Summary and book reviews of Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Eldest

Inheritance, Book II

By Christopher Paolini

Eldest
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  • Hardcover: Aug 2005,
    704 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2007,
    704 pages.

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Book Summary

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. . . .

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 ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
History and Beliefs
  1. Compare the different historic traditions of Alagaësia as they are explained in Eldest. Why do the dwarves, the elves, and the humans all have such different mythologies? What do their stories tell us about each of their races?

  2. What does Saphira tell Eragon about the dragons’ beliefs in Eldest? Compare what the dragons believe with what the dwarves and elves do.

  3. After reading Eldest, explain the origins of the animosity among the races of dragons, elves, dwarves, and humans. What are the effects of those ancient wars on the present day situation in Alagaësia?

  4. Why are the elves vegetarians? Why does Eragon become a vegetarian after living with them and studying with Oromis in Eldest?

  5. ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

Paolini appears to be firmly of the belief that one should never use one adjective when five will do. The reviewer for The Boston Globe sums up his writing style with the immortal words: "He is to English as a dog to a chainsaw: he worries it, and worries it, and devastation spreads around him." Having said that, nothing that I or other reviewers say can take away from the fact that a multitude of children absolutely adore these books.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Readers who persevere are rewarded with walloping revelations in the final pages....The story leaves off with a promise...To Be Continued.

The Boston Globe - Sarah Smith

The high points of Eldest are a little higher than Eragon; the low points, unfortunately, are just as low. Paolini still writes drama that rises to a wet pop: a group of farmers attack evil soldiers, soldiers run away, the farmers kill only one of the soldiers and aren't very happy about it. The details of his world still don't hold together: in a city full of magic, a character is given a wooden alarm clock that he has to wind regularly.

San Francisco Chronicle - Michael Berry

It's clear that Paolini has drive and talent, and Eldest is, for the most part, competently constructed and written. The problem, however, is that anyone committed to reading a 2,000-page epic deserves more than competence and tropes that have been used countless times before.

Barnes & Noble

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 a la Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Amazon

Surpassing its popular prequel Eragon, this second volume in the Inheritance trilogy shows growing maturity and skill on the part of its very young author, who was only seventeen when the first volume was published in 2003.

Reader Reviews
Tim

Eldest!!!
I love this book. I would definitely recomend this to people who like action, adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy. This book is one of the best books I've ever read. YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK!! ;)

cjgsdkjgahgjkh (not real name)

AMAZING!
This was AMAZING. By the way,the author was 15 when he wrote Eragon.

kman

awsome
It's a great book and isn't the person who wrote it like 12? I heard rumors about that. And it's good I mean seriously 30 year old writers can't even write as well as that.

Cal

Eldest
I received this book as a Christmas present, and to tell the truth the sheer size of it was what put me off reading it. But I did end up reading it, and up until this day it would be in my top-ten books I've ever read. I definitely recommend this ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Paolini says that the top three authors who influenced him were Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin and Raymond Feist (with Feist's novel Magician making a particularly strong impact on him). Read more about Paolini at BookBrowse.

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