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The Inheritance Cycle

So, the much awaited inheritance cycle is here. I thought I liked the series, but the last instalment has brushed aside that misconception.

Read this review if you were a fan of Inheritance, but are disappointed by the last book, titled "Inheritance." If not, you may read at your own risk.

So, to give an overview of the storyline. Eragon is a farm boy who happens to find a dragon egg. The dragon hatches, making him the first of the next generation of the dragon riders, the first destroyed by Galbatorix, a rider who went mad and seized the throne. Since dragon riders are immortal, Galbatorix, the tyrant, has to be killed. The same story of black and white, where the underdog is pitted against the mighty tyrant. Oh, and romance is thrown in for good measure, as Eragon is, for the entire cycle smitten by the elf Arya. So, even before the book was released, I had guessed some aspects of the storyline. Eragon would kill Galbatorix, Arya would get a dragon and become dragon rider, her dragon would be green. Murtagh would find a way to break free from his oaths from Galbatorix and Eragon would open the vault of souls to get dragon eldunari. Finally, we knew that Eragon would leave Alagaesia never to return. This was amply prefigured, by the vision that Eragon has in "Eragon" when Garrow is attacked, by Angela's prophecy, by the curse of the Ra'zac and the one of the person in Feinster. By the way, did Angela not predict that Eragon would have an infinite or a very long life? So, right in the first book, we knew that he would live.

The aspect of the storyline which I particularly dislike in this genre is the existence of the all-knowing, all-foretelling identity. Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings," Dumbledore in "Harry Potter," you get the drift right? In Eragon, I find this role played by no single person, nevertheless, the presence of the entity remains, whether as Saphira, Brom, Murtagh, Oromis, Glaedr, Arya, Nasuda or anyone else. Eragon, like the stereotypes in the genre is woefully ignorant, and manages to get through with a lot of luck and the help of those around him. On the other hand, Roran is even more of an enigma. I really liked the development of his character in Eldest, but then, frankly, he became more of a hard-to-believe-overly-lucky person. Rude, rash and inexperienced, the accounts of his successes are childish fantasies at best.

Which brings us to the main point. Eragon was written as a childish fantasy. The success of that book probably forced its author to write perhaps against his natural will. While Eldest was nice to read, particularly because of how it developed Eragon as well as Roran's characters, it still suffered from some issues with timing in the storyline, but I'll gloss over them. Brisingr tried to develop a romance between Eragon and Arya; or should I say, it tried to show Arya's feelings towards Eragon; Eragon having showed his feelings only too often in the past. Was that the reason the trilogy was changed to a cycle? In any case, I really felt that the romance was unwarranted in the storyline. When half the book is about a march through a desert with an elf, something feels wrong.

Having to wait for three years after having read Brisingr killed any interest left in the story. Nevertheless, I feel a compulsion to seek a closure to any story I hear or read, hence I read Inheritance. The book failed to develop any sense of closure, rather, it gave me a feeling that the entire cycle was doomed from the start. The book is ridiculously long, covers very little ground, and made me feel cheated with the entire cycle. It was a deus-ex-machina story from start to end, if we consider that everything in the story was actually the work of the dragons. It just reinforces the belief that Eragon never deserved the success he had, he only relied on those more powerful than himself.

If anything was a disappointment in the book, it was the account of how Eragon killed Galbatorix. No heroism there, nothing suggesting genius on the part of Eragon. Further, I find it hard to believe that anyone who had twisted magic so much as Galbatorix had could in fact be ignorant of the very nature of magic, and that it was not necessary to use the ancient language to work magic. Of course, Oromis mentioned that this knowledge was not imparted to Riders, but then, surely, Galbatorix would have known of this, if even Vanir knew. But then, if the knowledge of the ancient language is not essential to work magic, how can Nasuda hope to control the spellcasters by controlling the ancient language? Further, how can anyone render spells invalid which have not been cast using the ancient language? The story leaves a lot of logical gaps in this area.

I remember thinking that the Inheritance cycle showed much more promise than Harry Potter, when I first read Eragon. I must confess, I'm sorely disappointed. Inheritance is much like the Deathly Hallows, with a lot of King's Cross chapters thrown in.

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