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.
|AH-zhi-hod ||The Leader of the Varden |
|ARE-jet-lahm ||Elven word to describe Dragon Riders meaning "silver hand" |
|AR-ee-uh ||A powerful elf who is both beautiful and a master swordswoman |
|EHR-uh-gahn ||A Dragon Rider from Carvahall |
|RAA-zack ||Evil creatures |
|suh-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
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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.
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