Eldest – Inheritance #2 – Christopher Paolini
Eragon, still recovering from his wound made by the Shade Durza, was overwhelmed when he found the destruction and death in Farthen Dur after the battle against the Urgals. Although he knew he probably would have to fight in many battles in order to defeat Galbatorix, he had not thought it would come to that so quickly.
After a tragic, rather unexpected event in the beginning of the book, it’s clear that Galbatorix is inexorable and has spies everywhere. Much will have to change within the Varden, but also with all the other people.
The head of the Varden makes the decision to transfer all the people in Farthen Dur to Surda, while Eragon sets out on the long journey to Du Weldenvarden to begin his training as a full rider. There are a couple of big surprise waiting for him.
Meanwhile, in Carvahal, Roran finds it difficult to place the many events. His father died, his nephew disappeared without a trace. Roran could not shake the thought that the death of his father had something to do with the stone Eragon found in the Shield. When the village then gets attacked by the same beings who killed his father, Roran wants revenge. But perhaps he will have to change his priorities …
Although I am a big fan of the story, the style of writing sometimes falters a bit. I do not know whether this is the translation of the book (I have previously purchased this book in Dutch) or the writing style of Paolini himself.
What exactly bothers me is the sometimes theatrical tone in some of the sentences. Everything is seems much grander and that sometimes at completely the wrong moment. Here and there a phrase or theatrical event can be ok in a book. That gives it its charm sometimes, but too much is too much. Simple is good. It also seems everyone wants to burst into tears all the time. Okay, my heroes may occasionally show emotions, but on every page … No, that makes a hero just a little too weak.
Many people have noted that the story of Paolini has a lot of similarities to The Lord of The Rings. Urgals = Orcs, Nazgul = Ra’zac, Arya = Arwen and so on. I am personally of the opinion that the distinction is clearer in the second book. Although the people and the characters are still the same, the story takes a completely different course than LOTR. And even so, all of the similarities in the beginning didn’t really bother me. J.R.R. Tolkien has been an example for just about every Fantasy writer of these decades and his stories can be recognized in many fantasy books. Are they therefore bad books? No.
In general I am very satisfied about the story. The hiccups in the writing style did not bother me so much that I would have stopped reading. The book read smoothly and I immediately wanted to start Brisingr when I turned the last page.