Hello! This is the 2nd book in the Inheritance cycle. I gave the last one a 9 and it takes a lot to follow that. This book isn’t quite as good as Eragon but I think that is more my problem, not the books.
We follow on from where the last book ended. Eragon has just saved the Varden from the demise they were looking likely to have had if it weren’t for the Dragon Rider. He is however crippled now from becoming the Shadeslayer and then the leader of the Varden in killed and three people kidnapped. Eragon needs to learn how to be a true Dragon Rider so he travels to the Elf Land, Ellesmera where he meets the Cripple Who is Whole we met at the end of “Eragon”. Eragon and Saphira learn they are not as alone as they first believed.
Paolini also follows Eragon’s cousin, Roran. His beloved, Katrina, is kidnapped and he realises that the only way to save her and his village is to relocate them all to the Varden. We see how hard a task this is, but as much as Eragon got the mythical power, Roran got the soldier and leader power. He saves his villagers, convinces them to go to the Varden, fights alongside them, steals a ship and safely gets them to the Varden all so he can rescue Katrina.
In the end, the two cousins meet again and are both involved in a massive battle for the Varden, resulting in a shocking end.
This book was following a very strong start to the series and I believe Paolini struggled slightly. He was originally trying to make this saga to be a trilogy and it shows via how much information he was trying to put into this one so he could finish it in the next. This means that too much information is put into our heads and unlike the last one, where we developed and learned at Eragon’s pace, it always seemed to be one step ahead of me. While I did like the introduction to Roran and Nasuada focused chapters, I found there to be too many and was in a hurry to return to the main story-line. For me that was where Lord of the Rings fell down, and Paolini was veering too near that precipice. I mentioned in my last post on Eragon that as a whole, the series only needed the odd chapter culling and it is mainly within this book that this could happen. The pacing is off compared to the others, seemingly dragging its feet, and little occurs quickly. It’s seem Paolini wants the reading to take as long as the adventure.
However, in its plus’s, Paolini adds depth to many characters. Nasuada and Ayra are strong female characters and we learn more about them and respect them more within this book. Neither are damsels in distress. The connection between Eragon and Saphira is sublime as usual. I stated before that this connection really drew you into the story and it carried on to do so. Their fights, nit-picking, loyalty, humour, opinions and views are both portrayed beautifully and makes you believe it is real, which when you’re talking about a Dragon, is a real tribute to Paolini’s writing.
The actual core story-line is strong it’s just how often we digress from this that is the problem. The twists and turns are outstanding and although I suspected a similar ending, I was shocked, sad and understanding of the finale. It does set up the next book well and does make you want to learn more about Eragon’s world.
All in all, this is still a great read with plenty of action, plot turns and information to intrigue and delight. It just drags and you do notice the time passing when reading. For this, I give the book a 7.5. Not as good as the last but still a solid performance. For me the weakest of the four. And as I said last time, I do give one of these books a ten so watch out!