‘Eldest’ is the next breathtaking book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. The series was originally intended to be a trilogy, but after this novel Paolini declared he was going to make it a quartet (or his publisher decided to let him). The story splits between Eragon and his cousin Roran, adding a nice balance to the narrative. Hit the jump for more.
‘Eldest’ follows on almost continually from ‘Eragon’, which makes it nice that there is a quick synopsis of the first book in the first couple of pages. I skipped that and moved on as I’d just read it. In the aftermath of the battle, Eragon must recover from his back wound and continue his training. Beset by his desire for the unattainable Arya, he follows her to the forests of the elves so that the eldest may teach him.
At the same time, Eragon’s cousin Roran is fighting to save their home town – they can fight or flee, but something must be done. We see a distinct development of his character, which was great as Eragon can be a little stupid at times. Often I wonder why Saphira puts up with him! Personally I hope Roran gets a dragon of his own, but time will tell.
Eragon’s personality further develops, and he also has some physical characteristics change on him. His time with the elves is peaceful, and he takes his dwarf friend with him. It is somewhat frustrating that Eragon misses things right under his nose, and his instruction is painful to watch as he struggles with things the discerning reader knows will be expected of him.
The final battle is almost nail-biting, except that you know Eragon must triumph for the next two books to be written! Nevertheless, the twist at the end is shocking, if expected by more canny readers. I’m hanging out to read the next book (I really don’t remember it from last time I read it), but I have a new Mercedes Lackey waiting for me from the library.