What a fitting 50th book for 2011. Not only have I completed my ‘set’ goal for 2011, but I completed a series that has spent eight years on my various bookshelves across the East Coast and Britain. As with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a part of my childhood/adolescence has come to a close with the completion of the Inheritance cycle.
I first read Eragon as a first year at UNC Chapel Hill. I didn’t know what to expect, but I ended up enjoying it and was surprised someone my age had written the novel. Eight years later and I’m not sure how to feel about the end of the series. I have no doubts that Paolini will return to Alagaësia, he’s said as much himself, but I wonder if it will be worth it. Having reread all of the novels these past few weeks has highlighted that they’re still a great story, but that there is much that could’ve been done to make them better. But, on to my thoughts about this book in particular wish some musings on the series thrown in for good measure.
Overall I thought it was a mediocre ending to the story. Finishing this last novel left me exhausted and worn out as any good book should, but I also felt slightly underwhelmed and left wanting. With just under 2000 pages in the first three novels, and 849 pages in this one, I thought there would be more closure. I mean the war is over and everything is relatively ‘happy ever after’ and the reader is left with some idea of what the various characters will do in their new lives, but I’m still left wanting.
Even though I was left wanting, I am glad that Paolini didn’t do as Rowling did and had the epilogue 20 years later. I mean I definitely want to know what happened to everyone and especially what happened in the world, but I’m glad it was left open in that aspect.
If there is one thing that I have an issue with, it is the final battle. At times it was both awesome and awful. The detail provided often times was unnecessary; and the final showdown between Eragon et al and Galbatorix was lackluster but relatively well written compared to the broader battle. It’s difficult going up against an all-knowing opponent, but I thought the way Paolini wrote it was interesting enough, if not the most innovative, and the way the battle ended was a bit of a cop-out, but completely mad sense considering who we’ve learned Eragon is over the past four novels. It would’ve been strange if it ended any other way.
Recommendation: Read it. Individually none of the novels stand out, or even stand up to too much scrutiny, but as a whole the story provides an interesting addition to the fantasy genre. As mentioned in the previous posts there are a lot of similarities, you can really see Star Wars in this novel, but there are also a lot of differences. Personally, I enjoyed the series and am sad that it is completed, but I’ll keep an eye on Paolini and see whether he can prove his worth as an author over his next few novels.
As an aside, I loved the random Doctor Who references 😀