxes imbecilic as he approaches creative agony in the leafy forest of Du Weldenvarden, rife with vegan, atheist elves who try to ram their views down the readers' throats. Together with some rather disturbing meditations on elvish body parts and a poorly-staged battle, Eldest is sure to make readers want to scream with fury and tear their own hair out in frustration.
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Kjirstin, February 16, 2007 (view all comments by Kjirstin)
This book did not continue where ERAGON left off, but was a slower, more draining, vastly overdone revamp of Star Wars with fantasy overtones. The dwarf language was excruciating. My boys couldn't even finish it, but I kept on reading to see if it would improve. It didn't. For some reason Paolini didn't want to say a character went "half-way" somewhere, so he wrote "three-quarters" at least six times, as if that were more original. It wasn't. It not only took me out of the story (wondering if I should return to the illustrated map and measure something) it made me wonder what this kid had been smoking. Tedious. Dare I say it? Boring.
If you want good Sci-fi, read the oldie but goodie ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card. For good fantasy, try something new, like FABLEHAVEN by Brandon Mull. Christopher Paolini was hailed as a wonderkid at 15, but it was by his own family marketing machine. I bought the first two books, but I won't fall for it a third time. If his final installment is ever published, I won't even get it from the library.
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Knopf Publishing Group -
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....[T]he completion of my second novel marks the end and beginning of an era for me."
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!
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
"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."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"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."
by The Boston Globe,
"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."
by The Washington Post,
"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."
"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."
by Children's Literature,
"[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..."
by Christian Science Monitor,
"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+)"
by Entertainment Weekly,
"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+)"
"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."
by Los Angeles Times,
"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."
Surpassing its popular prequel Eragon, this second volume in the Inheritance trilogy follows solidly in the tradition of the classic heroic quest fantasy, with the predictable cast of dwarves, elves, and dragons — but also including some imaginatively creepy creatures of evil.
Now in paperback — the #1 New York Times bestselling second volume in the Inheritance trilogy follows Eragon as he and Ellesmera travel to the land of the elves for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider.
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...
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