After a three year wait the final book in Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle is just one month away from being released. The first three books – Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr – follow the story of 15 year old Eragon who stumbles upon a dragon egg while hunting. Soon after his discovery a blue dragon whom he names Saphira hatches from the egg and he becomes the first Dragon Rider since the tyrant Galbatorix and his followers killed all the other dragons and their Riders. Thanks to this chance discovery Eragon finds himself thrust into the forefront of a rebellion that wants to end the reign of Galbatorix.
When I first read these books I devoured them. The world that Paolini created, called Alagaesia, is a vibrant world full of races both familiar and new. There are elves, dwarves, and dragons as well as creations called Urgals and Ra’zac. Most of these different races have their own unique language that Paolini created and uses throughout the series. All of this would be impressive on its own, but what is truly remarkable is Paolini was only 15 years old when he began writing Eragon. At such a young age he created and put to paper an intricate and detailed story that is better than some of the drivel put out by “more seasoned” authors.
Like any book or series these books are by no means perfect. They have been criticized a great deal for being derivative with comparisons to Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings most common. If you go through the story and list out the similarities they are quite numerous, but the same can be said for a number of books. The Lord of the Rings pretty much revolutionized the fantasy genre and I think you would be hard pressed to find a contemporary book of fantasy that was not somehow influenced by it. In the case of Star Wars, that series utilized many common storytelling conventions, such as the hero’s journey, but because it reached such huge levels of popularity many seem to credit it with creating those conventions. Yes, Paolini used a lot of the same plot devices, but so do many other stories in a variety of genres. To me it just isn’t that big of a deal as long as the story is interesting, which The Inheritance Cycle is.
From the start of the first book I fell in love with the characters and story. The relationship between Eragon and Saphira is fascinating and I love watching as they grow with one another. In the second book, Eldest, Paolini introduces the parallel story taking place in the home Eragon was forced to abandon through the eyes of his cousin, Roran. At times the story of Roran is even more interesting than that of Eragon. Roran is just an ordinary human with no magic or any other supernatural aid, but when his home is attacked by the Ra’zac he faces the challenge head on and does whatever needs to be done to protect those he loves. He goes through his own hero’s journey and it is a nice juxtaposition to that of Eragon’s.
The past three years have been a long wait and I am so glad it is almost over. There are so many unanswered questions and mysteries I am ready to have answered. So it is with eager anticipation that I wait the final month for Inheritance and the answers to all my questions.
What about you? Have you read any of the books in The Inheratence Cycle? Do you enjoy them or agree with some of the criticisms? Will you be purchasing the final book of the series? Let me know in the comments!