I had been waiting for this final instalment of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle which began with Eragon. I had enjoyed the first three books, and I was keen to find out how the story would be wrapped up. The size of the book won’t disappoint Paolini’s fans – it is a good sized read.
I could definitely see the growth in Paolini’s writing from Eragon to Inheritance. His writing has matured. He has always had a gift for storytelling and a vividly imagined world, but in this final book I no longer felt like he was trying to impress me with his large vocabulary. He still obviously loves words, but his use of them has developed into something more subtle and mature.
In this final book, Eragon must face up to the coming show-down with Galbatorix. To be able to face him he must come to know himself better, and learn to trust his own abilities instead of relying on his mentor’s advice. He must face his fears and sense of inadequacy. He must come to terms with complicated relationships with Arya and Murtagh. He and Saphira must make sacrifices for the greater good.
The book explores themes of redemption and love, of courage and honour. Many of the characters are faced with who they are, what they have done, and what they are going to become – knowledge of ourselves can be painful, but it gives us the chance to make better choices in the future.
I mostly enjoyed this book and the wrapping up of Paolini’s epic tale. As always I loved the portrayal of Angela the Herbalist, and the sections from a dragon’s perspective. I was, however, a little disappointed by the very end. I see why Paolini wrote the ending he did, but I can’t help wondering if it would have been different if he started writing the series now, with a bit more experience and maturity. I don’t want to discourage people from reading the book, however. If you haven’t read the Inheritance Cycle and you enjoy epic fantasy, I do recommend it. Christopher Paolini is a gifted writer and I really look forward to whatever he does next.