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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.


  1. "romance was unwarranted in the storyline"

    are you kidding me!? The story would have been a dud otherwise..

    I thought eragon was a poorly written book (forget the story) and that eldest and brisingr were much much better written (again forget the story, but for the opposite reasons).

    i was obviously hoping to read a well written book in the form of "Inheritance". Not really looking forward to the story, was happy to enjoy the book while i read it and never think of it again.

    but this book sucked. the editing let it down quite a bit. I mean any idiot editor would have told him to make that huge piece of nonsense after Galbatorix's death tiny! and simply leave the parting scene.

    Another example is the over importance to roran, in the arya eragon parting scene. Imagine.. roran and arya have to travel all the way back alone. Why does roran have to be here?

    Better yet.. those stupid kids in the climax scene of the book, the come and go like the wind. they weren't even needed! Did the editor not read the climax of the book?

  2. Almost the whole of Brisingr was a romance. That's where things go wrong. I expected action and adventure, and these were overwhelmed by the romance.

    Which makes me realize that I failed to mention one important point in the review. The language fails to paint any vivid mindscapes. So, I guess you're right Prad. Without the romance, the story would have been a dud.

  3. You could try Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Though it's kind of merger of Ender's Game with Harry Potter, yet it has been written with a sense where the characters use their brain. In the author's own words, ". A rationalist!hero should excel by thinking - moreover, thinking in understandable patterns that readers can, in principle, adopt for themselves. As opposed to the hero just being a born “genius” who comes up with amazing gadgets through an opaque discovery process, or who pulls off incredibly complicated gambits that would fail miserably if the reader tried something similar in real life." IMHO much better than all Harry Potter novels combined.

    P.S. The novel is still in progress with I think 78 chapters.

    1. Sounds interesting. Will read if I have the time, and if I can get my hands on the book.


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