Eldest by Christopher Paolini (Unabridged) Audiobook
Narrated by Gerard Doyle
Running Time: 23 hrs and 30 mins
Eldest is the second of four books in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. This story begins only a few days after the events of Eragon end, allowing the story to be told seamlessly as a whole. While it follows many of the same themes as Eragon, Eldest takes readers into different areas of the land of Alagaësia, introduces them to a few new characters, and delves deeper into the lives of existing characters.
In Eragon, the title character is a poor, orphaned farm boy who lives with his uncle and cousin in a small village. While out hunting one day, Eragon finds a mysterious egg that hatches into a dragon. When his home town is attacked, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, must flee to save themselves. They set out on a quest to overthrow the evil King Galbatorix and free the kingdom from his oppression.
The Eldest audiobook follows three different protagonists, whose story lines don’t connect until the very end of the book. Eragon and Saphira travel to Ellesméra, an elven city, to train. There, a wise elf and his dragon coach Eragon and Saphira in battle techniques and the use of magic.
Meanwhile, Eragon’s cousin Roran leads the people of Carvahall in a rebellion against the king. Roran’s fiancée Katrina has been kidnapped by the king’s servants, and he’ll do anything to rescue her.
The final storyline follows Nasuada, who prepares the people of the Varden for a battle against the king and his empire. All three protagonists’ story lines meet together at the culmination of the story as they unite in their common goal.
Eldest Has only a handful of new characters that did not appear in Eragon. Oromis is the wise old elf who teaches Eragon the ways of the Dragon Riders. Glaedr is Oromis’ dragon, and he helps Saphira to realize her role as a dragon in the war. Thorn is another dragon who makes his debut in Eldest. However, Thorn appears as an antagonist, and he shows his power in the final battle of the book.
In addition to a few new characters, many old characters from Eragon have shifted in their roles in Eldest. Some minor characters turn into major protagonists, and some protagonists turn into antagonists. These different roles almost make them seem like completely different characters.
Plot & Setting
The overarching plot from Eragon persists in Eldest, as all of the characters work to overthrow the evil king. However, the ways in which the characters defy the king and come together bring in their own plot devices and twists. Rather than training on the run like he did with Brom in the previous book, Eragon takes the time to train properly in hiding with Oromis. The plot also shifts its focus as more characters get involved.
Eldest is set in the land of Alagaësia, just as Eragon was. However, the story of Eldest takes the characters to different parts of Alagaësia than Eragon did. In Eragon, the story mostly took place in the forests and the mountain wilderness. Eldest shows readers a more in depth glimpse of the elven cities and settlements of the desert. These locations give Eldest an exciting exotic feel.
The general themes of finding your place in the world and good triumphing over evil that were present in Eragon are still evident in Eldest. However, those themes are made more meaningful when coupled with the theme of working your hardest for the greater good. All of the main protagonists in Eldest have to work hard and stretch themselves to the limit to achieve victory, which teaches young people do never give up and to work hard for their goals.
Gerard Doyle lends his voice to the narration of the Eldest audiobook and his regal tone gives the book a majestic feel. The names of people and places in this book are unique, but Doyle does a terrific job with the pronunciation of these names. The audiobook allows listeners to immerse themselves more fully into the story than they would be able to otherwise.
Far grander in scale than Eragon, this audiobook takes characters on wild adventures through exotic lands. If you’re looking for an epic tale about honor, love, and transformation, Eldest is the story for you.