I have not been the greatest proponent of Christopher Paolini’s work. Eragon was filled with such potential and a great story and world that I immediately looked forward to sequels that would see the author grow in his craft. Sadly, for the next two books, Eldest and Brisingr did not live up to that potential. Poor storytelling and a massive and distressing reliance upon in-world magic to solve anything and everything delivered stories that were, in many ways, useless.
So you can imagine my trepidation stepping into reading the fourth and final instalment in the ‘Inheritance Cycle’, Inheritance.
Colour me absolutely surprised because I really liked it.
Paolini’s world has always interested me, as have his characters and the overall story he was telling. Roran, Arya and Murtagh are three of the most interesting characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. This continued into Inheritance and in all but one aspect I was really pleased with how Paolini treated them and the conclusion to their stories.
Eragon has always been a bit of a frustrating character, revelling in juvenile behaviour that didn’t seem quite true; not enough to make his actions anything other than detestable.
The conclusion to this story – which Paolini addresses in his acknowledgements, is not actually the conclusion of his time with Alagaesia – is satisfying, mostly. The overarching story takes its end with maybe a hundred pages to go, which I actually always like. I like being able to see life after the ‘big battle’ is over.
However this is where things get tricky. The remaining chapters are a little too much like Tolkien’s last three chapters to his The Lord of the Rings; ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘The Scouring of the Shire’, and ‘The Grey Havens’.
On top of that Paolini is obviously working off a plan to not finish this series here. Over and over again there are blatant hints that we will be returning to find out about character after character after character. The greatest ‘unfulfilled’ portion left me very upset – both in my enjoyment of the book and in the failure of ‘it’ to happen – because it seemed like nothing more than a push to make me read future books.
And now, finally, we address Paolini’s greatest failing; magic.
For him, in all of his books so far, it has been the answer to everything. No matter what the situation, magic can solve it. Need to get through a metal door? Just turn your staff into a lightsaber. Find yourself in low-earth-orbit? Magic’s got you covered. Found yourself in a radiated landscape? Yep, magic can protect you from that as well.
And with magic apparently cut off from our heroes, it’s still magic that saves the day, albeit a different magic. It is storytelling at its worst. Don’t think through a problem, just have magic cut through it so you don’t have to do the work.
Overall, yes, I enjoyed the book. Paolini has finally grown as a writer, but that should have happened a long time ago. Yes, I will read future books he publishes; I look forward to returning to Alagaesia and the characters therein. I wish however he hadn’t telegraphed his return so obviously, and rushed through the ending leaving so many plot-holes dangling around the place.
Have you read the first three books? Go out and buy this one, you’ll enjoy it. Did you hate book two and three like I did? I promise, you’ll still enjoy this one. Never read Paolini before? Quit it; go read James Barclay.
Review by Joshua S Hill
7 positive reader review(s) for Inheritance
Andrea Marie from USA
I have to admit that Inheritance was something. I've always enjoyed Christopher Paolini books. He is such a talented writer and has that gift to bring readers into the story of the book he has written. He is my favorite author by all others.
Alex from Australian
Seriously... the book was up and down the whole way through. I like some bits yes, but definitely got very annoyed at some part of the story. It was the best writing out of all the books but was it the best book i dont think so. For me it seems like he really rushed the story while writing it and didnt think it through, the ending just took a inch to long. But i still do love alot of things he put in the story and he just made me wanting to keep reading. He left alot of unanswered questions but i assume thats for the fifth book of the series. I still recommend this series for whoever loves high fantasy because his world building is really well thought out...
Noa from US
I APPOLOGISE FOR ANY SPOILERS I agree and disagree with many statements in this critiscism. I've looked at Paolini's work, and know I might never come accross anyone like him or his books. Forgive me, for I am young, but I love his books. After reading, I cant look at any other book the same. Urgals, seemingly mindless brutes, have a complex culture, which Paolini just seemed to have touched on. It was better than Eldest, because, in my opinion, all Eragon did was sit on his a...butt and only in the end was there a thrilling battle and plot twist. I think the characters in the story were human, and though I cant relate to many, I can just understand. Plus, how many people at age thirty something can write 870 pages and not get boring?Im a very high level reader for my age, and it was hard for me to find challenging books. And again, i cant look at books without criticising at least 5 times, per 100 page *estimate*. Immediately after reading this series for the second time, I tryed to read The Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix, but it didnt catch my attention. In Inheritince, there were many fast paced battle scenes, politics, (lost) love, and decisions that can impact everything. Yes, cliche moments, but for the most part, a good read. I appologise if it sounds like im Griping and whining, but those are my thoughts. One last comment, BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!
Lorenzo Von Matterhorn from Yugoslavia
Good conclusion to my favorite chilhood series. Paolini did his best to tie up all loose ends and I can respect that VERY much. The ending could be seen from the very beginning and it made me a little sad to see it literally come true.
From from From
I am giving Inheritance a nine because even though I love the series so much, it was so sad that I cried alone in a dark hole for like a week.
Balrog from India
This was a disappointing book though a great improvement over book 3, which was terrible and didn't seem to be a book in itself. Moreover it was filled with unneeded crap and there was no plot advancement. In this book CP didn't do anything great and there were no surprises or twists in the book. Overall the book was fine but I was expecting more, the final battle was also unsatisfying. CP's writing style is fine and I think the correct rating is given in the review. Overall don't expect any surprises as most of the things pan out as guessed before though some of the reasons for the things which happen to happen are actually hilarious if given some thought. It's hard to believe the series has ended, though read it if you have read the previous books but don't expect any surprises.
Nathan from Pamilan
I think the book was great, though perhaps Paolini let go of a huge potential lined up for the book. Firstly too much stress has been given on Roran and his endeavours seem somewhat more worthy than that of Eragon's, which is a bit of a let down. Also the concluding death of Galbatorix wasn't as mystifying as I wanted it to be. Of course, the fight with Murtagh was a nice one but a good solid fight with the Emperor, tinged with a bit of twist, might have made the book unputdownable. And the decision Arya makes is a bit painful yet one that commands respect and that was great. No complaints about the usage of magic. Overall the book was great. Perhaps we folks expected too much of the book.
Ed from Pa
Listen here. Im getting really tired of everyone complaining about Paolini's use of magic. If you read something and critize it and say "that couldnt happen" then u might as well not read it at all. Secondly, if you think you could write the book better I would like to see you try. You would fail miserably, as would I. All im saying is show some respect cause its one hell of a series that I couldnt forget if i tryed. I felt as if I were there and now that its over, theres nothing. Anyway remember you suck,especially josh hill the guy that wrote this, and Paolini rocks
Ethan from US
It was overall an okay book that definitely ended the series but so much more could have been done to make it a "great" book.
Ricardo Abreu from Portugal
Riley, I agree with you but I think that if you want to read about truly amazing characters you should read Robin Hobb (Sorry if you have already read it :p)
Riley from United States
With any brilliant story, the weakness just highlight the strengths. To give this book a 6 does not do it justice. The book resonates on a level that is deeply reflective of the duality of human nature. It you have suspended your disbelief as you read and accept Paolini's world as real, then magic is the fabric that makes things possible. Imagine having that much responsibility and power thrust into your hands at such a young age. His characters show what it is to be flawed but yet they try to do what is right and maintain hope in a world that does not offer much hope. To quote another another great writer Brent Weeks "Hope isn't vibrant unless it has to be chosen over despair. Redemption is cheap unless there's a suffocating darkness in which even a hero is tempted to hide."
William from Los Angelas
This review is spot on with its complaints and most of its compliments. The book was worth a read for anybody who's read the previous books, even if they hated Brisngr like I myself. This book is better than Eragon, and I think it's kind of equal with Eldest. I never liked Paolini's use of magic, it was always so unoriginally boring. But his battle scenes were nicely done, but he has far too much descriptions here and there. The ending was indeed long which I do like, but it just felt too slow. The three characters weren't as great as you said they were, but they are the best if that means anything (though I wasn't huge on Eragon, but Arya and Murtagh were better). Anyways, the book is worth a read, but I can name so many series that are MUCH better than the Inheritance Cycle. Though it was a nice conclusion for a final to a series and I give the talented Christopher Paolini congrats on his well deserved achievements.
8.1/10 from 13 reviews