Review: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (Inheritance Cycle #4)

November 2011, Random House Children’s Books

Young Adult fantasy

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 chances.

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 much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.

What a long journey the Inheritance Cycle has been! From the first book about a poor 15-year-old farm boy to this final volume about a mighty Dragon Rider, the series has undeniably developed and matured along with its protagonist. I’ve been reading this series since I was about eleven years old, and I felt an acute sense of nostalgia as old characters and locations were revisited. The nostalgia wasn’t always entirely welcome, however: the long, arduous descriptions found throughout the series haven’t lessened in Inheritance, and neither have the meticulous political arrangements that are unlikely to fascinate the average reader.

Christopher Paolini is an excellent writer. For the majority of the book, though, I felt this talent was a bit overused. For the first six hundred pages or so, the vivid descriptions of people, landscapes, mental states, weather conditions, and nearly everything else were an inescapable impediment to the action and flow of the story. This, in turn, made me a thoroughly disengaged reader for the majority of the book, and was in part why it took me several months to plow my way through the novel. The overuse of description and slightly heavy-handed plot set-up are my only real complaints about Inheritance.

Once the action really gets going, as the plot nears its climax, Inheritance improves immensely. The heart-pounding action and suspense really kept the pages turning for me as the final confrontation grew near. Paolini’s characters are, as always, delightfully varied and skillfully painted, from the haunting witch child Elva to the despicable King Galbatorix himself. The world of Alagaësia is enthralling, and it’s clear that Paolini put much time and effort into its development. It’s world-building at its best, and the sort that I aspire to.

Most fans of the Inheritance Cycle have probably already readInheritance and are “tsk-tsk”-ing behind their computer screens at my slowness. Fans of high fantasy who haven’t started this series yet should definitely try it. It’s a difficult-at-times but rewarding reading experience.

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

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6 responses to “Review: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

  1. For me, Inheritance was a deceleration from the fast paced Eragon and Eldest. I thought that Brisingr was unnecessary and Paolini could have finished the series as the originally planned trilogy, however the parts on Vroengard and its mysteries were lovely and I released the breath I held since Eldest when I realized that *spoiler* Murtagh was alive! 😀 *spoiler*

  2. After finishing Inheritance, it was like a cold bucket of water straight to the face. I suddenly realized how immature Paolini really is. Holes that you couldn’t see in the first book were suddenly visible, and I wished he had written the entire series before publishing it, so that the flaws could be worked out. Nevertheless, I liked the book, and think your review is correct.
    Not to toot my own horn, but I would like it if you could read my official review of Inheritance: http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/inheritance-a-long-review/
    …as well as some other thoughts in this post: http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/more-on-dragons-the-kane-chronicles-writing/
    Thank you, and have a nice day.

  3. Great book series! Definitely much more than young adult fiction!

  4. although the book series is fun to read and in the real sense a good fiction, i feel that the last part of the book gets very lengthy and boring and cannot hold my interest. also galbatorix could have been a little more evil! on the whole it is a nice book to read.

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