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

3.9 out of 5 stars 2,072 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Inheritance cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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

Order your copy of the boxed set today





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 runescape.com 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 (2,072 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,068 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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#52 in Books > Teens
#52 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
I liked Eragon well enough and I was looking forward to this book coming out. As it turns out, it's a good thing I waited for the library copy and didn't buy it, because owning it would have been pointless. The prose is really rather tedious and immature, not to mention how unnecessarily LONG it is. I won't summarize; just know that the "influence" of other writers is starkly visible. There's little originality in the writing, and the text is ridden with mistakes that a good editor should have eliminated (e.g., the incorrect and completely arbitrary substitution of words like "mine" and "thy/thine" for "my" and "yours"). Overall, the dialogue is probably the most awkard part, with the next most irksome thing being the superfluous scenes. Side note: anyone interested in joining a rescue mission to free the author's thesaurus? The preachiness really got to me, too; the author seems to dream of a society full of vegetarian atheists who practice elf yoga daily and takes "mates" whenever they want to without any commitment. And yes, "aye" is used with obscene frequency.

However -
I did read the whole book, and I wanted to find out what happened to Eragon even after the stupid training period in Ellesmera that was probably supposed to be formative (actually it just ends with us having to accept that Eragon is amazingly powerful and talented). So, I must say -- with reluctance? -- that this book wasn't a total waste of time. No, it is not good, but I wanted to know what happened.
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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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A Kid's Review on September 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I did not find Eldest as I expected. It's long, boring, and stupid. I found myself doing chores and homework so I had excuses not to read.

Do two things:

1. Read the reviews

2. Instead of paying for it get it from the library

I did both and I am glad I did.
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A Kid's Review on September 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This "Inheritance" trilogy has inspired more animosity then I have seen in a very long time. Their is litterally a great divide here, with many hailing Paolini as the next Tolkien, while others say that he will be the downfall of fantasy literature. Personally, I think BOTH sides are giving him way to much credit.

Let's start off with the pro-Paolini crew. I honestly have to wonder if you have actually read any other fantasy novels out there. If you have, you will notice that Eldest is saturated with cliches which Paolini attempts to hide by calling his work 'archetypal.' The attempt at portraying true love is laughable at best with the protagonist litterally calling a girl "as beautiful as a flower." That type of stuff makes me cringe. It seems to me that Paolini doesn't get his writing from real life experience, but instead from the many different authors that he has read before. Without experience, the emotions of Eldest come out as regurgetated garbage. I do not need to delve to deeply into the storyline itself for that has been mentioned numerous times before. I will say though that Paolini has got away with plagiarism. He copied names of places and towns, people, and plots by tweaking them only slightly so as to get away with it. For an avid reader, he fails at sneaking that theivery by us. It stuck out with each new page that I read. I must also say that I am dissapointed that Paolini failed to add anything original to the fantasy genre. Everything he wrote about HAS been used before; everything. That takes the excitement from the book.

Another problem I have is Paolini's arrogance. In reviewing himself, he said "I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best, and Seamus Henney's translation of Beowulf." That is ridiculous.
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