Friday, May 25, 2012

Reading: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

            Inheritance is the fourth and final book in the series with the same name.  Before I can begin my review of this book, let me give you a bit of history of this book series.  Christopher Paolini was 15 when he first began writing the first novel of the Inheritance series, Eragon.  The book was first self-published by his parents publishing company and then by a larger publishing company, Alfred A. Knopf, a year later.  It then went to the New York Times best sellers list and remained there 121 for weeks. (x – yes my source is wikipedia) 
            My brother was the one who mentioned the book to me in the beginning.  Both of us were very interested in finding out more about the book.  He ended up buying me the book as a Christmas gift.  I read it during the summer when I was 16.  Since then I have read the following two novels and was intrigued to read the finale.  The first book impressed me, the second wowed me, the third bored me.  I had no idea what to expect for this final novel.       
            The Inheritance series revolves around a young man named Eragon.  Eragon was once a poor farm boy when he found a blue pebble in a place called The Spine by his home.  The pebble, though, was not a mere pebble but a dragon egg.  There in his barn hatched a blue dragon who went by the name of Saphira.  Eragon was then given the mark of a dragon rider and joined the Varden, a rebel group fighting the empire to defeat the horrid King Galbatorix. 
            Inheritance, I found, was everything I would want for the ending of this series.  The details were rich and profound, the characters all showed impressive growth, and the plot was fantastic!  I found myself wondering for a while (even when reading the earlier books), how is Eragon and the Varden going to stop Galbatorix? It seemed impossible!  I know this seems like a spoiler but lets be serious here, it's a young adult book series.  I don't mean to "diss" young adult fiction because I tend to enjoy YA better than adult fiction.  It's expected to have a happy ending.  That being said, Inheritance did have a happy ending but it also was able to encompass that feeling of, what now which made the story seem much more realistic and adult. 
            If I had any complaints about this book series, it would be to ask why it doesn't get more recognition.  Paolini's writing is fantastic for such a young author and his stories and characters are beyond the page!  They stay with you long after you put the book down.  For example, the book series has so many strong and inspiring female characters – to name the most prominent, Nasuada, Arya, and Angela.  I once read an article featured on MuggleNet about the strongest female characters in literature today and one of them was Hermione Granger from J.K. Rowling's, Harry Potter.  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE Harry Potter and I think Hermione completely deserves to be on that list.  However, the list is very biased to the so called "popular" novel and while Eragon was a New York Times Bestseller, the series itself doesn't seem to be as loved by the media and therefore doesn't receive the recognition it deserves.  All three of the women I listed above deserved to be on that list. 
            That being said, I also understand why the series is often overlooked.  After watching and reading the horrible film reviews for Eragon (the film was terrible so it deserved bad reviews) and reading audience feedback on the books themselves, I found that the series, in a small way, lacks "originality".  Paolini's world and character's and events are all very original, that is for sure, but the plot line itself is very much like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.  Being someone who has yet to read Lord of the Rings and see the Star Wars films in full, I did not see this connection until it was pointed out in reviews.  Because of this apparent familiarity, people consider the Inheritance series to be a bunch of books that are just like the next fantasy book series and everything that happens is expected.
            In the end, I enjoyed the series and very much enjoyed the last book.  What I loved most about this book and those previous were the descriptions!  I loved every detail Paolini gave.  While some details were overused, most of the time they were beautiful and jaw dropping.  The last book held so many surprises for me as a reader and while the ending was sad it was also really satisfying.  While critics say it gets too much material from Star Wars, I say none of our stories are completely original.  We all draw our ideas from other ideas before ours.  The Inheritance series shouldn't loose points for a minor detail like that.  I also found that the characters truly were at their best in this last book and I was proud of them!  Paolini wrote an incredible series and for that I give his final book a 5 out of 5 stars.

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