Overall Impression: Wow, wow, wow! An emotional and fitting end to the wonderful Inheritance Cycle. I didn’t want it to end. Can we have another Cycle? Pretty please?
(To read my review of the previous book from the Inheritance Cycle, Brisingr click here.)
This book was read as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge for the favourite genre category.
Ohhh how I have been dreading writing this review. It had actually gotten to the point where I was having full on staring contests with my computer. It’s a typical example of when you read a fantastic book, and afterwards have an inability to form any coherent thoughts and your vocabulary flies off the face of the Earth and is replaced with simplistic “EEEEEEP” “EEEEEK” “OOOH” “AHHHH” syllables. Sure, this series has flaws as most do, but this book series has spanned eight years of my life. I remember the first time I laid eyes on it in Waterstones, the excitement that Christmas when I received it, and the next when I received the second book. I guess you would say it has sentimental value. The characters have grown and evolved parallel to my own life. It’s sad to have to say goodbye to them… and yet, at the same time there is something rather satisfying about seeing their stories finally completed. It may have been a long journey, but good things come to those who wait!
Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the rest of the Inheritance Cycle this review may contain spoilers about previous plots and characters from past books in the series. However, for those of you who have read the previous books, this review will not contain any major spoilers about the book Inheritance.
It began with Eragon . . .
It ends with Inheritance.
Not so very long ago, Eragon – Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider – was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now, the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.
Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chance.
The Rider and his dragon have come farther than anyone dared to imagine. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost?
The book opens with Eragon fighting for his life (just his average Tuesday then :P) alongside his cousin Roran, and the rest of the Varden. Taking the city of Belatona is one small step in Nasuada’s plan to defeat the evil King Galbatorix. As commander of the rebel army the Varden, she decides they have spent too long hiding in the shadows. The time to fight the Empire is now. Even though hope seems slim. The plan? To slowly work their way to the King’s fortress Urû’baen, capturing all the major cities along the way. But problems surface when they have barely even begun. Mysterious spears, zombie-esk soldiers, magicians, helpless civilians bound by oath, a rapid lack of supplies, and the biggest threat of all? Murtaugh and his dragon Thorn. Even with the enlisted help of the Werecats; mysterious mystical and unpredictable creatures, our heroes are struggling as they continually hit dead ends. Our two lead protagonists are divided in different directions; Roran is sent off to capture the city of Aroughs, meanwhile Eragon and the rest of the Varden ponder how to capture Dras-Leona. When further disasters strike, all seems lost. That is, until Eragon receives a grain of hope from an unexpected source. Will it be enough to help him overthrow the deranged king once and for all?
Read the book and find out. 😉
Wow, wow, wow! Have I mentioned wow? Ok sorry, trying to compose myself! One of the best parts of reading this book was seeing Paolini’s writing shine. It was just excellent, it felt like a culmination of everything he has learnt. This series has taken up thirteen years of his life and undoubtedly his writing at first needed a lot of work. But with Inheritance, nearly all his previous faults have been dealt with. He has gotten rid of most of the fluff and filler that padded out the previous books, he has reigned in his descriptions which are beautifully detailed without going overboard, and his storytelling exudes excitement!
My only small gripe is that his battle scenes can still be a little dull at times, although they have improved dramatically since the last book. I tend to think battle scenes should either be fast paced, or slower with emphasis placed more on the characters emotions but Paolini doesn’t seem to do either of these, I think maybe he tries to focus too much on the mechanics, spending so much time trying to explain the specifics and logistics of what is going on that he forgets to entertain the reader sometimes.
The pace of Inheritance is also very impressive, it manages to keep consistent with lots of interesting events taking place, and not just with battle scenes, but with emotional stimuli and conversations as well which are spaced just the right distance from each other. Too many together would have made it cheesy, but as it stands they come across as sweet, just right. I still felt there were a couple of un-needed chapters *cough* battles from Roran’s point of view which take you away from the action you really want to read about! Grr. There was also a chapter that was prolonged way further than it ought to have been simply because the dragon Saphira hit some stormy weather.
However I especially loved a certain idea Paolini used in his plot (I’m being slightly vague to avoid spoilers here) about how magic gone wrong could change and warp living creatures with habitat’s near by, dramatically changing them into something foreign and strange. Almost like a toxic waste effect.
Lastly, I loved the fact that this book didn’t just stop after the final battle which a lot of stories do. Instead we get to hear a lot about the aftermath as well as some of the future plans for Alagaësia, the repercussions from the result of the final battle, and most importantly, we get to see a lot of our favourite characters stories resolved. Although not all, Angela (my favourite character) still remains an enigma to be solved at a later date. Dammit! 😛
Eragon’s, Saphira’s, and Arya’s character development in this one was very interesting, they had to really dig down deep into the depths of their personalities, assessing their strengths and their weaknesses in order to move on and progress with the battle against Gabatorix. I have to admit, I did get a bit bored of Roran and his hammer wielding ways though, his moaning woe is me life’s not fair attitude has kind of put me off. Guess what Roran? All the other characters have been dealt a rubbish hand too but they don’t go around moaning about it all the time, suck it up! I was also expecting Galbatorix to be a little more menacing. We were more just told how menacing he was but his actions weren’t exactly reinforcing it…. or wait, maybe they were because hey, torture! But ermmm… I don’t know, he just didn’t seem quite as intimidating as I thought he would.
I loved the further development on Angela the witch as well, she’s so intriguing and it only gets more so in this book! The same goes for the werecats, they are such mysterious creatures and I loved that we got to spend some more time with them!
So although I do have some small criticisms of this book, my overall enjoyment wins out by far! I would recommend this book to readers that enjoyed the previous books in the series, (you can check out my review for the first book in the series, Eragon here if you’re interested in finding out more) male or female, aged 16 and upwards who enjoy traditional fantasy, descriptive prose and stories of good vs evil.
Some fun quotes:
‘If you don’t make a few enemies now and then, you’re a coward – or worse.’ – Angela
“Why does everything have to be so hard?” he wondered.
“Because” said Saphira “everyone wants to eat, but no one wants to be eaten.”
‘It took her a moment to realize that the discoloration was where a chip had fallen free. The sight amused her, for she found it humorous – and somewhat comforting – to know that Galbatorix’s perfect chamber was not quite so perfect after all, and that, despite his pretensions otherwise, he was not omniscient or infallible.’ – I’m a sucker for a good metaphor. 😛
Writing Style: 5/5
Character Development: 4/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes, if you are a fan of the other books in the series.
Book Cover: http://www.readingrevels.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Inheritance-Inheritance-4-christopher-paolini.jpeg
Collection of books: http://www.fanpop.com