I remember when I first read Eragon, I immediately loved it. I devoured the series as it came out, but somehow I never read the final book.
When I learned a few months ago that Christopher Paolini was returning to the world of Alagaësia with a new book, it seemed like the perfect time to reread the books and finally finish the series.
The Inheritance Cycle follows the life of Eragon, a young boy growing up in a rural farm who suddenly finds himself in possession of a beautiful blue gemstone. The stone turns out to be a dragon egg, and Eragon is suddenly thrust into the world of his namesake, a dragon rider who helped keep the peace long ago. Now, with the help of the village bard, Eragon must avoid being captured by his enemies at the same time learning how to control his new abilities.
In the second and third books, Eragon has allied with the various races to fight against.m the evil king, once a dragon rider who went mad when his dragon was killed. Eragon and his dragon Saphira have found teachers hidden among the elves, but with his allies ready to invade the empire, Eragon must rush to join them, or concede defeat before they’ve even fought.
In the final book, with invasion under way, Eragon and his allies still have no plan on how to defeat the ever-stronger king. The invading army can’t delay facing the king forever, and Eragon has to give everything he has to defeating the king, even if it turns out not to be enough.
I’d heard people say that it was clear in the last book that Paolini was ready to be done with the series, which was originally supposed to be a trilogy instead of a quartet. What I noticed, finally reading it an eternity later, was that in some places it felt drawn out, as though he felt pressured to reach a certain length. And the ending in particular felt not quite cobbled together, but rushed. While I liked that he wanted to have a better ending than simply the final battle, it felt like a quick recap of the next several months, instead of doing like a six months later epilogue.
All in all, I still love the series. And while I can spot the similarities to Lord of the Rings and even some to Harry Potter, I think it still holds its own as a series. It’s a fun series full of action and character growth, but one that you can get through a little easier, in case the classics are a little daunting.
I also enjoy seeing the growth of Paolini as an author. The difference between the first book and the fourth is not big in terms of style or voice, but the writing is smoother, with a more natural flow that comes I think with practice and experience.
I’m not quite sure what this new book will be. I’d first thought it was going to be life and history, but upon further research, it looks like it may be a continuation, to a degree, along with some side stories. And, as it always is with series, it could either be really great, or really bad. Either way, I’m excited to read it. Sometimes it’s nice to return to your childhood, even if it’s only for a few hundred pages.