Eldest - Inheritance Book Two

by Christopher Paolini

Hardcover, 2007

Call number



Alfred A. Knopf (2007), Edition: 1st Thus.


After successfully evading an Urgals ambush, Eragon is adopted into the Ingeitum clan and sent to finish his training so he can further help the Varden in their struggle against the Empire.

Media reviews

Nothing wrong with a good thick serving of swords 'n' sorcery, but it needs a hero. In the hands of a writer like George R.R. Martin, Lois McMaster Bujold, Barbara Hambly, or J. K. Rowling, the central characters of fantasy are persons worth knowing: smart, flawed, moral, doomed to love the world
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more than the world loves back. It's fun that they're kings and queens and wizards, but we read the books because Miles Vorkosigan or Harry Potter are in them, the kind of people we'd like to know and be. Unfortunately, Eragon just doesn't measure up to the standard; he's a Frankenstein video-game hero, clanking with magic armor, charms, and weapons, but long on seams and short that essential spark of life.
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2 more
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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member KayDekker
If anyone here hasn't read Diana Wynne Jone's "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland", may I suggest it as a rippingly funny antidote to Paolinism?

Paolini's stuff is just so much mulch. The only fun I've had from it is playing "spot the reference" - and that wore thin after the first hundred pages of the
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first book. Reading the second and third books felt like gawking at a nasty traffic accident.

If, instead of homeschooling by indulgent parents, Paolini had had someone like my best English teacher, who would have pointed out in short order that what he was writing was jejune, derivative and unworthy hackwork, and that unless he intended to become the Barbara Cartland of fantasy writing, he'd better find some dignity, discipline and originality - well, he might perhaps have made a writer of himself.
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LibraryThing member stormtrooperprincess
Ugh. This book gave me a headache. More than one, actually, because I had to read it in short installments and each time had to put it down because it made my head hurt.

If anyone remembers Angela's reading of the runes, you already know the plot to this book. Eragon discovers that his love is of
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noble birth (and royally screws up that obsession!), and that (as if no one could see it coming) the family member who betrays him isn't who he thought it would be. Plus, he spends half the novel completing rather predictable training.

His cousin, Roran, is actually a better developed character than Eragon, and I thought the portions of the book concerning him were far more interesting. The obsession with Ayra got old, and Jeod's sudden ability to know everything that's happened to Eragon (even after he admits he hasn't had any news of the Varden since Eragon & Brom left in the first book) is just plain bad writing. Also, the dragon's gift just seemed like a hasty "I have to fix things, but don't have enough space before the novel ends" solution.

Definitely a cross between the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the original Star Wars trilogy, and not very well done.
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LibraryThing member SamuelW
Christopher Paolini’s bestselling Inheritance Cycle seems to be running away from him like a snowball down a mountainside. It started as a trilogy, but has now been extended to a quartet. With the release of Brisingr this month, Paolini’s books continue to become thicker and thicker as his
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story progresses. Eldest is the second book in that story, and is not only the size of a brick, but the colour of one, too. Perhaps Paolini’s editor was a little less brutal with her pen this time around, because Eldest just doesn’t seem to read as easily as its prequel. The description is thicker with padding, the gaps between plot developments are wider, and there are more pages filled with very little happening. By slowing his pace, Paolini has lost one of his most essential advantages over his peers, and taken a dangerous step towards a world of adult fantasy, where he is more easily bested by the likes of Robert Jordan and Brian Ruckley. Unfortunately, younger fans who enjoyed Eragon may now find their interest barred by Eldest’s meandering pace.

Eldest, however, does have one key edge over its predecessor – it is inspiring. The environment of Alagaësia may continue to grow richer, but this time, the focus is on the characters more than ever before, and the heart of the story is fuelled with raw emotion. It is a story about the people we can rise to become when faced with adversity – and Paolini fleshes out the personal struggles of Eragon and Roran with captivating force.

What’s more, (critics be damned,) there’s no denying that Paolini does have a way with words. Occasional slips in the realism of the prose are well outweighed by the expressive descriptive language, which is quite breathtaking in places. The battle scenes read with the same tension and excitement as their counterparts in Eragon did – if not more. The gems of Paolini’s skill are polished brighter than before; it’s just that readers will have to hew through more dull rock to behold them.

If you enjoyed Eragon, then Eldest is well worth a try. Some readers will find the differences to their liking; others will not. A snowball it may be – but it’s a good read all the same.
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LibraryThing member mabrown2
Snore. I was bored from beginning to end with the second installation of the Inheritance series. Eragon spends most of this novel continuing his training with the elves and pining away after Arya who is not at all interested in him. The prose is repetitive and dull and Eragon becomes more annoying
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as the story moves forward. He doesn’t seem to learn anything or just when you think he’s wised up a bit he goes and makes the same mistake over and over again. Even the big "revelations" that take place throughout the book aren't surprises at all as they were foreshadowed repeatedly throughout the first book. So even they couldn’t provide any kind of highlight.

I hate to be so negative when it comes to a book. Usually I can find something I like but I’m afraid this is an exception. I rather enjoyed “Eragon” (the first in the series) and was able to overlook some of the story's weaknesses because of Paolini's age and inexperience. But I really expected there to be some growth in book two and it just wasn't there.

I was surprised and disappointed to learn that the once three-part series was being extended to four. I would have checked out the third book to see if there were any improvements if I knew it was the last in the series. But knowing it's going to be dragged out even further makes me uninterested in continuing.
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LibraryThing member EmperorD
Even more boring than the first book in the series.
LibraryThing member staterocks166
Eldest is the second book in the Inheritance Cycle (originally trilogy until Christopher Paolini announced that there would be four books released). If there is one word that cannot describe it in any shape or form, it's original.

This book ends where the first left off. With Eragon looking over
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where the battle had just taken place a few days ago. He plans to head to the Elves to meet the mysterious "Cripple who is Whole," who says that he will train Eragon.

Eragon heads over to the forest with Arya, his Elf friend (although Eragon has a little more than friendship on his mind), Saphira, his dragon, and Orik, his Dwarf friend.

Eragon is trained after detail after detail. It seems like during this time, Eragon might learn some answers, but no, this whole 300 pages is about how he is trained. Meanwhile, his cousin decides to take a whole town across the sea.

Then everyone goes into a useless war for no reason except to give a "Star Wars" surprise.

The book is unoriginal and just plain boring. If you wish to know what happens, you can pretty much just go to the movie store and rent Star Wars: Episode V, because this book is just a knock-off of it.
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LibraryThing member bfet
Most movie sequels of Hollywood hits do not live up to their predecessors. Unfortunately, some books can be disappointing, too. Although there was much more anticipated excitement for the sequel to teenager Christopher Paolini’s novel Eragon, the feedback was not nearly as good as the first.
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Eldest lacked Eragon’s vigor and excitement that had left readers hanging on the ends of their seats with their eyes glued to the page in suspense.
Unfortunately, at many times I had trouble even picking the book up because of the low points that I had hit in this story of fantasy. Eldest failed to lure me into the story, instead hitting many dull points such as when Eragon was training with the elves. The immaturity in Paolini’s writing was more exposed in this novel because it did not have the ongoing, rushing excitement that the first book had to cover it up. Paolini struggled evolve his characterization. For instance, although he tried to develop Eragon’s feelings of love towards the elf Arya, the attempt failed. However, this book was not a total loss, for, as it trudged on, the story became much more intriquing. Anticipation finally built up to a huge battle, similar to the way Eragon had ended. These war scenes are the strong point in Paolini’s writing. His imagination in fantasy somewhat made up for his immaturity in other fields of this book. There was also a shocking truth revealed about the character, Murtagh, at the end of the book, which set the stage for what may be a more promising third book.
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LibraryThing member geertwissink
Great part 2 of the saga from Christopher Paolini. He weaves a catching story which unfolds in unexpectant ways.
LibraryThing member lorelorn_2007
This book fails to please all but the most determined reader. Unlike the first book, here the story meanders and stagnates.

Very little happens to drive the story forward, leaving the reader frustrated. While the scope of the story widens, the amount of story being told does not, leading to an
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effect like that of too little butter scraped over too much bread.
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LibraryThing member Joycepa
2nd in the Inheritance trilogy.

We continue to follow the adventures of Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, who, after a major battle in book I, now travel to the land of the Elves so that Eragon can be trained properly in the skills of a Dragon Rider. Meanwhile, back at Carvahall, his cousin Roran
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leads the villagers in a battle to save the town; although successful, they decide to leave, knowing that the evil King Galbatorix can send far more troops and destroy the village and everyone in it. Led by Roran, they undertake an epic journey to the south so that they may find the rebel kingdom and so be safe.

Naturally, the book’s climax is a battle.

I can overlook a lot, particularly in a genre of which I’m not especially fond because I don’t hold it up to the same high standards, but this book is really unimaginative and even dull except to those who exist simply to read fantasy battle scenes. It isn’t totally bad—the journey of the villagers of Carvahall is good—but so much of the section in Ellesméra, the land of the elves, is truly boring.

Paolini does battle scenes adequately, but again, nothing outstanding.

This isn’t a book I can recommend, and I will not waste my money buying the third one, since I honestly do not care what happens to any of the characters.
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LibraryThing member bookworm148
Christopher Paolini only gets a three-star rating because I love the world he has built. The actual writing of this book is mediocre at best, which may be due to the age he was when he first wrote the books. Regardless, The ending of this book felt way to rushed. Instead of having a cohesive path
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towards the ending, I felt as though the information learned in the last battle of the book was just thrown in there because Paolini wanted to shock the readers, but wasn't sure how to properly go about it. Therefore, there was little to no buildup for the big reveal and it lost a lot of the emotional value that it could have. In the few instances that Paolini tries to foreshadow something, he over explains/hints and then it becomes way too obvious. He hasn't found a happy medium in his writing style yet, and it shows.
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LibraryThing member Jenson_AKA_DL
Although it has been a couple years since reading Eragon and I may have forgotten many of the particulars I can say that I felt this book was a lot more drawn out. Despite that I did still enjoy the story and felt that it flowed relatively well, if not very quickly. One of my quibbles is that I
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would become interested in a particular part only to have a shift in the POV which I resented, then grew used to only to have it happen again. I never really did get entirely comfortable with the shifts although I found all three perspectives interesting enough once I got into them. I generally enjoyed the characters although Eragon frequently struck me as almost too good to be true. I both liked him for being able to accept his faults and learn from them as well as disliking him for ultimately being perfect at just about everything he did. If only we could all be so lucky as to be able to learn, do and accomplish anything as simply as he did. Maybe I'm just jealous LOL.

This is certainly a middle book without a concrete beginning in that it takes place immediately at the end of the events of the first book, and without an end as were we leave off plans are being made for another adventure. Not a cliffhanger, but not any sort of an actual ending either. Generally this was well done despite not holding any surprises (okay, who couldn't see the story twist at the end coming 100 miles away!) and I'm rather curious enough to say I will probably read the next book of the series at some point in the future.

A good series so far if you like quest fantasies with lots of strange names for characters and objects along with detailed, if kind of slow, plotting. And dragons, this is certainly a good series for those who like dragons.
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LibraryThing member dagwood
Christopher did a great job of answering questions from original book while adding fresh info to keep me glued to the pages. Can't wait for book 3!
LibraryThing member Nharry
Christopher Paolini’s second novel in the Inheritance trilogy, The Eldest, brought together his writing talent and youthful imagination in the form of an amazing tale. Paolini began writing the Inheritance trilogy at age sixteen shortly after completing high school at age fifteen. Therefore, many
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authors lack the imagination and edge that Christopher Paolini has been able to provide for his reader. However, despite the vivid and grabbing plot Paolini creates for The Eldest, it often mirrors The Lord of the Rings trilogy making unoriginal parallels. Finally, this specific installment of the trilogy was somewhat less eventful.

The rich vocabulary and imaginative plot twists may not be entirely original, yet captures me in a world that is more vivid and intriguing than The Lord of the Rings. The age difference between J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Paolini probably is the reason why I found myself more involved with The Eldest. As I read The Eldest I saw a vivid world with clear decisive sides and simple themes. Even though the motifs included were simply good versus evil and acceptance among the different, I welcomed the change from schools complex books. These simple motifs were introduced into the trilogy were so the book could be available to all ages. This differs from the previous novel in the trilogy were the story was indefinitely for young adults.

While the book is available for all ages, I wish it was written for only young adults, rather than young children as well. The somewhat less violent installment in the trilogy differs from the first installment. On another level, I saw too many connections between The Lord of the Rings and The Eldest. This took originality away from the equation to the extent were some races were letters away from being identical. Lastly, compared to the previous installment of the Inheritance trilogy, I found that this book was much slower paced than the previous one. Long drawn out delays in-between battles were not suspenseful or incredibly significant to the plot. Christopher Paolini could be drawing an important basis for the final novel with these lulls, yet I could not appreciate them otherwise.

Together, the strengths outweighed the weaknesses of The Eldest and Paolini’s writing talent was proven once again. The way The Eldest was written was strikingly similar to The Lord of the Rings yet enough differences remained because of the two author’s ages. While more for younger readers and slightly slower paced, both were compensated by the books clear cut motifs and vivid settings. I look forward to a much faster paced novel in the final book of the trilogy and wait for a climatic ending that ties many loose ends.
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LibraryThing member publiusdb
Nobody should have to endure writing this bad. It's like someone watched Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Willow, ate some nachos, and then went to sleep and had a bad dream...and this is what came out. I can't believe I wasted so much time on this.
LibraryThing member LinkBDD123
This is a good book, and just like Eragon, has 6-8 curse words, and gory parts, but still is very good book.(not a Christian author!)
LibraryThing member moggyandme
Just finished this - enjoyed it as much as the first book in the series - am waiting for the 3rd installment now
LibraryThing member hoosgracie
In this outing, Eragon the dragon rider and Saphira the dragon continue their journey and education with the Elves. A decent sequel to Eragon, but the book could have used a stronger hand at editing.
LibraryThing member Estemy
I just love this book and now, having read it for so many times I get a chance to write a review.
The best scene is definately the night among the elves where Eragon magically recovers from Durzas wound having had to suffer for so long.
The plot is amazing. Although, sometimes reader is forced to
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look away from main plot and focus on Roran's adventures, the book is worth to read.
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LibraryThing member MissLizzy
Please see the review of ERAGON, the first in Paolini's amazing series.
LibraryThing member bookstorebill
Chris's writing is getting a bit better. I enjoyed learning more about the dwarfs and about the elfs. I will read this book many times over the years.
LibraryThing member neverwondernights
It was better in some ways than Eragon, yet it still did not reach expectations (I have heard many a great things about this series yet I still fail to understand why). What made this book better than Eragon was that Paolini was older when he wrote this. It had less grammar mistakes (despite what
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some say, grammar is in fact important when writing). However there was still deus ex machinae and a lot of cliche.
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LibraryThing member bigsis4jc
Another great book for fantasy lovers! I'm not a book freak and I couldn't put it down!
LibraryThing member roxanacaivano
This book kept me engaged, but it was probably a little longer than it should have been. I would have like to see Roran's story developed more at the end, it just seemed to stop. Must read #3 in order to get the answers.
LibraryThing member hlselz
Good fantasy book about a boy and his dragon that are destined for great things. The sequal, is good also. Quick, enjoyable reads.


Soaring Eagle Book Award (Nominee — 2007)
Audie Award (Finalist — 2006)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Teen — 2007)
Indies Choice Book Award (Honor Book — Children's Literature — 2006)
Quill Award (Winner — 2006)
Colorado Blue Spruce Award (Winner — 2007)
Golden Archer Award (Nominee — 2007)
WAYRBA: Western Australia Young Readers Book Award (Winner — Older Readers — 2006)
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