October 08, 2011

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Eldest is the second book in the Eragon trilogy. As such, the first book should be read first as it cannot be read as a stand alone type novel. It borders on mediocre with several problems in the writing, but in all, was at least an easy enjoyable read. When last we left Eragon (Spoilers ahead!), he had discovered a dragon egg, became a dragon rider, and gallivanted through the land with Saphira (the dragon) trying to find his Uncle's killers and then joining up with the rebel Varden group who seeks to destroy the King (a really bad dude). The ending leaves off after the end of a huge battle in which Eragon slays a shade (mystical bad guy).

Now, he travels to the Elves' homeland to complete his training. Once there he is surprised to find another surviving dragon and rider. They are to be he and Saphira's teachers despite their maimed bodies and help them discover new uses of magic and flying techniques. They have to be ready in time for another battle for the Varden against King Galbatorix's army and a few new enemies they were unaware of. Meanwhile, Roran (Eragon's cousin) returns to their village to find who slayed his father and where Eragon has disappeared. But when he arrives, more of the evil King's troop comes for him and threatens the village when they won't give him up. They are forced to move over the mountains and seek refuge in Surda where they can help and be protected by the Varden.

The characters in this book are very unbelievable. Their motivations are not natural and actions are often very awkward to read. The dialogue between them is also horrendous. Mere farmers are made out to sound like high nobles in speech and accent which proves to be very unrealistic. They also use a lot of description in speech that goes far beyond the normal in everyday conversation.

The writing too is very descriptive. This tends to bog down the story at parts and bore the reader. For example, the training for Eragon and Saphira takes up quite a bit of the book and got very tedious at times to where I started wanting to skim (but stopped myself). Quite a bit could have been cut out and it wouldn't have hurt the book at all. Aside from that, it is an easy read and although there's violence; there's not too much to make in inappropriate for younger readers.

Overall its a fun story to read although not in the least original. I can see it appealing to younger reader's because it is a reader-friendly format compared to a great portion of regular fantasy novels. I'd like to see how the story ends, so I do plan on reading Brisingr.

Copyright 2005
999 pages

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