Today’s guest post is from my friend Diana, who reviewed Inheritance (Book 4) by Christopher Paolini. I didn’t get a chance to review this book myself, and I’m thankful Diana is here to provide you with some great insights!!
Guest Book Review: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
An avid reader, I have been looking forward to reading Inheritance since the fateful day in September 2008 when I finished Brisingr only to be met with a letter from Mr. Paolini himself informing me that I would need to wait for a final installment to find out what ultimately happens to Saphira and Eragon.
This being said, I think Paolini had a lot to make up for in this book, and this conclusion was set to be the most exciting installment yet. Needless to say, my expectations for this 850 page finale were quite high and there were so many questions running through my head and I wondered how he was going to answer them sufficiently.
Here are some of the questions that I expected to be answered in Inheritance, the final installment and some that I hoped would be answered too.
1How will Eragon and Galbatorix finally face off and to what outcome? A fairly obvious question, I know, but this is what the entire series has focused on, so it was the number one question on my list, considering the build up to this point.
2What is going to happen to Thorn and Murtagh? Will they be rehabilitated? While Murtagh’s character took a turn for the worse in the second book, I cannot help but feel sorry for him and I hope to see him and Thorn freed from Galbatorix’s influence.
3What will happen between Eragon and Arya? Their relationship has been tumultuous and Arya has made it fairly clear that she wants nothing to do with Eragon romantically, but as the series has progressed they seemed to develop a closer bond. Will this bond eventually lead to the relationship that Eragon has been hoping for?
4What happens to Sloan? Does he ever regain his sight? Do Roran and Katrina ever discover that he is still alive?
5There is a green dragon on the cover? Is there another rider or does the final egg hatch? For which side? For who? My guesses: Roran, Arya, or one of the other elves.
6What is the Rock of Kuthian and the Vault of Souls? My guess is that it has something to do with the dragons heart of hearts, or Eldunari, but where is it and how does Eragon find it?
7. What about Elva? Will she help defeat Galbatorix or will she turn against Eragon and Nasuada?
8Where did Angela come from? Why does she know so much? Angela is one of the most mysterious and intriguing characters of the series and I am obsessed with back stories. For instance, although the Dark Knight has been claimed to be one of the best Batman movies to date, it bothered me so much that the Joker did not have a background (while it has been explained to me that this was on purpose, I want to know why he is the way he is so badly!). I have this same obsession with the character of Angela the herbalist.
9In Brisingr, Eragon meets an eccentric old man, Tenga, who is searching for the answer to “the question.” Who is Tenga and what is he searching for? What relevance does this play in the overall plot of the novel?
10Also in Brisingr, Eragon and Saphira bless two women. I have a feeling that they have some role yet to play, and I am curious to know how they will factor into this conclusion.
11To retrieve the material to make his sword, Eragon and Saphira assault the Menoa Tree and she exacts a price from him. Eragon stated that he felt a strange tug in his gut. Which leads to the question of what the Menoa Tree took from him.
Finishing Inheritance was like saying goodbye to an old friend, but an old friend you had not seen in years and were sorely disappointed by how they had changed, which made it even harder to say goodbye. For me, Paolini left too many questions unanswered and left the reader wanting. There was just too much left unsaid.
In Paolini’s defense, he mentioned in his customary letter to the readers that while he is done with Eragon and Saphira’s story, he is planning on returning to Alagaesia, and purposefully left some of the characters’ backgrounds and side stories unexplained purposefully. I get it, the kid needs to make a living, but I am also tired of waiting for answers.
I guarantee I will read whatever he publishes next, but the more he leaves unsaid, the higher my, and I would be willing to bet other readers’, expectations become. It almost seems as though he is setting himself up for failure.
As for the story, the ending was predictable and anti-climatic, if a tad more depressing than I expected. The ending felt rushed, if slightly incomplete, and as I have already stated at length, left the reader wanting more. At times, it seemed as though Paolini glossed over some of the more important aspects of the storyline, but spent too much time describing events that were not integral to the storyline and could have easily been cut out altogether.
I think he may have set himself too strict a goal. Aspiring to write the series in three books, and then in four, he left himself no room to maneuver and it shows. I think he could have done a better job if the series had been five or six books instead of four, but because he gave his readers a promise of three books, and then tricked us, and turned to four, it would have looked terrible had he gotten to the end of Inheritance and simply said, “Hey guys, sorry for doing this again, but I need another book.” He backed himself into the proverbial corner, and Inheritance suffered for it. I just hope he plans better for his future novels.
Griping aside, I still admire Christopher Paolini and the world and characters he created. Writing this series is an amazing accomplishment for someone barely a quarter of a century old. Inheritance was a fun read, despite its flaws, and an enjoyable book. I am interested to see what Paolini puts out next, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Thanks again to Diana for this fabulous review of Inheritance!!