Monday, September 2, 2013


The fourth and last book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is Inheritance. If I remember correctly, this series started when Paolini was able to publish the first volume when he was 15 or 16 years old. I read the first three installments before I began this blog, so its been a while.

Eragon is the first book, titled after the main character; the series focuses on him throughout. Eragon is young man who starts out living with his uncle, and undergoes a series of life-changing events that eventually puts him in the center of his world in not much of a span of time. Watching the young man grow from a farm boy to a leader, and all the struggles that come with that, is the personal story driver that winds throughout the series, but the external action is keeps the story fun. Eragon and friends certainly get into their share of scrapes.

If the series has any draw backs I would say that the first book suffers a little bit from the youth of Paolini as a writer. Paolini has two parents in the book business which helped him get going by self-publishing Eragon themselves. The book came to the attention of Knopf who contacted Paolini and made arrangements to publish the second edition of Eragon, and the rest of the series. I think Knopf editors helped with the book when they got hold of it, but I could feel the writing growing up with the writer as I read through the series. The writing in this last volume was pretty good.

Second, this series was a little long. I know when folks read The Lord of the Rings, they wish it wouldn't end, and Tolkien commented himself that people had complained to him that it was too short. After all, an epic story deserves an epic length, but we readers were expecting this to be a trilogy, and when the third book came out and it was bigger than either of the first two AND included an author's note saying that he tried, but was unable to get it all wrapped up in three volumes, I was a little surprised to find the fourth volume even larger, by more than 100 pages.

Eragon 528 pages
Eldest 704 pages
Brisingr 763 pages
Inheritance 880 pages
Inheritance Cycle Total 2,875 pages dang, son, that's a lot of paper

The conclusion was satisfying, and I was glad to see that Paolini didn't give in to all of his adolescent fantasies in the final story. That being said, there may be more to come. There are some story legs left in the universe Paolini has built, and I would bet we'll see more stories of dragons, magic, and elves from him in the future.

I have a pile of fantasy stories lined up next.

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