My book review today is of the novel Inheritance, the fourth and final book in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle.
So what is this book about?
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 hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaesia? And if so, at what cost?
My first impressions? It was an enjoyable read. I had fun, and towards the end I reached a point where I couldn't put the book down. So yes, an enjoyable read.
It wasn't the bore that Eragon was, which is a relief. I didn't expect it to be, because Brisingr was one that I actually enjoyed very much so I expected to like Inheritance as well. It was still nice not to be proven wrong.
The characters are all interesting, and I actually cared what happened to them this time around. Paolini even managed to bring me to tears at one point, which pleasantly surprised me. I don't necessarily like crying, but the fact that I cared enough about these characters to cry during an emotional scene was a refreshing change to the way I've been viewing this series previously.
I loved this book, I won't lie. The story was interesting and and kept me turning pages, the characters were vibrant, the book as a whole was well paced. I was never bored, that's for sure. Paolini also managed to surprise me in a specific plot twist (which I won't go into detail about because of spoilery reasons...). The previous three books have felt rather predictable, and though most of this book was as well, there was a major point that took me by surprise and I appreciated that. The story has come a long way from Eragon, and being surprised by a plot twist was just one more example of that.
I will say that Paolini's descriptions and convoluted prose still isn't my thing. The writing certainly isn't as stiff as Eragon was, but I'm not a huge fan of his prose. Also, his choice of words when describing things often takes me out of story for a moment while I do a double-take, so that can be distracting and put a damper on the experience as a whole. One such instance was during a one-on-one fight scene where he described the two men wrestling each other, trying to kill one another, in this way: "their embrace as intimate as any lovers" um....do lovers usually try to kill each other? I wouldn't personally know, but I imagine not. Or maybe fighting is more romantic than I assumed? I don't believe the answer to either of those questions is yes, so why he described that fight in such a manner, I don't know.
One other complaint I have is a simple one of continuity. Fair warning, I'm about to rant. Now, for any avid readers of the Inheritance Cycle, please correct me if I am wrong. I want to be corrected. I want there to be an explanation to this, because right now it just drives me crazy. I hate things that don't make sense.
Here's what I'm talking about, in a nutshell: (I suppose I should put a SPOILERS warning here...skip this paragraph if you're concerned about me spoiling things for you...)
Roran goes to the city Aroughs in Chapter 12. He arrives in Chapter 16. At the very end of Chapter 17 we learn that Murtagh and Thorn are at Dras-Leona with the Varden. We spend Chapters 18-22 with Roran and his company sacking Aroughs...and then in Chapter 22 when Roran gives his report to Nasuada--all of which we see--he says "I'm not about to stay here, injuries or no injuries, while my wife and unborn child sit camped less than a mile away from Murtagh and his dragon!" How in the name of anything did Roran know about Murtagh and Thorn? He wasn't with the Varden when they discovered that bit of information. It is possible Nasuada mentioned them, except that there is no part of the conversation between Roran and Nasuada that we don't see. The only part that isn't written out word for word is when Roran faints, but he couldn't have learned of Murtagh and Thorn then because he was unconscious...so when on earth did he learn about them? How does he know they are there? He has had no communication with Nasuada or Eragon since he set out for Aroughs and they didn't run into Murtagh and Thorn until after his departure...ugh. I hate inconsistencies. Can you tell?
Aside from that one apparent error that drove me crazy early on in the book, and my dislike of Paolini's descriptions and prose, I don't have a lot of complaints about this book. And for the latter complaint, it really wasn't as much of a bother with this book as previous ones. So all in all--aside from my rant--I have little negativity to offer. I loved this book.
I loved the story, I loved the characters. It was good book.
Would I read this book again? Undoubtedly.
Would I recommend this book to others? Definitely.
I've come to a point where I've decided recommending Eragon and Eldest to people is a necessity that cannot be avoided, because I whole-heartedly want people to enjoy Brisingr and especially Inheritance. You can't do that unless you know the full story...so now I'm changing my tune a bit and saying, yes, I might very well recommend Eragon and Eldest. But only as a whole series. On their own, I still say no, not worth the read.