Christopher Paolini – Inheritance

  Author: Christopher Paolini

Title: Inheritance
Series: Inheritance Cycle
Published: November 2011
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Length: 849 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Why I picked it up: Fan of the series
Rating: 3/4 stars
Challenges: 100+
Buy: IndieBound | Chapters | Check your local bookstore!

At long last! We have reached the end of what came to be known as the Inheritance Cycle. It was a long haul, but I think in the end it was worth it. I felt proud of Paolini for making it this far, it was very nice to see the maturation of style and plot elements between Eragon and this concluding novel. I first read Eragon in grade seven and immediately loved/hated it. I enjoyed reading the books, but didn’t think the story anything too special and the style a bit over the top. But still, I liked reading the story and I liked the idea that it was written by a guy my age, it was very inspiring to me. After the first book, however, I felt like the story really grew into something that was distinctly Paolini. I’m conflicted about the four star rating I’m giving this book. I liked it but I’m not sure what I think about the work as a whole and I don’t think I can critique it critically at all, speaking as a learning writer as I normally like to – I’ve got too much history with the series. So, while I can’t really explain whether this is a good book or not and whether I really loved it, I did make a lot of notes on what I liked and didn’t like, so let’s get to that first.  



***The rest of this post contains SPOILERS.***

 Didn’t Like:

  • The Daethdart – Or however the heck you spell it. Like death except screwy. This weapon came out of nowhere and ended up being the key to beating Galbatorix. It was never mentioned in any of the other books. Just, poof, oh look, now we have this awesome weapon, deus ex machina to the extreme, I have never seen such a blatant case of it. I was disappointed and frustrated that Paolini would have to resort to such a technique.
  • Queen Arya – I see no reason for her to have become Queen. Blah. It completely goes against her character. The story would have been the exact same (minus some fretting about how Arya can be ruler and, at the same time, remain an impartial Rider); her becoming Queen was pointless. 
  • Firnen – Augggghihitypqieuouiut. How absolutely painfully unsatisfying. The hatching of the green dragon should have played a major role in this novel. The last dragon egg! Will it hatch for Galbatorix or will it hatch for the Varden? Etc, etc. But no, the green dragon’s role is reduced to a plot ‘hole’ that gets wrapped up with some of the other stories in the last hundred or so pages. Bah. How…disappointing. Such a word is apt for what should have been a much stronger conclusion to such a supposedly-epic tale.
  • Eragon gone forever – This made absolutely no sense. There was no one single reason for ahh
  • Pacing – Quite a few segments of the book, a lot more than I would normally tolerate, were dragged out. The capturing of various cities is a good example. They were interesting to read but very lengthy. As with Murakami’s 1Q84, though, this didn’t really bother me until I thought about it afterwards, as I was only concentrating on getting through the book. Such scenes would be very difficult to get through on a second read; I would do a lot more skimming. If I were to recommend this book to someone, I would warn them about that. 

Neutral:

  • Murtagh and Nasuada – I was going to put this in like, but then I thought of a bunch of things I didn’t like, then I was conflicted, so I made a neutral category 😛 I liked that we got to see a lot of them. I liked that they were together in some way and that hint of romance was there again between them. But I was sad that they couldn’t be together and I was sad that we saw so little of Murtagh after the conflict was over and that he just vanished and that was that. I has happy that Nasuada got to be Queen, she was deserving of that at least.

Liked:

  • Eragon and Arya’s relationship – I actually really appreciated how their relationship was developing in Brisingr and Inheritance. It was painful watching him pine after her in the beginning, but at least it was believable. The direction in which their relationship develops in the later books is also realistic – he works to control his feelings and they become very good friends, as they should be in the positions they find themselves in. I am happy they did not end up together because that just wouldn’t have felt right. The way their relationship ended fit how it was developing. However, after I thought about all this, I realized that the sudden display of romantic interest from Arya towards the end kind of ruined the steady build to a strong, neutral friendship between the two. It felt like a road bump, a strange and awkward turn in the development of their relationship, but at least the whole thing ended up back on track. Overall, I was satisfied with how their relationship played out. It was different from your typical hero gets girl story. 
  •  Defeating Galbatorix – Okay, there was really only one thing I specifically liked about this and that was Eragon forcing Galbatorix to understand. In any great conflict, the one question you’re always shouting at yourself is ‘Why can’t he just understand?’ I realize this works for both sides, and if Galbatorix tried this on Eragon there would have been problems. But that’s why I think this was so neat, this question was screaming at Eragon for so long and then finally, at the end, he has the ability to make Galbatorix understand, with devastating effects. I thought that was neat.
  • Inside the Vault of Souls – There was one thing I never, ever expected to see from this series and that was the proper reestablishment of dragons. I never expected more dragons to be found, I never expected there to be a solid hope for their comeback. I don’t know why, I just didn’t feel like that was something that was going to happen. So when Eragon opened the vault and found not just Eldunari (this didn’t surprised too much, after Glaedr crushed the idea that their might be Eldunari I got suspicious…) but hundreds of dragon eggs, I was pleasantly surprised. I hope I’m not the only one who was blown away by this revelation 😛

That’s really all I have to say for now – these are my relatively immediate impressions, the first things I thought of while reading. I realize that a lot of my views on Inheritance may differ from popular opinion…this book provided a lot to think about, especially in context with the rest of the series. I’m sure my own opinions will change over time and upon a good reread of the entire series. But for now, I’m mostly content with how the cycle concluded, even if certain aspects slightly infuriated me ;P