Almost 10 years after Paolini self-published Eragon in 2002, he concludes the epic saga of the Inheritance Cycle with this thick fourth volume, the longest yet in the series. With Eragon, his dragon Saphira, and their many allies poised to do final battle against the evil emperor Galbatorix, there is still plenty of unfinished business to wrap up. Cities need to be liberated, enemy leaders (including Eragon's half-brother Murtagh) must be dealt with, prophecies await fulfillment, and a few game-changing secrets will be revealed. In full Tolkienesque style, Paolini luxuriates in excess details, side quests, and a lengthy dénouement in which every last thread is wrapped up. The solidly entertaining plot is fleshed out with defining moments for every major character and a sense of completion (temporary or permanent) for all involved. While this final chapter is bogged down by an almost obsessive complexity with regard to the world-building, Paolini leaves readers with the satisfaction of a journey's end, along with the promise of new beginnings. It's a can't-miss for fans and completionists, and a worthy end to the story. Agent: Writers House. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira's tale has a beginning, middle and now the end. This epic adventure starts with an egg and finishes in the battle of a lifetime. Our young hero trains and battles with his cousin, Ronan, all the way to the main city saving and losing lives along the way. Driven by the need to feel justice after almost losing his cousin to Galbatorix, Eragon must pull from all his inner strength and passionate nature to combat this evil nemesis and restore peace to his people in Alagaesia. Nothing can prepare him for what will happen next, but luckily he has Saphira to make him whole and unstoppable. This plot driven book makes this world of make-believe come to life as each page takes the reader out of reality and into a fantastic place where heroes look like regular teenagers. At times, the book seems overwhelming due to the 800 plus pages and makes me wonder if it could have been divided into two or three books instead of one. Sadness came over me as the realization of completing the book meant no more adventures with my old friends, Eragon and Saphira. This is the last book in the "Inheritance Cycle" series. Reviewer: Julia Beiker
Capping the former Inheritance Trilogy, this fourth epic-length episode brings teenage Dragon Rider Eragon at last to a decisive faceoff with his greatest enemy. Beginning with the capture of the fortress city of Belatona, the rebellious Varden alliance wins multiple hard-fought victories before arriving at last before the iron gates of imperial Urû'baen, "wherein sits Galbatorix, proud, confident, and disdainful, for his is the strength of the dragons." Meanwhile, Eragon and his scaled companion Saphira fly off to the ruins of Doru Araeba in response to mysteriously delivered hints that something in a hidden "Vault of Souls" will help defeat their clever and overwhelmingly powerful adversary. Tucking in well-developed side plots, elaborate set pieces, internecine squabbles, extraneous characters, piles of corpses and, toward the end, even oblique allusions to sex (dragon sex, anyway), Paolini moves his tale along with all deliberate speed to its properly explosive, massively destructive climax. As in previous volumes, there are so many nods to Tolkien and other fantasists that authorial whiplash must have been a chronic hazard, but battle scenes are satisfyingly dramatic. Moreover, the act that leads to the thoroughly predictable outcome is just one of several ingenious twists, and before sailing off to lands unknown in a boat of Elvish make (sound familiar?), the young warrior/mage actually wages peace while methodically tying up loose ends over the final 90+ pages. Despite the long, anticlimactic wind-down, it is a strong conclusion to the crowd-pleasing series. (maps, multilingual word list) (Heroic fantasy. 12-15)
…Inheritance offers a propulsive plot and plenty of answers…This final volume offers sieges, duels, traps, secret tunnels, evil priests, more sieges, vision quests, sea monsters and man-eating snails…[and] most of our favorite characters get their moment of derring-do…the battles are hard-fought, and there's a suitably melancholy feel to last third of Inheritancean acknowledgment that magic comes with a price.
The Washington Post
Read an Excerpt
The sound was stabbing, slicing, shivering, like metal scraping against stone. Eragon's teeth vibrated in sympathy, and he covered his ears with his hands, grimacing as he twisted around, trying to locate the source of the noise. Saphira tossed her head, and even through the din, he heard her whine in distress.
Eragon swept his gaze over the courtyard twice before he noticed a faint puff of dust rising up the wall of the keep from a foot-wide crack that had appeared beneath the blackened, partially destroyed window where Blödhgarm had killed the magician. As the squeal increased in intensity, Eragon risked lifting a hand off one ear to point at the crack.
"Look!" he shouted to Arya, who nodded in acknowledgment. He replaced his hand over his ear.
Without warning or preamble, the sound stopped.
Eragon waited for a moment, then slowly lowered his hands, for once wishing that his hearing was not quite so sensitive.
Just as he did, the crack jerked open widerspreading until it was several feet acrossand raced down the wall of the keep. Like a bolt of lightning, the crack struck and shattered the keystone above the door to the building, showering the floor below with pebble-sized rocks. The whole castle groaned, and from the damaged window to the broken keystone, the front of the keep began to lean outward.
"Run!" Eragon shouted at the Varden, though the men were already scattering to either side of the courtyard, desperate to get out from under the precarious wall. Eragon took a single step forward, every muscle in his body tense as he searched for a glimpse of Roran somewhere in the throng of warriors.
At last Eragon spotted him, trapped behind the last group of men by the doorway, bellowing madly at them, his words lost in the commotion. Then the wall shifted and dropped several inches, leaning even farther away from the rest of the building, pelting Roran with rocks, knocking him off balance and forcing him to stumble backward under the overhang of the doorway.
As Roran straightened from a crouch, his eyes met Eragon's, and in his gaze, Eragon saw a flash of fear and helplessness, quickly followed by resignation, as if Roran knew that, no matter how fast he ran, he could not possibly reach safety in time.
A wry smile touched Roran's lips.
And the wall fell.
Text © 2011 by Christopher Paolini.