For the work of a 15-year-old writer, Eragon is an amazing story – I enjoyed it as much on the second read as I did on the first, perhaps even moreso. The book tells the story of a young farmboy who stumbled across a dragon egg and becomes an unlikely hero. He is forced to flee his home in order to save the people he cares about and thus begins the quest of a boy-turned-man and his dragon to find their new places in the world.
Eldest picks up the story immediately where _Eragon_ leaves off and is, in my opinion, an even better story than the first volume in this trilogy. Eragon makes his way to the forest of Du Weldenvarden to complete his training with the elves and become a Dragon Rider, one who will hopefully be powerful enough to face and overthrow the evil Galbatorix. In the process, young Eragon faces numerous philosophical and intellectual challenges, in addition to his physical and magickal training. He experiences heartache, betrayal, and loss before leaving us with a cliffhanger ending. The evolution of Paolini’s writing style shines through in this second volume.
These two novels may be classified as Young Adult fiction, but they are well-crafted and strong enough for anyone to enjoy. Paolini tackles some difficult topics and, in so doing, weaves together a world that is fascinatingly complex. Lovers of fantasy fiction will enjoy these two books and eagerly await the arrival of the third. It only remains to be seen, then, whether Paolini will extend this universe beyond this initial trilogy into an epic series to rival the likes of Middle Earth and the land of Shannara.