Eldest by Christopher Paolini
I didn’t like Eragon, but I went into this book forcing myself to read it with an open mind. Once again, Paolini rips off the work of other talented storytellers while adding nothing new. The result is a predictable, flat story that, like its predecessor, reads like Tolkien fan fiction. In Eldest, things get shaken up a bit more by the wholesale inclusion of elements from Star Wars.
The fact that “The Twins” were going to turn out to be traitors was visible from the moment they were first introduced in Eragon. It’s not like there were a number of dubious characters that could have potentially been traitors (like in the inaugural season of 24). No, they were the only characters set up as being potentially evil and sure enough, they were.
Murtagh turning out to be Eragon’s brother was another horribly obvious “twist,” with a confrontation scene that drips of the Vader-Luke confrontation in Empire Strikes Back. I kept waiting for Murtagh to cut off Eragon’s hand in the fight. Along those lines, Murtagh is riding on a red dragon, while Eragon fights with a blue one. “Coincidentally,” those are the same colors as Vader and Luke’s lightsabers in that confrontation.
Another plot element that bothered me was Eragon’s magical transformation. The whole time he’s trying to prove that he can be a Rider even though he’s poor, and human, and all that. But he only really becomes a Rider when he’s made into an elite like the elves. To me, that sends the message that the one elf on the practice field who thought Eragon was worthless was absolutely right. He couldn’t truly fight as a Rider until he was changed.
Then there’s the whole idea of dragons picking their Riders while in the egg. Clearly Saphira made a poor choice since the author tells us that Eragon was basically worthless until he was changed—something she couldn’t have predicted when the “chose” him. And the other eggs that are trapped in the evil king’s lair—you’d think they’d be smart enough not to hatch for him. And if Murtagh was the person that Thorn was supposed to hatch for, how come he didn’t do it back when Murtagh was hanging around the evil lair in the first place? You expect me to believe they hadn’t tried to get the egg to hatch for him before now?
This book is terribly written, it blatantly rips plot elements from its superiors, and it adds absolutely nothing to the body of fantasy work.