by Christopher Paolini

Published 2005

This is the second book in Paolini’s Inheritance series (the first is Eragon) and continues the story of Eragon and Saphria.  Eldest was a little lighter on the action than the first book.  Throughout, Eragon and Saphria spend most of their time hanging out with the elves, receiving more training and education from them.  Still, as with Eragon, the author does a good job of creating a story that fits as its own story, yet serves as a link between stories as well.  Most of the action in Eldest takes place away from Eragon, with Eragon’s cousin (Roran) and with the Varden (the group of rebels seeking to overthrow the evil king) as they prepare for war.  Paolini’s pacing was good, spending a few chapters with each character before switching.  I appreciated the fact that he didn’t leave a character on a complete and total cliffhanger before switching to the next; sometimes the cliffhangers can be really distracting because I’m not able to enjoy the next section of the book.  He did a good job keeping me interested in everyone.

Overall (I’m halfway through the third book now), these books have been enjoyable.  However, I don’t see them becoming classics for me personally, because they are completely devoid of any humor.  They are serious and intense stories, epic, but not a single smile to leaven the tale.  That’s a deal-breaker for me, because I feel that a sense of humor can help you put life into perspective, and I have trouble relating to characters who never laugh.

Still, they are good stories and definitely worth the read. I’m intrigued to see how everything comes together.  For Eldest, 3/5.