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For this book project I have read “Eldest”, which is the second book in the “Inheritance” trilogy. I chose to read the book because I had just finished the first book in the trilogy, called “Eragon”.
“Eldest” was released in august 2005, and is written by Christopher Paolini. The book consists of 1030 pages, of which the story is on 999 pages, and the rest are glossary lists, and pronunciation guides.
As for genre, the book is in what we call fantasy literature. It is easy to understand this, just by looking at the book. It has a picture of a dragon on the cover, and on page 3-4 we find a map over a continent, not similar to any of the continents of our world.
The continent we see on the map is named Alagaesia, and is where the story of “Eldest” takes place. The book starts very abrupt, as we are witness to a great leader’s (Ajihad) death already in the first chapter, as a result to a battle that started in “Eragon”, and wasn’t finished in the first book. After the first chapter we follow Eragon on his journey to Du Weldenvarden, where he receives training by the elves to become the new dragon rider.
Parallel to the story about Eragon, we follow his cousin Roran and his struggle to defend his hometown, Carvahall, from the soldiers and the demonic beasts called the Ra'zac, which is sent by the evil king Galbatorix. The reason Galbatorix is attacking Carvahall, is because Eragon found a dragon egg that was stolen from the king. The egg hatched, and Eragon disappeared from the king’s control, so he now tries to capture Roran to find Eragon. But Roran and the rest of the villagers manage to defeat the soldiers, and decide to leave Carvahall, and head to Surda. Surda is the nearest country that is not under Galbatorix rule, and welcomes all people that are fledging from Galbatorix. On the way to Surda they live as fugitives, and operate under false names. They must overcome several obstacles, and dangers, as there are soldiers patrolling the country, and there is a reward on 10 000 crowns for the one who captures Roran.
In some chapters we also follow the decisions Nasuada takes as the descendant of Ajihad, and how she prepare a war against Galbatorix.
Of the persons I have mentioned in the text above, the most important character in the book is probably Roran, even though the main focus has been on Eragon. But without the story of Roran and the villagers the book would have been very dull. In addition, many of the decisions that he takes may have a great deal of importance for the outcome of the battle in the end.
Concerning other persons there are very many. We have; Orik, Oromis, Glaedr, Saphira, Arya, Durza, and Kathrina. In addition, many of the villagers, elves, followers of the Varden, and dwarves, are mentioned with names. All of these persons have a history and we get to know them, and follow their transformation as an individual through the book. Take for example Birgit, one of the villagers, in the beginning of the book she was a loving mom and wife, she took care of the house, prepared meals, and gossiped with the other women in the village. But after her husband was killed by the soldiers she has become strong, independent, and is determined to stop Galbatorix, as revenge for killing her husband.
The language in the book is quite difficult, especially since it is a book that is meant for young people. I have read many books in english, such as, the “Harry Potter” books, some of the “Hornblower” books, “The Vampire Chronicles”, and the “Green Mile”, but none of them was so hard to understand as “Eldest”. The reason for this is because the author did not only use a difficult word in between normal words, but he used difficult words with only a few normal words in between. This makes it hard to read because there are a lot of descriptions of events, and environment. So, if you don’t understand many of the words you will miss a lot of information, which is important later in the book.
The person that tells the story is not part of it. The person is more like an individual that knows all that happens, or is watching what happens from a distant.
It is through this person we see the ups, and downs in the people’s life, the landscape, battles, and the turning points. There are many turning points in the book I think, probably since we follow so many peoples story. One of them is when Roran kills the first soldier and realize that he has doomed the village, because there only will come more soldiers when they try to resist. This is when the villagers decide to leave Carvahall, and head for Surda.
The story in “Eldest”, as in most fantasy literature, is about a not so heroic character, and his struggle to save the world. But we also have parallel stories about love, and friendship.
I liked “Eldest”, because it was a lot happening, and you had to pay attention to what you read, if you didn’t there was much information that you needed later in the book, that you lost. It was also very entertaining; I didn’t get bored in any of the chapters, because it was always many things that happened. The only negative thing about the book is that it is quite similar to LotR. Person living in safe surroundings finds a thing, which the evil and powerful leader wants. So the person sets out to fight the leader, and save the world.
Despite the parallels to LotR I would recommend the book to other people, but they should read “Eragon” first, if they don’t they would have lost some information that is important in “Eldest”.