Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: Inheritance

Ok, so I'll admit to reading all four of the Eragon books. They're...ok. I mostly read them because I read everything in the house, usually more than once, and because my wife bought each installment basically on its release date. I'm not sure why, as I am pretty sure she has yet to actually read them.
 
In any event, Inheritance is the conclusion of the four book series, in which Eragon and Saphira finally confront Galbatorix (that's a tough sentence on my spell checker!) and their destinies. Without spoiling too much, or touching on the other installments (which I have not reveiewed as I think I read them before this blog), let's give it a quick run down.
 
PROS:
 
  • If you have already read the previous three installments, this one does a pretty good job of tying up loose ends. You know how I despise loose ends. Paolini even does a decent job of cleverly tying in some foreshadowing I had forgotten about, all the way from book one! No small feat.
  • There are some truly clever uses of magic, which, while magic works the way he says it does in his own fictional universe, is still surprising. He makes things happen within the world that you would not have thought of, while still living within the 'rules' he has laid down about what you can and cannot do with magic.
CONS:
 
  • Superfluous characters. Readers of the first three will know what I am talking about here. There are some characters in this series that the story really could do without. They don't get better here.
  • Dragging. Some segments drag on needlessly. Segments on Vroengard, and in the castle at Uru-Baen leap to mind.
  • The ending. Maybe since Mass Effect 3 I am super sensitive about endings, but this one was not great. I think I would have been happier if the story had just ended about 75 pages earlier and Paolini gave us a 'Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!' style ending.
  • Not Tolkien. This ties in with the above point. In this installment, the story takes a turn into the Tolkien-esque. Sometimes these comparisons are inevitable, as so much of modern fantasy literature borrows from Tolkien, but Inheritance, especially the last few chapters, really reminds me of the conclusion of 'The Return of the King.' The series had done a pretty good job of staying its own course until here, and I hate that it lost its way.
I know this seems harsh, as I did, against all odds, rather enjoy this series. It was a good book for all that I have more cons listed than pros, but I limited the pros since so much of what I liked would be spoilers, and I try to steer clear of that here. If you read the first three, obviously this is a read. If you haven't read the series, and are looking for a good chunk of sometimes tedious, but always innovative (until the end anyway) high magic fantasy, give these a go.

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