Friday, November 24, 2006

Eldest, by Christopher Paolini

(hb; 2005: second book in The Inheritance series)


Paolini picks up where Eragon left off, continuing to write in the “Star Wars meets The Lord of the Rings” vein. Befittingly, the plot structure of the second Inheritance tale is not unlike that of The Empire Strikes Back. The reader can almost hear the insectile hum and electric hissing of battle-crossed lightsabers as Eragon, training with Oromis (an elvish Rider, playing Yoda to Eragon’s Luke Skywalker), matures, as a Rider and a man. Meanwhile, Roran, Eragon’s cousin, leads his (and Eragon’s) Empire-besieged village to safety.

Paolini has also matured in his writing. Sure, there are plenty of predictable twists, but there is also plenty of great (and unexpected) subplots, great character development (especially among the secondary characters), riveting action, and the ending leaves the reader wishing that the third Inheritance novel (Brisingr) was already published.

Earnest and engrossing (if somewhat derivative and familiar) novel, worth your time.

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