Book Review: Eldest

Eldest Book CoverThis is my first ever book review on my blog, and I hope to review all the books I read from now on. Luckily, I’m a slow reader, so there won’t be too many reviews.

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.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Eldest

  1. I just noticed you did a review of another of my favourite series! (Silly me :D)

    So…I really enjoyed this series, though, Roran was my least favourite character. At times, I wanted to reach in the book and strangle him because I felt he was taking up too much of Eragon’s time to actually tell me something interesting. Though, I rather think Paolini kept “reminding” us of him to keep the “human”/mortal/down-to-earth factor running through to juxtapose against Eragon, himself.

    As for the commitment to the world of Alagaësia, I would agree with you on that Tolkien did definitely spend more time absorbing the reader. There’s somewhat of an increased commitment in the third book (no spoilers, I promise) but I do understand that it does feel a little “recycled” (or possibly, because we’ve read too many fantasy books to know any different?)

    Do tell me what you think as you finish off the series! Happy reading 🙂

    • I appreciate the input on the 3rd of the Inheritance cycle. I’m just waiting for it to come available via eBook from my public library so I can start it. That’s actually why I started reading The Hunger Games cuz I had no books available from the library anymore. I like to keep about 10 on my waiting list so I don’t have any downtime. I’ve been perusing your blog and I really like the idea you have of a “My Poems” and “My Short Stories” section. I’m working on re-organizing and re-branding (theme) my blog and I have a bunch of (probably crappy) stories stuck in my head or loosely drafted that I think I might post on my blog at some point.

      • Shame about your library, in my view, they really being neglected by the competition from the spoilt-for-choice ebook market. Thanks for the feedback on my blog 🙂 I still have to put some things up that I would like to share (being to lazy to do it, actually) – but they’ll be there soon! I’d also love to hear your stories that you’ve got floating around in your head (they won’t be crappy, that much I know for sure) – as for re-organizing and re-branding of your blog, have fun! If I find a theme that I happen to come across, and think it’ll possibly suit you, I’ll let you know (hopefully, it won’t be too bad of a choice!)

      • Yeah, until all the publishing companies can agree on a eBook format and then agree on how libraries will play into that it’s still going to be a bit of a crapshoot in terms of availability of good titles at lots of libraries. It’s understandable, if it’s too easy to check out and read a book for free, they’ll never make any money. Though with the idea of self-publishing, perhaps major publishing firms should start going away or shrinking. It’s no longer that cost prohibitive to simply publish an electronic copy of a book/story. It’s the marketing and distribution that might be tough for a self published writer. Let me know of any themes you find. I’ve got a list of about 10 options, most have the ability to have a top level navigation and I’m looking to go with a simple white style for the most part. Black has served it’s purpose for 4 or 5 years but it’s time to change. 😉

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