Two things before I start the review...
1> Oh my God!
2> I can't wait for the third book to be published!!
OK, now that I've got that off my chest...
This is an awesome next helping of the trilogy that will complete Christopher Paolini's saga about a farm boy that gets embroiled in a war of the races living in the fictional world called Alagaësia. The first book titled Eragon (for the title character) describes how Eragon gets involved in this epic battle and the effect that it has on the people around him. His flight from forces of evil trying to capture him and arrival in the rebel stronghold. The first book ends with a major victory for the rebel forces but at a high cost and Eragon on the cusp of real training and new adventures that will allow him to realize his full potential.
This book continues from where the first one ended and quickly pulls you in and along for the ride as Eragon leaves with the elves and with a protective contingent of dwarves to the homeland of the elves to continue his training. A serious wound that he recieved during the battle at the end of the last book threatens to severely limit the extent to which he can progress. The story continues and interleaves on three separate fronts; Eragon's training, trials and tribulations, the path the group of human rebels (the Varden) take under their new leader; and the hardships that befall the people of Eragon's village due to his involvement with the struggle at large. All the stories culminate in yet another epic battle towards the end of this book. At the very end a stunning piece of information is exposed that adds a whole new dimension to the story.
From a more general perspective, this is a very well written book; unfortunately it suffers from the typical second in the series pitfalls. It is a trifle longer than it needed to be. Some parts of the book really hit the doldrums with unnecessary details that slow down the narrative too much. But these parts are not pervasive enough to make the book boring at any time. A few new characters are introduced and explored and some old characters are given more space to become familiar, still more old characters disappear only to appear later and mix things up.
A final note; almost till the end of the book the title, "Eldest," did not make any sense to me. Then in the last three chapters it became crystal clear; like night turning to day with light from a huge lightning bolt! Then the book ended and all is dark again and I can't wait for the light to arrive with the next book.
Definitely a Must Read!
Author: Christopher Paolini
# Pages: 668
Published by: Alfred A Knopf (New York)
L.C. Control #: 2005009325
ISBN #: 0-375-82670