I was in high spirits. My heart soared with happiness as I picked up my brand new book, turned the first few pages, took in the scent of fresh paper, and started reading the prologue- “What has gone before.” As I read through the prologue, the memories came back- sweet memories of travelling across the Kingdom of Alagaësia with Eragon and Saphira. Each page I turned made me feel happier as I remembered how lovely Eragon was and how much I had enjoyed it. With high expectations, I turned to the first chapter of Eldest. But, as I kept reading chapter after chapter, my soared spirits were brought down with a bang! I was disappointed!
Title: Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle- Book 2)
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Knopf Books
Publishing Date: March 23rd 2007
Genres: High Epic Fantasy, Young Adult
From Goodreads: Darkness falls… Swords clash… Evil reigns.
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesméra, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn’t sure whom he can trust.
Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall – one that puts Eragon in even graver danger.
Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life…
Eldest begins right after the battle of Farthen Dur. We see two storylines in this book. The first one details the journey of Eragon and Saphira to Du Wendelvarden, where Eragon trains to be a dragon rider under the guidance of the elf Oromis. The second storyline follows Roran, his hardships, his dilemmas, his journey- everything just about Roran! To describe my experience reading Eldest in a sentence would be- A very long and cumbersome flight from point A to point B in an aircraft with absolutely no entertainment on board. Yes, that’s what reading Eldest felt like!
Of the two storylines, the one that really got on my nerves was the one about Roran. His story was boring from start to finish, too many unnecessary lengthy descriptions with no real adventure taking place. Every page of Roran’s story was dull and to make matters worse Christopher Paolini has devoted far too many pages to Roran’s story. The length of the ‘Roran segment’ wouldn’t have been so irritating to read, if it was spiced with interesting facts and adventures. There is lot of action in this storyline, but, it does little to lift the gloom off this segment of the plot.This storyline was so boring and arduous to read that I kept counting the number of pages I would have to tolerate before reading about Eragon’s story.
As for Eragon’s storyline, I felt it was better than Roran’s, but, it wasn’t good either. In this storyline, I really liked the character of Oromis and other details of the lifestyle of the elves. I also enjoyed certain descriptions of Eragon’s training. But, other than this, the rest of the storyline is boring. I felt Eragon to be a bit too headstrong in this book and his infatuation/affection/love/fondness- whatever it is for Arya- became irritating because it is neither romantic nor heartwarming. I found Arya’s character a bit too bleak as well. We do see some ups & downs in Eragon and Saphira’s relationship, but, it did nothing to make the storyline better.
Coming to the grand finale- that’s the only part of the book worth reading. If I were to describe the final few pages of the book, I would say they were- great, awesome, and phenomenal and it saved the book from getting a one star rating. Everything is perfect about the finale- the writing is great and readers are in for one or two big surprises.
Reading Eldest has been difficult. I found it really hard not to stop reading mid-way and put aside the book. On top of a really boring story is the length of the book- too long. But, I am not complaining about the length that much, as I have read lengthier books and completely enjoyed them because their plots were good. But, I can’t say the same about Eldest. You may read Eldest only and only if –
– You love/adore/are crazy about Roran.
-You love Eragon and think him cute even when he sounds and behaves like an obstinate 5-year old.
-If you are okay with reading through 600 pages of boredom just so you could read a few pages of great finale.
-You are in love with Christopher Paolini.