The problem with reviewing a series that was started when the author was a teenage boy and continues into his adulthood is that the quality is going to sharply jump. The original book, Eragon, is not a bad book, exactly. It's not very good though, either. it's an airplane or train-ride book at best. The characters are familiar, the plot is simplistic and predictable, the prose is choked, and the angst is overwrought and dangerously close to Wangst. Unfortunately, the dislike for the first book tends to color people's opinions of the others, so the first book's hatedom became partially a Hate Dumb who dig really hard for reasons to hate the subsequent installments, sometimes even claiming to hate it for things that didn't happen (like the Cant Argue With Elves thing in the later books). However, Paolini grew a bit, both as a person and as a writer, between the first and second book. So while Eldest does still remain somewhat quaint and predictable, it does have a few stronger selling points. There was at least one plot twist I didn't see coming, the characters were beginning to be fleshed out, and the morality became much more juicy and ambiguous. Paolini also added politics in, suggesting that perhaps the Varden wasn't unquestionably good, nor the Empire unquestionably evil, although they are on fairly obvious sides of a grey spectrum. The third book is by far leaps and bounds above the other two, as Paolini had become an adult while writing it. The characters, plots, morality and politics deepen considerably, the story becomes much more original, and the writing style is much better. While it did take two books to set up for it that were just "okay," they are made worth it by this one. The fourth book is still upcoming, but if it does wind up going by this scale, it will be impressive. it is unfortunate about the Hate Dumb twisting so much of it to suit their complaints and the Fan Dumb giving them fuel for Fan Hate as well, so the best bet is to read the books and avoid any websites dedicated to them.
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