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Eldest (Inheritance, Book 2) Hardcover – August 23, 2005

2,049 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Inheritance cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Surpassing its popular prequel Eragon, this second volume in the Inheritance trilogy shows growing maturity and skill on the part of its very young author, who was only seventeen when the first volume was published in 2003. The story is solidly in the tradition (some might say derivative) of the classic heroic quest fantasy, with the predictable cast of dwarves, elves, and dragons--but also including some imaginatively creepy creatures of evil.

The land of Alagaesia is suffering under the Empire of the wicked Galbatorix, and Eragon and his dragon Saphira, last of the Riders, are the only hope. But Eragon is young and has much to learn, and so he is sent off to the elven forest city of Ellesmera, where he and Saphira are tutored in magic, battle skills, and the ancient language by the wise former Rider Oromis and his elderly dragon Glaedr. Meanwhile, back at Carvahall, Eragon's home, his cousin Roran is the target of a siege by the hideous Ra'zac, and he must lead the villagers on a desperate escape over the mountains. The two narratives move toward a massive battle with the forces of Galbatorix, where Eragon learns a shocking secret about his parentage and commits himself to saving his people.

The sheer size of the novel, as well as its many characters, places with difficult names, and its use of imaginary languages make this a challenging read, even for experienced fantasy readers. It is essential to have the plot threads of the first volume well in mind before beginning--the publisher has provided not only a map, but a helpful synopsis of the first book and a much-needed Language Guide. But no obstacles will deter the many fans of Eragon from diving headfirst into this highly-awaited fantasy. (Ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell

Meet Author Christopher Paolini
Christopher Paolini’s abiding love of fantasy and science fiction inspired him to begin writing his debut novel, Eragon, when he graduated from high school at age 15.

"Writing is the heart and soul of my being. It is the means through which I bring my stories to life. There is nothing like putting words on a page and knowing that they will summon certain emotions and reactions from the reader. In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf." --Christopher Paolini

The Eragon/Eldest Boxed Set

Want to learn more about the series? Check out our review of Eragon: Here's a great big fantasy that you can pull over your head like a comfy old sweater and disappear into for a whole weekend. Christopher Paolini began Eragon when he was just 15, and the book shows the influence of Tolkien, of course, but also Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, and perhaps even Wagner in its traditional quest structure and the generally agreed-upon nature of dwarves, elves, dragons, and heroic warfare with magic swords. Read more

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Learn the Lingo
Our quickie pronunciation guide will help you get to know some of the names and places in the Inheritance series.

AjihadAH-zhi-hod The Leader of the Varden

ArgetlamARE-jet-lahm Elven word to describe Dragon Riders meaning "silver hand"
AryaAR-ee-uh A powerful elf who is both beautiful and a master swordswoman
EragonEHR-uh-gahn A Dragon Rider from Carvahall
Ra-zacRAA-zack Evil creatures
Saphirasuh-FEAR-uh Eragon’s dragon
*Art copyright © 2004 John Jude Palencar

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have survived the battle at Tronjheim, but their challenges are not over. Galbatorix, the corrupt emperor, still rules Alagaesia and is looking for them. The magically bonded pair must help the rebellious Varden regroup after their leader is slain. Eragon helps deal with the resulting diplomatic complexities and then leaves for Du Weldenvarden, the home of the Elves, in order to finish his training as a Dragon Rider. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must unite the small town of Carvahall as it is battered by Galbatorix's forces, including the nasty Ra'zac. The story alternates between Eragon and Saphira and their political maneuvering and Roran and his more traditional adventure over land and sea. Paolini provides a worthy companion to Eragon (Knopf, 2003), though it does not stand alone (a summary of the first book will be included in the final edition). The plot–indeed, most of the fantasy conventions–is heavily inspired by Tolkien, McCaffrey, and especially George Lucas. The momentum of the narrative is steady and consistent: a problem presents itself and is neatly (and conveniently) solved before the next one arises, making it appealing to some adventure-quest fantasy fans and players. Eragon's journey to maturity is well handled. He wrestles earnestly with definitions for good and evil, and he thoughtfully examines the question of good at what price.While there's nothing particularly original here, the book will find its fan-base.–Sarah Couri, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 970L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Inheritance Cycle (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037582670X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375826702
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,049 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Paolini was born on November 17, 1983 in Southern California. He has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana with his parents and younger sister, Angela. As a child, he often wrote short stories and poems, made frequent trips to the library, and read widely. The idea of Eragon began as the daydreams of a teen. Christopher's love for the magic of stories led him to craft a novel that he would enjoy reading. The project began as a hobby, a personal challenge; he never intended it to be published. All the characters in Eragon are from Christopher's imagination except Angela the herbalist, who is loosely based on his sister. Christopher was fifteen when he wrote the first draft of Eragon. He took a second year to revise the book and then gave it to his parents to read. The family decided to self-publish the book and spent a third year preparing the manuscript for publication: copyediting, proofreading, designing a cover, typesetting the manuscript, and creating marketing materials. During this time Christopher drew the map for Eragon, as well as the dragon eye for the book cover (that now appears inside the Knopf hardcover edition). The manuscript was sent to press and the first books arrived in November 2001. The Paolini family spent the next year promoting the book at libraries, bookstores, and schools in 2002 and early 2003. In summer 2002, author Carl Hiaasen, whose stepson read a copy of the self-published book while on vacation in Montana, brought Eragon to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, which is part of Random House. Knopf published Eragon in August 2003. Eldest, which continues the adventures of Eragon and the dragon Saphira was published in August 2005, and in December 2006, Fox 2000 released their movie adaptation of Eragon in theaters around the world.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#51 in Books > Teens
#51 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 53 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This review mostly goes to Spencer Bauer or "Zmoney" who has reviewed before me. He's a moron.

Before you start complaining about the critics of this book, I highly reccomend that you get your facts straight. You claim that only a few of the names were ripped-off from the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Let me start with LOTR:












I'd say that's more than a few "ZMoney."

As for your review: Don't complain because some people think it was poorly written. It's their opinion and you can't call them stupid for it. At least most of them can put coherent sentences together.

As for the charge of plagiarism: I would say it's a valid complaint. As I just demonstrated, Paolini did in fact copy numerous names from "Lord of the Rings." He also used the line "Two eyes, whenever I can spare them" which is directly out of LOTR. The plot line is ripped from a variety of other stories, which, if you ever read above a second grade level, you will know. For example, "Dragonriders of Pern," comes to mind. Also check out Ursula Le Guin's "Earthsea" series. Paolini's system of magic may become a little more familiar to you and hey! You may even learn something!

As for the story itself. It is very sloppy and it is full of cheap tricks and escapes. Take Eragon's transformation into the elf. Instead of coping with his injury or overcoming his shortcomings as a human being, Paolini merely makes Eragon change into something he is not...a superhuman of sorts.
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59 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Jigna on September 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'll forgive a writer for almost anything - poorly developed characters, poor grammar, copycating other writers - as long as the writer doesn't do one thing: BORE ME. What the heck is going on here? Why the heck do we have to spend 400 pages in an elf forest doing absolutely nothing? Why the heck is Roran's lackluster story 50 times more gripping than Eragon's?

I'm not as mad at Christopher as I am at his editor. Why the heck didn't she/he tell him to include more genuine conflict? Why didn't she tell him that quitely simply, the book was BORING?

See, the reason all of us who have ranked this book low are mad is very simple. Going into it, we weren't expecting greatness. We didn't expect Tolkien. All we asked for, all we wanted, was a base-line decently plotted story that we could enjoy. That's all. And we didn't even get that.

So Christopher - I'm mad at you for not giving me your best. If you read this review, at the very least, please fill the next book with action, with stuff happenning. That's what made the first book what it was: stuff was happenning. They were getting chased for half the book. They were chasing people. New elements got introduced, and not just on the last 3 pages.

And for all of you who are mad at us for being harsh - we're not being mean. Once any artist of any kind enters their work into the public realm and on top of that asks money for it, they've chosen to have honest, critical feedback directed at them, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. That's the name of the game - NO ONE is owed a good review. They earn it through skill.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I hated this book for all the classic reasons. It's derivative, poorly written, preachy, and the "characters are born out of necessity." Paolini's drooling fans are coming up with more and more ridiculous reasons as to why Inheritance's awfulness should be allowed. One even tried to compare Paolini to Shakespeare and Michaelangelo (as if it were actually relevant). And criticizing Paolini for his seven-syllable words doesn't mean that we're poor readers. It means that he's a poor writer. In the words of Stephen King, "He stopped to take a crap" works better than "He stopped to perform an act of excretion." Write in words that people actually use.

But of course, the fanatics will ignore me like they ignore every other intelligent review and they will continue to dream up sillier defenses for this unsalvagable series. But my heart goes out to these poor fools, who are so deprived of decent fantasy books that they actually think Paolini is good. You have my deepest sympathies.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Who's John Palencar? The guy who drew the cover of Eldest. Isn't it just the most beautiful and vivid cover you ever saw? It's the best and most eye-catching cover I've ever seen, rivalled only by the cover of Eragon, which was drawn by the same guy. I'd pay good money for a large-size print of this book's cover to go on my wall. However, I wouldn't read the book again if *I* was the one being paid good money. The expression 'don't judge a book by its cover' was never more accurate in this case: Eldest has a gorgeous cover and a ghastly interior. Poorly written, boring, plagiarised... it's all been said. My advice is to go to the bookshop and look at the cover for nothing. You can enjoy fine artwork without having to pay for it that way.
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