eldestI recently finished reading Eldest, the second of three books in the Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini. The novel begins right after the battle of Farthurn-Dur, after Eragon and his dragon Saphira have defeated the Shade Duzra. Eldest follows Eragon and Saphira as they travel across Alagaesia to the Elvin kingdom in Ellesmera where the two continue their training as Dragon and Rider in their quest to defeat the evil King Galbatorix. This book also devotes a fair amount of time to Eragon’s cousin Roran as he attempts to evade Galbatorix’s forces and protect his village and his fiancee.

On the whole, I enjoyed this book. I was quite captivated by the story, and have grown fond of many of the characters from the first book, particularly of Eragon’s dwarf friend, Orik. There were some really great surprises and plot twists that made me gasp, and I was particularly intrigue as Eragon learned more about magic, the bond between he and Saphira and by the political undercurrents Eragon was forced to navigate. I especially enjoyed hearing Roran’s story and seeing his transformation from someone at the bottom of the social ladder, to the respected and feared leader of his village.

While I enjoyed the story as a whole, I felt there were some plot lines that were dropped or resolved too quickly to be believable. For example, early in the novel a death occurs suddenly. Not much is made of the death apart from the initial passage and a short mention while Eragon is in Ellesmera until nearly 800 pages later, where it is a big deal indeed. There are also several hundred pages devoted to different political machinations, which are dropped with Eragon’s arrival to Ellesmera. This bothered me quite a bit as there was much ado about the Council of Elder’s attempt to set up a puppet government within the Varden. Maybe it was dismissed during Eragon’s time with the elves, maybe it was put aside in favor of focusing the Varden’s efforts on defeating Galbatorix, but we never find out.

I hope that most of these loose ends are due to the fact that this is the second in a trilogy, and Paolini was setting events up for things to come in Brisingr. I hope so; as I fully intend on reading that novel as well. I do want to see how Eragon and Saphira defeat Galbatorix (because I’m sure they will) and if Roran is able to rescue his fiancée from Galbatorix’s evil henchmen. Have you read any of the books in this triology? What do you think?

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Check out my review of the next book in the Inheritance Series, Brisingr!

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