I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of Christopher Paolini‘s Inheritance Cycle series “Eragon“, so I decided I should continue the series with the second installment called “Eldest“. To begin, the book is very long. I’m not sure why so many authors feel they need to make book two so long compared to their first book in a series, but I’ve noticed that this is a common trend. I’m not a big details reader, so I don’t typically appreciate the many descriptions of the trees and such, but I was able to get past all the extra descriptions Paolini threw into this second book. My only technical recommendation or critique I would make is what appears to be the overuse of the Thesaurus to write the book. I am certainly a fan of using a complex word over a simple word, but it must be done in the correct way. I felt that Paolini was simply trying to make his book sound smarter than it is. It isn’t an issue so much when used in the dialogue as that is one way to build a character, but during narratives, it felt forced. I didn’t notice this in his first book, which led me to believe Paolini wanted his second book to sound smarter, which I fear was not the end result.
The book picks up where “Eragon” left off, following now both Eragon and his cousin Roran. I found following Eragon for a few chapters then Roran for a few chapters then back broke up the monotony of the book. I found I looked forward to getting to the chapters about Roran’s plight more than Eragons at times. It was a great technique to keep the reader engaged.
Both “Eragon” and “Eldest” pull from traditional lore of Elves, Humans, Dragons, and other fantasy creatures so in some respects the second book began feeling a bit recycled. There is an obvious “Lord of the Rings” feeling from Paolini’s writing, though it feels he hasn’t committed himself to the creation of an entire world, culture, and language quite like Tolkien did. This doesn’t detract from the story but could have made it feel more authentic. The overall story, however, was still quite enjoyable.
Nearing the end of the story is when the book gets exciting, though still a little predictable. We finally see Eragon and Roran come together near the end, though again, if you haven’t figured out eons before that this was where Paolini was going then you probably weren’t reading very closely, but just the same, it was enjoyable to see it happen.
The end of the book saved the entire story for me and I will continue reading the Inheritance Cycle series. There are four books in this series and I’m concerned the story line will get stagnant in the next two books, but I’m currently excited to see how Paolini will end this adventure. I highly recommend this book to those who really enjoyed “The Lord of the Rings” and other traditional fantasy books as it is a wonderful story even with the critiques I had.