The Barnes & Noble Review
Eldest, the shelf-bending sequel to Christopher Paolini's wildly acclaimed debut novel, Eragon (and the second volume in his Inheritance trilogy), continues the epic saga of Eragon and Saphira. The teenage boy and his blue-scaled dragon are destined to free the realm of Alagaësia from the clutches of the ruthless king Galbatorix -- or die trying. Even though Eragon and his misfit alliance of rebels have won minor victories against the nightmarish minions of the Empire, he realizes that without more training, he will never be able to defeat Galbatorix and his dark magic. With that in mind, he sets off for the awe-inspiring land of the elves on a quest to complete his education as a Dragon Rider. Like J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter saga, Paolini's epic fantasy -- although categorized as children's literature (for readers 12 and up) -- has attracted not only adult fantasy fans but also mainstream fiction readers. Paolini's fluid writing style, abundance of compelling characters, and utilization of age-transcendent themes like honor, friendship, responsibility, and forgiveness, will make this saga a huge hit with teachers and librarians, as well as lovers of dragon-powered fantasy à la Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. Le Guin. The 650-plus pages of Tolkienesque adventure will almost certainly leave readers salivating for the third and final installment.
Paul Goat Allen
He and his dragon friend Saphira have just saved the rebel state from destruction, but Eragon has only begun the great journey of his life. For training in the skills of the Dragon Rider, he must travel to the distant realm of Ellesmere, land of the elves. Even as he ventures into the unknown, danger and betrayal plague him at every turn, in this sequel to 19-year-old Christopher Paolini's bestselling Eragon.
Narrator Gerard Doyle picks up where he left off narrating Eragon by Christopher Paolini, with its follow-up, Eldest. Again lending his assured, compelling delivery to the proceedings, Brit Doyle relates the continuing adventures of dragon-rider Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, now in Ellesmera, land of the elves. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The second volume in Paolini’s popular “Inheritance Trilogy” continues the story begun in Eragon . Eragon the dragon rider and Saphira, his dragon, are being trained in the forest city of Ellesmera while Roran, Eragon’s cousin, helps the villagers escape Carvahall and flee the siege by the Ra’zacs. There is a large cast of characters and complex story lines, and listeners must be familiar with the first novel before beginning this sequel. But the clear narration of this abridgment makes the plot easy to follow, and little is lost in the production. Though there is not much differentiation in the characters’ voices, it is always apparent who is speaking. The recording is evenly paced, the sound clean and clear, and the Spanish straightforward and smooth. Overall, this is a worthwhile addition to larger Spanish-language audio collections.
There is something remarkable about the Inheritance trilogy, aside from the intricate plot and meticulously built fantasy world. It's the age of the creator. Paolini became a New York Times bestselling author at nineteen when he wrote the first book in the series "Eragon." His home schooling has served him well and his parents deserve a big thumbs-up. In this second installment of the series, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, travel to the elven city Ellesmera where both must train in the ways of the dragon riders, a group on the brink of extinction. A reign of evil threatens to dominant the region and life as it has existed. Politics and romance lay at the forefront of events, as Eragon comes to grips with his future and the heavy burdens he must bear. Eragon goes through a major transition on his way to maturity, a necessity to survive an overwhelming foe in the finale's epic battle. The story is richly detailed in parts, logically laying down elements of magic and folklore. This weaving of old world history and modern fantasy works well, allowing us to see Paolini's personal grasp of literary elements and how nature works. This is a series worth reading but it is important to begin with the first book in the series. The linear plot unfolds one section at a time, like the layers of an onion, leaving the reader wanting to know more. 2005, Random House Children's Books, Ages 12 up.
Readers who have been waiting two years for the release of Paolini's second installment in the Inheritance Trilogy will not be disappointed. The story picks up where Eragon left off, at the end of the battle at Farthen Dur. Eragon is now called Shadeslayer, and he has faced a mighty challenge that has changed him forever. After the leadership of the Varden changes hands, Eragon travels on to Ellesmera with Saphira to continue his training as a rider. Among the elves, he learns more about his power and about himself. In the meantime, Carvahall has been attacked. The villagers put up a brave defense, but ultimately they cannot hold out, and Katrina, Roran's betrothed, is kidnapped by the Ra'zac. Roran knows that Carvahall will fall and he asks the villagers to follow him to Surda, where he hopes to discover the whereabouts of the Ra'zac and Katrina. In parallel story lines and groups of alternating chapters, Roran and Eragon move closer to each other, finally meeting as another dragon and rider drop from the sky. As volume two ends, Eragon and Roran join forces to defeat the Empire and avenge the deaths of their loved ones. 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. (Book Two of Inheritance Trilogy). KLIATT Codes: JS*Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, Knopf, 684p. illus., Ages 12 to 18.
KLIATT - Michele Winship
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2005: The story picks up where Eragon left off, at the end of the battle at Farthen Dur. Eragon is now called Shadeslayer, and he has faced a mighty challenge that has changed him forever. After the leadership of the Varden changes hands, Eragon travels on to Ellesmera with Saphira to continue his training as a rider. Among the elves, he learns more about his power and about himself. In the meantime, Carvahall has been attacked. The villagers put up a brave defense, but ultimately they cannot hold out, and Katrina, Roran's betrothed, is kidnapped by the Ra'zac. Roran knows that Carvahall will fall and he asks the villagers to follow him to Surda, where he hopes to discover the whereabouts of the Ra'zac and Katrina. In parallel story lines and groups of alternating chapters, Roran and Eragon move closer to each other, finally meeting as another dragon and rider drop from the sky. As volume two ends, Eragon and Roran join forces to defeat the Empire and avenge the deaths of their loved ones. Paolini's lush writing and close attention to detail make this epic flow effortlessly.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have survived the battle at Tronjheim, but their challenges are not over. Galbatorix, the corrupt emperor, still rules Alagaesia and is looking for them. The magically bonded pair must help the rebellious Varden regroup after their leader is slain. Eragon helps deal with the resulting diplomatic complexities and then leaves for Du Weldenvarden, the home of the Elves, in order to finish his training as a Dragon Rider. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must unite the small town of Carvahall as it is battered by Galbatorix's forces, including the nasty Ra'zac. The story alternates between Eragon and Saphira and their political maneuvering and Roran and his more traditional adventure over land and sea. Paolini provides a worthy companion to Eragon (Knopf, 2003), though it does not stand alone (a summary of the first book will be included in the final edition). The plot-indeed, most of the fantasy conventions-is heavily inspired by Tolkien, McCaffrey, and especially George Lucas. The momentum of the narrative is steady and consistent: a problem presents itself and is neatly (and conveniently) solved before the next one arises, making it appealing to some adventure-quest fantasy fans and runescape.com players. Eragon's journey to maturity is well handled. He wrestles earnestly with definitions for good and evil, and he thoughtfully examines the question of good at what price.While there's nothing particularly original here, the book will find its fan-base.-Sarah Couri, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
The Council of Elders
Saphira's breathing quickened, and she opened her eyes, yawning expansively. Good morning, little one.
Is it? He looked down and leaned on his hands, compressing the mattress. It's terrible . . . Murtagh and Ajihad . . . Why didn't sentries in the tunnels warn us of the Urgals? They shouldn't have been able to trail Ajihad's group without being noticed. . . . Arya was right, it doesn't make sense.
We may never know the truth, said Saphira gently. She stood, wings brushing the ceiling. You need to eat, then we must discover what the Varden are planning. We can't waste time; a new leader could be chosen within hours.
Eragon agreed, thinking of how they had left everyone yesterday: Orik rushing off to give King Hrothgar the tidings, Jörmundur taking Ajihad's body to a place where it would rest until the funeral, and Arya, who stood alone and watched the goings-on.
Eragon rose and strapped on Zar'roc and his bow, then bent and lifted Snowfire's saddle. A line of pain sheared through his torso, driving him to the floor, where he writhed, scrabbling at his back. It felt like he was being sawed in half. Saphira growled as the ripping sensation reached her. She tried to soothe him with her own mind but was unable to alleviate his suffering. Her tail instinctually lifted, as if to fight.
It took minutes before the fit subsided and the last throb faded away, leaving Eragon gasping. Sweat drenched his face, making his hair stick and his eyes sting. He reached back and gingerly fingered the top of his scar. It was hot and inflamed and sensitive to touch. Saphira lowered her nose and touched him on the arm. Oh, little one. . . .
It was worse this time, he said, staggering upright. She let him lean against her as he wiped away the sweat with a rag, then he tentatively stepped for the door.
Are you strong enough to go?
We have to. We're obliged as dragon and Rider to make a public choice regarding the next head of the Varden, and perhaps even influence the selection. I won't ignore the strength of our position; we now wield great authority written the Varden. At least the Twins aren't here to grab the position for themselves. That's the only good in the situation.
Very well, but Durza should suffer a thousand years of torture for what he did to you.
He grunted. Just stay close to me.
Together they made their way through Tronjheim, toward the nearest kitchen. In the corridors and hallways, people stopped and bowed to them, murmuring, "Argetlam," or "Shadeslayer." Even dwarves made the motions, though not as often. Eragon was struck by the somber, haunted expressions of the humans and the dark clothing they wore to display their sadness. Many women dressed entirely in black, lace veils covering their faces.
In the kitchen, Eragon brought a stone platter of food to a low table. Saphira watched him carefully in case he should have another attack. Several people tried to approach him, but she lifted a lip and growled sending them scurrying away. Eragon pretended to ignore the disturbances and picked at the food. Finally, trying to divert his thoughts from Murtagh, he asked, Who do you think has the means to take control of the Varden, now that Ajihad and the Twins are gone?
She hesitated. It's possible you could, if Ajihad's last words were interpreted as a blessing to secure the leadership. Almost no one would oppose you. However, that does not seem a wise path to take. I see only trouble in that direction.
I agree. Besides, Arya wouldn't approve, and she could be a dangerous enemy. Elves can't lie in the ancient language, but they have no such inhibition in ours-she could deny that Ajihad ever uttered those words if it served her purposes. No, I don't want the position. . . . What about Jörmundur?
Ajihad called him his right-hand man. Unfortunately, we know little about him or the Varden's other leaders. Such a short time has passed since we came here. We will have to make our judgment on our feelings and impressions, without the benefit of history.
Eragon pushed his fish around a lump of mashed tubers. Don't forget Hrothgar and the dwarf clans; they won't be quiet in this. Except for Arya, the elves have no say in the succession-a decision will be made before word of this even reaches them. But the dwarves can't be-won't be-ignored. Hrothgar favors the Varden, but if enough clans oppose him, he might be maneuvered into backing someone unsuited for the command.
And who might that be?
A person easily manipulated. He closed his eyes and leaned back. It could be anyone in Farthen Dûr, anyone at all.