Book Review : Inheritance

Book Review : InheritanceInheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4) by Christopher Paolini
Published by Alfred A. Knopf on November 8th 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 849
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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 further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost?

This is the spellbinding conclusion to Christopher Paolini's worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.

Inheritance is the final book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Although I did not like it as much as its predecessor, Brisingr, I enjoyed the conclusion to the series as a whole. Paolini’s writing, although predisposed to weird metaphors and lots of telling and not showing, was at its height. The romance was not as saccharine and I even enjoyed Murtagh and Nasuada’s subtle feelings. I loved the amount of time the author spent on what came after the final battle with Galbatorix, but I disliked the battle itself and was not pleased with the big reveal of the novel or the way many things were left unsatisfyingly unresolved.

 

The writing in Inheritance bothered me the least out of all the novels. Instead of being absolutely littered and polluted with bizarre metaphors everywhere, Paolini kept it to a minimum. I’d say that I skimmed the least amount in this book than I did in any others of the Inheritance Cycle, not including all the parts with Roran—face it, he’s boring, his actions and motivations were boring, and I really could never care less about his feelings, especially when they almost never did anything to drive the plot forwards. Though the beginning of the book was slow, and for some reason spends an inordinate amount of time on a minor character giving birth to a baby with a cleft palate that Eragon must incidentally heal—once it picked up, I was hooked. My biggest complaint about the writing technique was that it again involved a lot of telling and not showing and that the author spent way too much time describing things that simply were not important—such as storms and some kind of ritual rock building out of dirt—and not enough time on things that actually mattered, like the last battle with Galbatorix and the actual development of Eragon and Arya’s friendship.

 

I was shocked by the huge reveal of Inheritance, which seemed so improbable that it felt almost like a retcon. When Eragon decided to heed the rest of Solembum the werecat’s advice and to seek out the Vault of Souls, located at the old Rider island of Vroengard, I never in a million years expected him to find what he did—View Spoiler »

 

This revelation seemed to render all the struggles Eragon and Saphira, Brom, and Oromis and Glaedr went through pretty meaningless. Plus, once Eragon received the help of View Spoiler » Glaedr’s role as teacher and mentor to Eragon and Saphira was reduced to practically nothing, which really disappointed me. I thought his role was important for other reasons as well—as Glaedr’s despair over the death of his Rider served as a constant warning for Eragon and Saphira to protect one another.  Though I was happy that there were View Spoiler »

 

Mixed feelings about the reveal aside, it was certain to me that this book definitely did the best job of the entire series at romance. Katrina and Roran’s interactions were kept to a minimum, thank god, and I loved Murtagh and Nasuada’s development of feelings. Though it was a tad bit annoying, but not too surprising, when the author merely told readers that they talked of a lot of trivial things and didn’t actually show readers the conversation and deeper connection happening. But still I was very impressed with this exchange between the two, which in my opinion, trounced every other romantic moment in the series:

 

 

“As he was about to leave, she said, ‘Murtagh.’ He paused and turned to regard her. She hesitated for a moment, then mustered her courage and said, ‘Why?’ She thought he understood her meaning: Why her? Why save her, and now why try to rescue her? She had guessed at the answer, but she wanted to hear him say it. He stared at her for the longest while, and then, in a low, hard voice, he said, ‘You know why.’”

 

 

So I was dismayed when at the end of the novel, after all Murtagh had done for NasuadaView Spoiler » But what irritated me even more, was despite the fact that Angela the herbalist predicted Eragon would have an “epic romance” in the first novel,View Spoiler »

 

View Spoiler »

 

Personally, I would much rather read a novel where Eragon and Arya rebuilt the riders together and patrolled the skies on their dragons—who got to know each other over time and didn’t jump into a mating ritual right away. To me, their separation, especially after Arya got her own dragon, just seemed like a major cop out—all building up to something that would never happen—when she could have easily visited, maintaining her much-loved position as ambassador by simply changing it to the ambassador for the Elves to the Riders. 

 

I was similarly dismayed that Murtagh and Thorn did not join Eragon and Saphira either, stating that they would need to recover from Galbatorix’s machinations and enslavement of them on their own. It would have been more touching for the two to rebuild the Riders and their broken friendship together as brothers. But it seemed like the novel hinted at more adventures for Murtagh and Thorn in the future, which I would honestly love to read.

 

Perhaps what irritated me the most about Inheritance’s ending was the final battle with the most powerful sorcerer and Dragon Rider in the world, Galbatorix.View Spoiler »

 

Another thing that really unsettled me about the ending, was that Galbatorix’s motivations weren’t entirely evil, those his means certainly often were. I was shocked when he revealed to Nasuada that his goal was just to control the magic of the world, so that magic casters could not hurt other people whenever they wanted:

 

 

It is not threat to me. No one and nothing is. However, spellcasters are a threat to the proper function of this realm, and that I shall not tolerate. Once I have bound every magician in the world to the laws of the land, imagine the peace and prosperity that shall reign. No more shall men or dwarves have to fear elves. No more shall Riders be able to impose their will on others. No more shall those who cannot use magic be prey for those who can. . . . Alagaësia will be transformed, and with our newfound safety, we will build a more wondrous tomorrow. . . .”

 

This does not seem like an entirely evil thing to do, and not something I at all considered as a problem, because magic use and magic fighting, especially by the invasion of the mind, was so normalized in the novels. There were never any overt occurrences of families being attacked in the night by magic users, or anything similar, so I was kind of confused that this was his big, evil end goal. It was even more befuddling, when High Queen Nasuada, took up the same exact cause after Galbatorix’s death and wanted Eragon to start and to oversee a type of magical police. Um, why exactly did everyone defeat Galbatorix if they were going to do the same exact thing as him?

 

Despite this logical hiccup, I loved how much time the novel spent on what came after the final battle. In so many similar novels, the series will simply end with the last big fight or with a short, happy epilogue (I’m looking at you Harry Potter), but no the Inheritance Cycle. Almost every character was revisited, and their plans discussed. View Spoiler » This resolution was something I felt the entire series was working up to with the inclusion of all races in the fight against Galbatorix. I was proud of Eragon for sensing the potential for unrest in the future and for stopping it before it could grow in his absence. It only took four novels, but the boy finally got some foresight and presence of mind.

 

Again, I wished this newfound wisdom and maturity would have led to more of a relationship with Arya, but I guess the readers can’t have everything. I was also disappointed at the reveal of Fírnen, which seemed rather nonchalant after waiting the entire series to find out who the last Rider would be and what their dragon would be like. From the cover of Inheritance, I was expecting a wise and deadly dragon, not what amounted to a virtual fluffball and lover, not a fighter. View Spoiler »

 

Though I was not happy with how everything was done in Inheritance, I really did enjoy both the book and the series as a whole, often in spite of the writing. Despite the Inheritance Cycle’s many flaws, I am still happy to know how the series ended and would read another installment of the series in a heartbeat. After all, I’d love to read about Eragon’s training of the new Riders, Murtagh and Thorn’s adventures, Nasuada’s rule as High Queen, Arya’s training as Rider, the first Urgal and Dwarven Riders, and to discover what those shadowy creatures on Vroengard were and if the Ra’Zac and Galbatorix were really gone.

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Book Review - Inheritance - Blogging with Dragons

Posted September 28, 2018 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Young Adult

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