AskDefine | Define eldest

Dictionary Definition

eldest adj : first in order of birth; "the firstborn child" [syn: firstborn] n : the offspring who came first in the order of birth [syn: firstborn]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. superlative of old Most old; oldest.

Extensive Definition

Eldest is the second book in the planned Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. It is the sequel to Eragon. Eldest was first published in hardcover on August 23 2005, and was released in paperback in September 2006. Eldest has been released in an audiobook format, and as an ebook. Like Eragon, Eldest became a New York Times bestseller. Other editions of Eldest are translations into different languages.
A great battle occurs at Farthen Dûr, where the anti-Galbatorix group called the Varden led by Ajihad resides. The Varden wins the battle, but Eragon nearly dies. He is healed by the witch Angela, but is left with a scar on his spine. Eldest begins three days after these events. BookBrowse also criticized Eldest, but said, as School Library Journal noted, that nothing the reviewers can say will stop some children from reading the book. Entertainment Weekly rated Eldest as one of the worst five books of 2005, calling it a "700-page drag." The Boston Globe gave a negative review for Eldest, criticizing the very low points and for "drama that rises to a wet pop." SFSignal also gave Eldest a poor review, giving it one out of five stars. The main reason of this was for its dull pace. The SFSignal review, like The Christian Science Monitor, did say that Roran had the "strongest sequence" in the book.
There were also some more positive reviews of Eldest. Bookmarks Magazine saw Eldests similarity to other works, but said that Eldest displayed more emotional depth than Eragon. Eldest also was nominated for a British Book Award in the Children's Book of the Year section, the Disney Adventures Book Award, the Colorado Blue Spruce Award Young Adult Book Award, and the Wyoming Soaring Eagle Book Award.


Several themes in Eldest have been noted. A Barnes and Noble reviewer praised the honor, friendship, responsibility, and forgiveness in the book. The reviewer called these themes "age-transcendent". School Library Journal commented on how Eragon looked for a definition for good and evil. Another review praised the story for the themes of power, family, and maturing. Paolini commented on the theme in Eldest of vegetarianism: "One of my goals as an author is to explore various aspects of human nature. It’s my job, then, to attempt to understand why people act, even if it differs from my own point of view or practice, and to present those reasons to the best of my ability. The actions and beliefs of my characters are not necessarily my own."

Literary style and genre

Eldest falls in the genre of juvenile fiction and fantasy. Reviews often commented on how Eldest borrowed from the fantasy genre. A reviewer from The Boston Globe said: Since the opening weekend passed, Paolini has not commented. Many critics have considered the possibility of a sequel in their reviews of Eragon. One critic said that 20th Century Fox's plans to adapt Eldest was "jumping the gun" and that "they will have a tough time convincing anyone but the most die-hard fans to return for another helping." Even some critics who gave the film positive reviews were skeptical towards the possibility of a sequel: "That the studio hopes to build a franchise on this, now that—that is expecting way too much."
According to an interview with director Stefen Fangmeier:
Fangmeier's comments were made in March 2007, before the October 2007 announcement that the trilogy was to be expanded into a four-book cycle. Since then it has been speculated that the a film adaptation might be announced after the third book is released.
Australia's Randomhouse page claims that Eldest is scheduled for a mid-2009 release.

Release details

  • 2005, USA, Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 0-375-82670-X, Pub date 23 August 2005, hardback (first edition)
  • 2005, UK, Doubleday ISBN 0-385-60790-3, Pub date 25 August 2005, hardback
  • 2006, Spain, Roca Editorial ISBN 84-96284-96-4, Pub date ? January 2006, paperback (Spanish language translation)
  • 2006, UK, Random House ISBN 1-84657-657-1, Pub date ? September 2006, Audio CD
  • 2006, UK, Corgi Children's ISBN 0-552-55211-9, Pub date 7 September 2006, paperback
  • 2006, USA, Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 0-375-84060-5, Pub date 26 September 2006, hardback (deluxe edition)

Other Editions

A deluxe version of Eldest was released on September 26, 2006. It was published by Random House. The deluxe edition included an excerpt of Brisingr, a poster of Glaedr, the history of Alagaësia, art by Christopher Paolini, and a list of characters, places, objects, and dwarf clans.
Eldest has been published in forty-one countries, several translations from English into different languages have been made. Translations for languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and Serbian have appeared. Worldwide Eldest has several publishers including Gailivro, which publishes the Polish and Portuguese Eldest, and Gramedia Pustaka Utama, the publisher of the Indonesian translations.


External links



eldest in Catalan: Eldest
eldest in Czech: Eldest
eldest in Estonian: Vanem (Paolini)
eldest in Spanish: Eldest
eldest in French: L'Aîné
eldest in Italian: Eldest
eldest in Hebrew: הבכור (ספר)
eldest in Lithuanian: Vyriausiasis
eldest in Hungarian: Elsőszülött
eldest in Malay (macrolanguage): Eldest
eldest in Dutch: Oudste (boek)
eldest in Norwegian: Den eldste
eldest in Polish: Najstarszy
eldest in Portuguese: Eldest
eldest in Russian: Эрагон. Возвращение
eldest in Finnish: Esikoinen (kirja)
eldest in Swedish: Den äldste
eldest in Slovak: Eldest
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