Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2

Common Sense Media says

The epic saga continues -- and improves.





What parents need to know


Lots of battles and swordplay, some pretty graphic.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking and drunkenness -- even Saphira the dragon gets drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, as is typical in high fantasy, there is plenty of fighting and bloodshed, though not as much as in the first book. Fighting and war, though sometimes bemoaned, are pretty much accepted as the way to solve problems.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Eldest picks up where Eragon left off, at the end of the battle between the Varden, aided by Eragon, Saphira, and their friends, and the evil emperor Galbatorix's forces in Farthen Dûr. With barely time to mourn his fallen friends Eragon is first caught up in political intrigue among the humans, and between the humans, elves, and dwarves, and then sent across the empire to complete his training as a Rider with the elves in the vast forest of Du Weldenvarden.

At the same time, Eragon's cousin Roran is sought by Galbatorix, who sends soldiers and two of the vicious Ra'zac to Carvahall, Eragon's home. Roran leads the villagers in holding them off, but Roran's fiancé is captured and the villagers are force to flee across the mountains, pursued all the way, to try to make their way by land and sea to Surda, the stronghold of the rebels.

As the story flips back and forth between Eragon and Roran we get to see both of them grow in maturity and power, Eragon as a result of his training with the last survivor of the old Riders, and Roran in a trial by fire as the de facto leader of his villagers fighting their way across the empire. These parallel streams, of course, converge in a climactic battle which once again ends the book.

Includes map and language guide.

Is it any good?


ELDEST is considerably longer and more dense than its predecessor, Eragon, but it's exciting, dark, suspenseful, and imaginative. This is a considerable step forward in Christopher Paolini's development as a writer. Eragon and Roran are compelling characters, and the relationship between Eragon and Saphira can be touching.

It may take some of the younger fans quite a bit of plowing through to finish it, but Paolini's writing is, like his main character, growing more fluid and sure here, with almost none of the embarrassing clunkers that marred the first book. His dialogue, though still the stilted, formal speech beloved by authors of high fantasy, is less hackneyed and clichéd. This is the work of a growing young writer who is learning as he goes and gradually but surely getting a firmer grip on his considerable talent, like an inexperienced charioteer with a frisky team.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Eragon's training and its parallels in Roran's trials. Does Eragon deserve Roran's blaming him for the village's troubles? Was Oromis right to withhold forms of magic that Galbatorix possesses? What are the parallels with the Star Wars saga? It can be fun to play Find the Matching Characters -- if Oromis is Yoda, who is Obi-Wan? Darth Vader? Princess Leia?

Book details

Author:Christopher Paolini
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date:August 23, 2005
Number of pages:704
Read aloud:10
Read alone:11

This review of Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written bynoveleater December 12, 2010
The thing about this book is- well, it's kind of hard to say if I liked it or not. It was almost like a copy- cat of all of the great, original fantasies that I can never look at the same way ever again. (These includes The Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Flies, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ender's Game, His Dark Materials, The Hobbit, the list is a lot longer then this, these are just a few of them, don't get mad at me if I've missed any that you've loved, I know, there are MANY!) Any way, Paolini's book almost feels like he tries too hard to write a fantasy for young adults. These books suffer from many things, too many pages, to much to remember from past books, over- long descripctions, and to many LONG- LONG- LONG words like: monosyllabic page 249, seclusion page 71, belligerent page 615, who knows what any of these words? Not me! (Thank gosh for Websters'!) LOL (no grandma, not lots of love, laugh out loud) The book dragged on for too long! I mean the huge, and I mean HUGE battle really made the book worth reading. I think that Roran is a very good role model, yes he does not ask permission to marry Katrina, but who would be able to pluck enough courage to ask him?!?! He doesn't try to be cool, he tries to be as human as possible. Some of the violence can be laughable (espically looking at wounds like Roran, if you were bit by a Ra'zac, you wold not have a scrape, you're arm wouldn't even be there! The plot fallows Eragon training in Ellesmere with the elves. The book does have a few twist, one being so large I slammed the book down onto the floor with surprise! I don't know if this book was good enough for me to want to read the next one, only because I'm not ready to spend months slaving over one book (more like a volume) and a dictionary! Read and enjoy!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old September 22, 2010

Needed to be shorter, but still very fun

This book describes Eragon's training and a major battle. The training part was fun, because I liked seeing Eragon learn new spells. The battle also was exciting. However, the story would have been better if it had been shortened, because there was a bunch of parts that got bogged down in uninteresting dialog. I found the first book more enjoyable, but this one was fun, too.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 12 year old Written bya_ulziikhuu March 14, 2010

Perfect for tweens and teens and adults intreseted

I love this book! There is just the concern about sex where it mentions that Katrina, Roran's fiance, slips inside his bedroom and remains there for the night. And it's not mentioned in the least bit, which is disturbing.
What other families should know
Too much sex


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools