Monday, July 30, 2012

The Inheritance Series: A Review

The Inheritance series or "cycle" is about a young man named Eragon who lives in a magical land called Alagaesia.  He discovers an unusual stone, which turns out to be a dragon egg.  The dragon hatches, and the two become spiritually entwined.  Eragon and Saphira become great warriors with the power of magic in a battle to overthrow a powerful tyrannical king.

I've seen Eragon in the Scholastic catalogues my kids bring home from school.  I was in the mood for a light read, so I picked up this fantasy from the library.  I really liked it!  I got into pretty well and had a hard time putting it down.  This first book introduces many characters and describes a new land full of magic and mythical types of creatures.  It's heavy on details and descriptions, which I like.  As I was nearing the end, I realized that there was not climax, let along a conclusion to the story, anywhere in sight.  I soon discovered that it was meant to be a trilogy, not a novel.  So much for a light read.  Still I was excited about the story, so I didn't mind.

The second book, Eldest, was quite boring for me for the first 150 pages or so, but didn't disappoint me in the end.  It was still awesome.  The third book, Brisingr, was too violent for my liking.  There are many very detailed descriptions about bloody battles and deaths.  Blech.  Book three was hard to get through.  I started to grow weary of the story and wished it to end, but once again, toward the end of the book, there was no conclusion.  In the author's note, Paolini says that he couldn't get everything in the third book that he wanted to, so look for the fourth.  Even though I was tired of reading all these thick books when I had just wanted a light read, I still wanted to find out the ending--especially after I had invested so much time in it.  The fourth book Inheritance was also gory, but it provided the a satisfying climax and conclusion.  Perhaps it wasn't everything I had wished for to happen, but it made sense and worked out.

The series has characters that speaks several different languages.  There are often phrase, sentences, and even short paragraphs throughout the books written in these made-up languages.  It added depth to the cultures of the characters, but you have to flip to the index at the back of the book to find out what they mean.  How annoying.  I would have preferred a footnote.

Overall, I am glad I read all the books.  The first book was the best, as is often the case in series.  Paolini is good with descriptive writing and with conveying the emotions of his characters.

While reading the first book I realized that I had seen the movie.  That was not so good as the book.

I give five stars to the first book Eragon.  Three stars to the series as a whole.