By Christopher Paolini
Welcome on stage a book with an amazing cover illustration, winner of the Book Sense award, bestseller at the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal! Who else can it be other than Christopher Paolini creating waves with his second-in-series 'Eldest'!
Following the story line of his first book, Paolini is now digging deeper. 'Eldest' is the story of two heroes struggling to survive. Eragon, no more only a dragon rider but also a shade slayer fights his way to Ellesméra the fabled land of the Elves. Here he undergoes further training in magic, swordsmanship and learns to take decisions a dragon rider's way. His fascination for Arya the elf becomes stronger and his lessons become more difficult.
Meanwhile, in his homeland, in the village of Carvahall, Eragon's cousin Roran faces troubles of his own. The king's men and the dark creature that commands them lay siege to the tiny peasant community in the hope of finding Roran. Why? Because they believe only Roran can lead them to Eragon. But surprisingly instead of leading them to Eragon, Roran turns out to be an excellent orator who leads the inexperienced peasants into a tactful war and an arduous journey - a war and a journey that needs cleverness not manpower against Galbatorix's army. Roran weaves “an epic of attacks, sieges, and betrayal, of leaving Carvahall, crossing the Spine, and razing the docks of Teirm, of sailing through a monstrous whirlpool”.
Paolini delights his readers as he makes an entire fantasy world come alive. From the incredible dwarven empire, to a forest full of intelligent elves… the details are incredible! Paolini is surely growing up and becoming a professional because he could maintain the flow of the novel beautifully with the inter-webbing stories of Roran and Eragon. There are many new characters … and when I say 'many' I really mean a lot of them, but one is worth mentioning, Oromis, the master. He was a former dragon rider who possesses a glorious past and it is he who teaches our hero Eragon a whole new set of spells, dragon-flying tactics, sword-moves and the history of dragon riders; these are sure to enrich your knowledge about Paolini's marvelous world and its people. New kings, queens and kingdoms colour the pages of 'Eldest' with their vivid pictures.
But the schooling section of the book sometimes becomes monotonous and you may find yourself pushing through. This I am afraid can't be helped; it is just the building up to the climax. But I can assure you that once you fight through all the tedious pages you will be pulled into a war no less than the War of Minas Tirith!
The hardcover collection of 668 pages is worth spending time on because it's a story of courage, responsibility, heroism, betrayal, magic, wisdom, and love and because Paolini has used tons of imagination to entertain his readers.
The cover will convince you to read it. The words will make you smile, make you angry, make you feel sad at times and at other times make you absolutely worried about what's going to happen next. The plot will grip you and the characters will entice you. But friends, the ending will leave you on the edge of your seat asking, “What's after Eldest?”
Eldest is available in Bookworm.
Reviewed by Efadul Huq
(R) thedailystar.net 2006