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Eldest: An Inheritance Cycle novel – Christopher Paolini
Book Reviews
December 9, 2009 posted by Katie

Eldest: An Inheritance Cycle novel – Christopher Paolini

Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns.

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn’t sure whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall – one that puts Eragon in even graver danger…

The rebel freedom fighters, the Varden, has just won their first confrontation with Galbatorix’s army, Eragon has defeated the Shade Durza with the help of Saphira and Arya earning him a new name – Eragon Shadeslayer. Murtagh has finally gained the trust of the Varden and Hrothgar, king of the Dwarves. Yet as everything seems to be looking positive for a while, the Varden are given a final blow. Ajihad, leader of the Varden, is betrayed by two of his closest advisors, and is killed on the very day the Varden are celebrating. A day of victory becomes a day of mourning. Along with this, Murtagh is kidnapped and clouded by a spell, making it impossible for Eragon to know if he is alive or dead. With the leadership of the Varden and their magicians in doubt, Eragon finds himself being wormed deeper into politics of the rebel army. Forced by the new leader to sear fealty to them and not the Varden, Eragon is beginning to gather more oaths then he is able to bear.

The Varden decided to move. Heading to near-by Surda to start their campaign against King Galbatorix, there is limited time for Eragon to learn what he needs to know, and the place he needs to learn it, is on the opposite side of the Empire. In the ancient city of the elves, Eragon receives instruction from a surprising teacher, being schooled in the finer points of magic, the ancient language and swordsmanship, yet even under the most careful tutorage, an old injury is holding Eragon back. As Eragon struggles with his new education, people in his past being to capture the attention of the Empire.

Roran, Eragon’s cousin, is faced with the tough decision that will define the rest of his life – to stay and Carvahall and fight a lost battle, or to move the whole town and to seek help in Surda, where members of Carvahall have only heard whisper’s of the legendary Varden. It is a decision that will cost Roran in more ways than one.

Eldest is the second instalment in Christopher Paolini’s the Inheritance Cycle, and starts right where Eragon left off. In Eldest we are now following three different points of view and three separate storylines, as Paolini introduces even further complications and obstacles in the path of all characters in the plot. We have Eragon and the elves, Roran and the people of Carvahall and Nasuada and the Varden. With three distinct and different series of events, it is easy to get lost in story, and Paolini’s handle on the multiple viewpoints rarely left me struggling for understanding.

Eragon’s character continues to develop, and in Eldest we glimpse many of Eragon’s future problems and being to get a grasp on the extreme and vast differences between the three cultures. Eragon’s attempt at trying to master these three cultures sometimes gets him into a spot of bother, and it is these moments of insecurity and failure that allowed me to connect with Eragon on a personal level – they are mistakes that I would have done in his place. The relationship between Eragon and Arya develops to a new level, and while I feel I know where this will end up, it seems that there will be some twists and turns to see it arrive in that place.

We are re-introduced to Roran, and he, along with the Carvahall villager’s, plays a much larger role in this novel than in Eragon. Roran, for me, lacked as a character. He seemed to be driven by one singular thought, and lacked reason or compassion for people around him. That being said, it was these characteristics that drove his plot and story, I just found his point of view difficult and trying to read from.

Eldest is filled with a lot more darkness and evil than seen in Eragon, slowing highlighting the true horror of Galbatorix’s reign on Alegaesia. Captivating from the shock beginning to the even more shocking ending, Eldest is the must read sequel for fans of Eragon. A truly compelling page-turner that had me reading from the first page, to the last.

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Eragon – Christopher Paolini
Book Reviews
December 2, 2009 posted by Katie

Eragon – Christopher Paolini

What was once your life is now your legend.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

Eragon is a simple country boy. Born and raised in the small village of Caravahall, Eragon believes that his destiny is simple – to follow in the footsteps of his father, farming the land for a living, marrying a simple country girl and seeing no more of the Empire than as far as the next town. Yet there is something different about Eragon. He doesn’t look like his father, and he is the only villager game enough to go hunting in the mountainous forest known as the Spine. Creepy and menacing, everything in the spine belongs to the King. When Eragon sets off to go hunting one night, his whole life is about to change.

Thousands of miles away, three elves from Ellesmera are desperately trying to outrun a Shade and his Urgal companion. An almost impossible feat when that Shade is Durza, filled to the brim with demonic spirits. Arya, leader of the elves, is carrying a stone more precious than her own life. In a last attempt to not let this stone fall into the hands of Durza, and in turn the King, Arya sends the stone by magic to Caravahall. But not everything goes as planned. The stone does not go to Caravhall where it was meant to, but lands in the Spine, in the exact position where Eragon is hunting.

Bringing the stone back with him to his father’s small homestead, Eragon soon discovers that the stone, in fact, is an egg. A dragon’s egg. An egg that isn’t meant to exist. And when more of his world starts falling apart – the death of his supposed father, the town being invaded by the King’s soldiers, and the betrayal by the local butcher – Eragon works out what they are looking for. Him. With the company of Caravahall’s mysterious storyteller who knows more about dragon’s than anyone else, Eragon sets out on a mission to find the only people who can help him – the last remnants of the freedom fighters, known only to members of the Empire as the Varden.

Along the way Eragon must learn how to protect himself and his dragon if they want any chance of survival. Eragon becomes proficient with the sword, refines his archery skills and is schooled in the Ancient Language – the basis of all magic. With each step, Eragon is carving out his own destiny and creating a legend. A legend that the King will stop at nothing to destroy.

Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by author Christopher Paolini, and while at first glance has many similarities to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – the same three races, development of a language and an epic quest to defeat a dark overlord – the depth of the characters and the style interactions between the three races creates a fresh, new world that creates an epic fantasy for a younger generation. To me, I loved Eragon. It captured me from the fast-paced and intense prologue to the climatic ending that has you right in the thick of the action. Paolini’s style captivates the imagination, including just the right about of description to leave the settings and action up to the reader’s interpretation.

I love books that keep you reading, that are easy to read and aren’t a chore. Eragon defiantly fell into this category for me. Anything that I can fall into the world of the book and feel that it is reality for a short space of time, to me is a success on the part of the author.

Fast-paced and action-packed, Eragon does not disappoint.

Rating:: ★★★★☆