Book Review: Inheritance

Happy Saturday all! You may have noticed that The Purple Notebook got a bit of a makeover. I liked my old theme all right, but the notebook background was just a little to literal for my taste.

Anywhos, let’s celebrate by talking about books! More specifically, books about dragons! (Yay!)

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Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.

I read Eragon and Eldest for the first time in high school, and I was completely enthralled with them. I read them again in college before I read the third book, Brisingr, and was less enthralled. I read these three books again this past month so that the plot would be fresh in my mind while I read Inheritance for the first time.

Before I get into my review of Inheritance, here’s a quick recap of my reactions to the first three books:

Eragon: Holy road trip, Batman!

Eldest: War, another road trip, Eragon learns yoga…a makeover! And more war.

Brisingr, or, the Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular: Or, the book that should have been 300 pages shorter.

Okay, so I definitely was not as enchanted by this series now as I was in high school. (I had pretty bad taste in books when I was 15.) But I can see why I enjoyed it then, and in a “Oh my goodness this is so cheesy” way I sort of enjoyed them now. Dragons! Magic! Romance! Until I got to the third book, that was, and then it was more like, War! Politics!

Um…

Inheritance, at least, was more enjoyable than Brisingr, even if it was still more war and politics than dragons and magic. But it brought back some of the elements of what I liked about the first two books. More road trips! More romance! (We also get introduced to dragon sex, which is pretty awesome.)

Overall, though, I can’t really give this too much praise. The writing is just so-so, the plot/fantasy elements aren’t that original (overthrow the evil king–been there, done that), and frankly, Eragon just isn’t that interesting as a character. Although I have to give Paolini credit for being incredibly thoughtful in his world-building. While some complain about the amount of detail in this series, I think this is what gives it a sense of realism (as realistic as a series about dragons can be, anyway).

On that note, though…yeah, there can be way too much detail. (Part of why what was originally supposed to be a trilogy turned into four books.) The amount of time it takes to get to the final battle is ridiculous. Do we need to know the details of every single battle on the way there? Do we need to know what’s happening with Eragon’s cousin all the time? (Although Roran is a lot more interesting as a character than Eragon is.) It was so overwhelming, by the time we finally get to the big finale, it’s kind of a letdown.

To be fair, though, this might just be a personal preference thing. I only like fantasy books if they’re really outstanding (and in my opinion, most aren’t), and I really don’t like books about war. But if you do like those things (and dragon sex), then you’d probably like the Inheritance cycle.

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