The hype: It’s been eight years since Eragon first became available nationwide through a major publishing company as opposed to being self-published by Christopher Paolini’s parents. Since then, the Inheritance cycle has grown to its completed four books, led to the production of the movie Eragon, and seen Paolini himself grow almost as much as Eragon has. Those who have read the first three books in the series (Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr) owe it to themselves to read the final book.
Tell me more: SPOILER ALERT! This review assumes that the reader has read the other three books in the Inheritance Cycle, and will give away some events in those books. You have been warned. Eragon and Saphira are in the middle of the Varden’s advance towards Galbatorix’s stronghold in Uru’baen. And while they have learned and grown greatly in power and knowledge, they still have much to learn. Even the aid of the ancient dragon, Glaedr, who lives on within his Eldunari, is not enough to counter the amassed magical might of Galbatorix and Eragon’s half-brother, Murtagh. With all of Alagaesia hanging in the balance, Eragon must learn more about himself, the distant past of the Dragon Riders, and his enemies and new allies if they are ever to free their land from tyranny. But will the ever-increasing levels of power and responsibility heaped upon Eragon, Saphira, and Roran give them the tools they need to defeat Galbatorix? How can they hope to overcome the one who destroyed the Riders and has held the world in his grip for a hundred years?
Content advisory: Lots of bloody battles take place throughout this book, and there are several gruesome fight and torture scenes. Alcohol is occasionally consumed, with no long-term effects. Coarse language and romantic content are almost non-existent, however, but are occasionally implied.
Does this book end? Yes, at least as far as the main story of the Inheritance Cycle is concluded. Paolini hints at writing more about the land of Alagaesia sometime in the future, and leaves plenty wide open for more to be written.
Why you should read this: The thickness of the books in this series indicates the depth of their content, and Inheritance is no different. This is an epic-scale series, with a large cast of characters all vying for various goals in the path of the story. While the main story is about Eragon, there are chapters devoted to Eragon’s cousin, Roran; Nasuada, leader of the Varden; and even one told by Saphira. Magic flows freely throughout, sometimes doing things bordering on the ridiculous in the amount of power Eragon displays. Still, we get a sense of just how little Eragon still knows, and he again experiences the growth necessary for him to progress towards his goals. The climax of the story comes surprisingly early, and it takes some time for the actual book to wind down to an end. That end, although practically given away in Eragon, is nonetheless a satisfying one.
The bottom line: Fans of the Inheritance Cycle will be greatly pleased with the conclusion to this series.