Inheritance

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by Christopher Paolini

Published: 2011

So, here we have the final book in Paolini’s series.  In Book #4, Eragon and Saphria finally meet their nemesis, after much gory battling across the countryside, plus a little side journey to an island, and lots of gossip with the ancient dragons.

As I mentioned in my review of Brisingrthis series just really began to drag for me.  It was so serious and intense.  Four 800-page books, and not a SINGLE line that made me smile.  Nothing.  That is an awful lot of time spent without a spark of fun.  Throughout, and especially in the last two books, they read more like non-fiction than fiction, just non-fiction of a fictional place, if that makes sense.  I really did not enjoy this book at all; I just wanted to see how everything ended.  I’ll rant about that in the spoiler-filled ‘read more’ section.  Suffice to say for now, this series wasn’t worth the effort for me.  I would never read them again, and I wouldn’t ever recommend them to someone else.  I experienced basically no emotion from them.  I never particularly bonded with the characters, never really cared about their fate or was inspired to any kind of passion for their goals.  For me, the story was incredibly neutral.  If they’d gotten to the end and lost, I really wouldn’t have been that upset.

This book, and the series as a whole: 2/5.

Below: spoiler-filled rant about the way this book ended…

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Brisingr

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by Christopher Paolini

Published: 2008

This is Book #3 in Paolini’s Inheritance series, and in many ways it is a ramp-up to the big conclusion in Book #4 (Inheritance).

I have to admit that by about a third of the way through this book, my interest in the entire series was beginning to wane.  Eragon and Saphria spend so much time wandering from place to place, trying to figure out what is going on, trying to understand what is happening.  The magic gets progressively more complicated and convoluted, and there is TOO MUCH description of battle scenes.  I just don’t need to hear for the umpteenth time that so-and-so’s sword is capable of slicing through a man’s armor, flesh, and bone like a hot knife through butter.  I get the idea.

I’ve already finished the final book, and will be writing that review shortly, so let me suffice to say here that at this point, the series seems to drag a bit, and by Book #4 it was more of a grueling marathon than anything resembling enjoyable fictional reading for me.  Brisingr is a 2/5.

Eldest

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by Christopher Paolini

Published 2005

This is the second book in Paolini’s Inheritance series (the first is Eragon) and continues the story of Eragon and Saphria.  Eldest was a little lighter on the action than the first book.  Throughout, Eragon and Saphria spend most of their time hanging out with the elves, receiving more training and education from them.  Still, as with Eragon, the author does a good job of creating a story that fits as its own story, yet serves as a link between stories as well.  Most of the action in Eldest takes place away from Eragon, with Eragon’s cousin (Roran) and with the Varden (the group of rebels seeking to overthrow the evil king) as they prepare for war.  Paolini’s pacing was good, spending a few chapters with each character before switching.  I appreciated the fact that he didn’t leave a character on a complete and total cliffhanger before switching to the next; sometimes the cliffhangers can be really distracting because I’m not able to enjoy the next section of the book.  He did a good job keeping me interested in everyone.

Overall (I’m halfway through the third book now), these books have been enjoyable.  However, I don’t see them becoming classics for me personally, because they are completely devoid of any humor.  They are serious and intense stories, epic, but not a single smile to leaven the tale.  That’s a deal-breaker for me, because I feel that a sense of humor can help you put life into perspective, and I have trouble relating to characters who never laugh.

Still, they are good stories and definitely worth the read. I’m intrigued to see how everything comes together.  For Eldest, 3/5.

Eragon

by Christopher Paolini

Published: 2002

So I apparently forgot to take a picture of this book before sending it back to the library.  Sorry about that.  But you know what it looks like:  thick, blue, with a dragon on the front?

Somehow, these books have been published for about ten years now, and I’m just now getting around to reading them.  I’m not sure why.  Because of their popularity, I was skeptical of them, but I am about 2/3 through the second book (Eldest) and so far, so good.

Eragon manages to be a plot-setting book while still telling a story.  The first book in a “epic” series can often degrade into mere background and character introduction, but Paolini manages to accomplish that while still allowing a story to move along.  He has created a world that is consistent and characters who are relateable.  As another bonus, he did not end the book on a cliffhanger.  While there were plenty of open-ended story-lines to follow for the rest of the series, the author did a nice job wrapping up the loose ends for that particular book, which I like.  Overall, I felt that the book was very well-paced.

For me, the main drawback was a personal whim–I get so aggravated with books that involve multiple fictional languages, meaning that I constantly have to flip to the glossary at the back of the book.  I understand the dramatic reality it (sort of) portrays (a la Tolkien), but to me, it’s just a distraction.  Every time there is an tense meeting between multiple races, the flow of the conversation is lost by the fact that two or three languages are being spoken.  Paolini doesn’t do it too much, which is almost more annoying…  just the first sentence of everyone’s paragraph is in their native language, then they apparently either revert back to the common language, or Paolini decides to translate the rest for us, I’m not sure which.  Either way, it irritates me.

Still, an overall very enjoyable read, and I am definitely finishing out the series.  4/5.