Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (2011)

Eragon ran his fingers through his hair. He suddenly felt exceptionally tired. Why does everything have to be so hard? he wondered.
Because, said Saphira, everyone wants to eat, but no one wants to be eaten (p 393).

inheritance-paoliniInheritance or The Vault of Souls is the fourth and final book in the Inheritance Cycle that began with Eragon. As with the Harry Potter series, it has been a long time filled with much waiting and much enjoyment. A whole world has come to a close, though Paolini infers he will return to Alagaësia sometime in the future.

The Varden, led by the resolute Nasuada, are marching toward Urû’baen to confront the powerful and evil King Galbatorix. Eragon’s half-brother Murtagh and his dragon Thorn present a unique problem for Eragon… one that is solved by the contents of the mysterious Vault of Souls. With help from dragons past, Eragon finally finds himself face to face with Galbatorix as the Varden clash with the King’s army. Eragon doesn’t stand alone. Arya – his elven companion and object of his affections, Elva – the cursed child, and Saphira – the companion of his heart and mind stand with him. Together they win the day.

And then there is a hundred page conclusion. Yikes! Reminded me of The Return of the King (albeit a lot more haphazard). Can’t say I disliked it but it was a bit long.

While I’ve heard some readers raging over Paolini’s unanswered plot lines, I chalk a lot of it up to his desire to continue writing. Some things I didn’t want to know – like Angela. She’s a mystery I can live with. And Eragon and Arya. I thought Arya gave what she could and was wise and mature in her actions (though poor Eragon never gets lovin!).

I was more frustrated with the length of the novel. I found my eyes blurring over passages. I found myself skipping ahead. Too many things going on and not enough connections. The magic unraveled a bit for me here as well and the world lost some of its cohesion.

As Richard Marcus points out, “While some people might find the battle scenes and side adventures exciting, overall they merely slow the story down and needlessly detract from the through line of the series. In fact by wasting so much time on insignificant details along the way, the final confrontation with Galbatorix when it comes feels rushed.” (Read more at SeattlePI)

This book needed a lot more editing for focus and fluidity. I wasn’t disappointed but I wasn’t impressed either.

Library copy | Alfred A. Knopf | November 11, 2011 | ISBN 978-0375856112 | 849 pages Ages 12 + | $27.99

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