Synopsis: Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the 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, 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…
My Thoughts: After the exciting start to the series that Eragon proved to be, this book wastes no time in picking up right from where it left off. Eragon is sent to Ellesméra to train with the elves who hope to prepare him for the final confrontation with King Galbatorix. It’s a bigger book than the first one, and not what you’d call a casual read, but I’d say it’s a step up from what precedes it.
The first thing you notice is that there’s a lot more going on than in book one, and the POV alternates between Eragon, his cousin Roran, and the Varden’s leader Nasuada. Initially I found this a little distracting, but all three plotlines are exciting enough and it’s fun to see how their separate adventures intertwine. The majority of the novel is set in Ellesméra, and it is here I think that the story really shines. Granted some of it feels as though it might have been stolen from Lord of the Rings, but the magic of it seems to just radiate off the page. My favourite part of the entire series so far has to be Eragon’s training itself; to see him grow as a character whilst at the same time try to make sense of the world he is now a part of is something that was only really touched upon in the first book.
Whilst Eragon set a pretty high standard, I actually enjoyed reading Eldest more. Both Eragon and Saphira grow and develop as characters, testing the limits of their abilities as well as making feeble first attempts at romance. Arya proves to be more than just a potential love interest, and indeed we see many characters which were barely introduced now come into their own. We’re provided with a pretty epic finish as well as some surprising new obstacles that will no doubt shape Eragon’s course to come. I’m really intrigued by Angela’s prophecy since there are still many parts that are unfulfilled, and I’d love to know what Eragon’s true name is in the ancient language. In other words, still so many unanwered questions that I’d really love the answers to. Good job I have a copy of Brisingr then!
In Short: An improvement from book one with some interesting character developments. Excellent setting and still so many intriguing questions that I hope the next two books will answer! 9/10