Last year I read Eragon, by Christopher Paolini, for Carl’s Once Upon a Time Challenge. So it seemed fitting to read the sequel for this year’s challenge. When I completed Eragon at first I wasn’t sold on the series. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t too excited to continue the books. However, I found myself wondering what happened next.
The action in Eldest picks up right where the first novel ended. Eragon and most of his allies have survived a battle and are in Tronjheim, a dwarf city. There have been several casualties, including Eragon’s friend Murtagh and Nasuada’s father, Ajihad. Nasuada becomes the new leader for the Varden. After making an alliance with Nasuada, Eragon and Saphira, his dragon, set out for the forest Du Weldenvarden to receive training under the tutelage of Oromis and his dragon Glaedr. Oromis and Glaeder are the only surviving Rider and Dragon who are not under the king’s control and keep their existence unknown from Galbatorix. The king believes he has destroyed all of the Riders and Dragons to maintain his evil grip on the Empire. When the king learned of Eragon and Saphira in the last novel he became determined to find them. Oromis and Glaedr are crippled and so they cannot fight Galbatorix. Eragon and Saphira are the last hope to defeat the Empire.
While Eragon is training his cousin Roran is being hunted by the Ra’Zac in Carvahall. He doesn’t know that the reason he is being hunted is because of Eragon and Saphira. Roran is unaware that Eragon is a rider and that he has a dragon. Roran’s fiancée is kidnapped and he sets out to save the rest of the people in the village by leading them out of Carvahall to join the Varden in Surda.
Finally, the third storyline is Nasuada and the plight of the Varden after the battle. She wants to attack the Empire but learns that wars are costly and has to find a way to finance her troops and citizens.
Paolini spends most of the time in this story setting up what will happen in the next novel in the series. There is action here and there and the end of the novel has a battle with a twist I wasn’t expecting. However, it is more about the preparation of Eragon, Roran and Nasuada. Saying this, I actually really enjoyed the novel and I found it much more entertaining than the first book in the series. As soon as I finished it I wanted to pick up the next book. However, I think I will hold off and continue my tradition of reading the next book in the series for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.
This book also counts for the reading challenge Award Winning Books. The novel won the 2006 Quill Award for Young Adult Literature.