[I’ve transferred this over from my tumblr account. Will be doing so for a few other entries I’ve done.]
Christopher Paolini’s Alagaësian adventure has become highly ranked in the league of the contemporary fantasy novel. Eragon, re-published worldwide in 2003 was a smash, I personally couldn’t put it down and it was the first novel since Harry Potter that I have been so enraptured with.
Eldest was much the same, as I was given the books for my birthday together. Brisingr, I waited for and it took me a record six months to read it. The Dwarf politics killed my imagination, much like the 2006 flop movie…
So when I heard Inheritance was being released earlier this year, I was somewhat apprehensive. I pre-ordered it anyway, because (as expected) I totally forgot I had until a nice thick Amazon packet arrived at my door in November. Now, I had a backlog of books and journals to read for university, but I put those aside to sample some of the last book of the series. I was not disappointed. Paolini’s time was spent well with this book. The bloody imagery used for his carefully depicted combat scenes were done perfectly. They were well paced and showed tactful geniuses from both sides. The relationship between Saphira and Eragon remains strong, but indeed flat in places. There is no test of friendship throughout the book for these characters and so the mystical, sacred bond is really only two-dimensional.
Ronan’s character developes at an alarming rate. Of course, readers would be devastated to hear of his death but as in Brisignr, he seems to be beatable, but not killable. I think this was a mistake. Ronan was indeed a strong character and a counter to Eragon’s superhuman abilities but Paolini was too soft with him. Call me morbid but the heartache of Ronan’s death would have been devastating for any reader and Katrina and their unborn child.
I was pleased to see a twist in the legacy of the dragons at the Vault of Souls, as convenient as it was, it brought hope and a sense of purpose to the rest of the tale and indeed, Eragon who is the only main character without a strong sense of purpose. (Galbatorix’s indirect killing of Garrow and Brom aside.) The introduction of the were-cats and the mystery behind them also satisfied my cravings of the minor characters although I am still left wondering at Angela. Her larger part in this novel seemed to be building towards an explanation that failed to come to light by the end and it seemed to be lost amidst Paolini’s rush to the finish-line.
As mentioned on entries before, I LOVE the hint at a potential love interest between Murtagh and Nasauda whilst she is held in captivity. It appeals to the weird, submissive-romantic within and cushions the disappointment that Eragon and Arya don’t even flippin’ kiss by the end. (After four books, seriously?) I love the focus on Nasauda, being one of my favourite characters and her time being tortured. (Although, fashioning a blade out of a spoon was entirely far-fetched and boyishly ridiculous.) Here we see not only her true character but the only real glimpse of Galbatorix for all of the series. Murtagh is brought under a confirming light that he is indeed good and becomes the beloved anti-hero of the Inheritance cycle.
The climax, the big battle, Eragon vs. Galbatorix – was not disappointing. The originality of Galbatorix’s defeat was brilliant, even if it did shed positively on Eragon’s irritating do-gooderness. The battle in general was fantastically spread out into chapters of gore and surprise. Unfortunately, it was then let down by six chapters of mundane tying-of-ends. The story seems to stop and lose sense of time as Eragon did this and then he went to do that and then over here and then over there. Firnen, hatched for Arya would have been more significant and important had they not already discovered the surviving dragon eggs and the breaking apart of Dragon Riders was disappointing. There was no great legacy to continue because the three riders split up to do their own thing. Eragon leaving Alagaesia was not something that should have happened. I understand the symbolism of leaving it to be govern by its divided races but the significance of the riders and their dragons seemed to lose meaning by the end and thus, creates a sense of fruitlessness to the series.
All in all it was a good conclusion to a great series, however unimaginative the concept may have been to begin with. But like so many novels, bits are always borrowed from another’s multiverse. Christopher Paolini should be proud of his accomplishment and take comfort that his books will definitely go down in my family and indeed many others who feel part of the cycle.