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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eldest (Inheritance #2) by Christopher Paolini

Eldest (Inheritance, #2)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 Ellesmera, 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-inspiring 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.

 Let me warn you, before we get started: I love this series.

Okay, now that I've warned you, I can begin part two of my I Love Inheritance rant.

First, Eldest might just be my favorite title of all time.  Yes, of all time.  It sounds really cool.  Eldest.  It's mysterious and unusual.  But you can't really understand it until you read the penultimate (one of my favorite words, right there) chapter of the book.  Then your mind is forced to do a double-take.  Or at a quadruple-take, because that chapter is one of the most intense chapters ever written. 

I'll admit that the writing in Eragon wasn't a masterpiece by most standards.  Eldest definitely improves on this.  I can tell that Paolini's writing is much more mature, and he's really improved.  (Okay, minus a few lines like "Eragon pricked his ears", or something on that order.  Pricked his ears?  So now he's human, with basically part of a dragon's mind, part elf, an honorary dwarf, and part horse?  Just a little species overload there, don't you think?) 

Now, I love this book to death.  But then, there's that odd chapter where Eragon has a war to fight, but instead spends hours watching ants.  Ants.  Um...okay, then.  Thanks for teaching me more about ants than I ever wanted to know.  LOL.

But, in all honesty, my only major disappointment with this book is that Paolini skimmed over Angela's fantastic rant.  He shows us the part where she calls him a blockhead (which is funny in itself), and then just tells us what she said next.  Come on!  And while we're at it, I'd just like to point out that if Roran hadn't been in bed with Katrina to start with, she'd never have gotten kidnapped.  Abstinence, people.  Abstinence.

I certainly hope no one has ever accused Paolini of not having strong female characters.  Anyone who says that obviously hasn't read the book.  First, we have Angela, who is just all-around awesome.  She can poison an entire army, speak in fabulous riddles, and call Eragon a blockhead without getting killed.  And then we have Arya.  I love her for straight-out rejecting Eragon, which he was really asking for.  There's also Nasuada, who dared to fight Galbatorix with lace.  And Elva, who also was a much-needed slap in the face for Eragon.  And Saphira, of course, Eragon's only source of common sense. 

I'm probably coming off like I really don't like Eragon, as a character.  That isn't true.  The first time I read the series (which was, admittedly, a long time ago), I didn't care for him much.  I found him whiny and arrogant.  This time through, though, I'm finding him much easier to connect to, for some reason.  I think it's the fact that there's no longer a huge age gap between me and him.  I'm actually pretty impressed at all he's accomplished at only 16.  I can appreciate his struggles more, knowing he's not much older than me.  He's still pretty arrogant at times,  but I like him a lot more. 

This book is intense.  It's epic.  It's awesome and heartfelt and exciting and doesn't follow Star Wars.  It throws twists and turns that make you do a double-take, even if you've read the book several times before.  It glues your eyes to the page and doesn't let you put the book down (except for that time when you steal a glance at your window to make sure there's no Ra'zac out there).  It's amazing.  I love it. 

Reviews of other Inheritance novels:
Eragon (Inheritance #1)

Brisingr (Inheritance #3)
Inheritance (Inheritance #4)
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