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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

cover of Eldest

This is book number two of three, although only two are written yet. Paolini is a young writer whose work is worth reading. Eragon is a young man who has had to mature rapidly due to recent events, along with his dragon Saphira. They are part of an epic clash between the false king and the other races (elves, dwarves, varden(rebellious humans), and a few others to boot). Good against Evil. This book has similar elements to other fantasy books. One enjoyable element is multiple stories going on at once. As readers, we get to follow Eragon as he increases his knowledge and preparation to be a dragon rider like those in legends. We also follow his brother Toran, who has plenty of adventures saving his village from the Ra'zac and leading them on a long journey. We also follow Nasuada, the leader of the varden, as she prepares for war.

All the books I've read with dragon riders (and there are quite a few..) include a deep connection between the dragon and their rider. Both are sentient and have their own personalities and opinions, but they are able to know each other and become one in ways no one else can. One deep human desire is to be known. To not be alone. To be loved completely. To be understood. One woman I respect said something to the effect of 'we all sleep in our own skin at night,' which is true. No matter how deeply I know someone or am known by them, I can never be fully known except by an omniscient God.

One of the elves says to Eragon "every other elf and I could use magic to satisfy our desires -- and some do -- but then what meaning is there in life?" (p303) They have many abilities and long life, so they don't have to do any work. But without that, life has no purpose or pleasure. So they spend time perfecting certain skills, such as improving their swordsmanship, learning how to be a metalworker, or how to singing beautiful patterns out of trees. It is easy to think that without work, our lives would be much easier and better. But we were made for work. Work is good for us - partially so that we might enjoy the play better. Play and rest are necessary parts of our lives, but so is work and improving our skills and character and habits. (Which works best with the power of the Holy Spirit instead of just human will power).

Author:Christopher Paolini
Date published:2005
Number of pages:668


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