Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
So, I finished Inheritance, the last book in the series called The Inheritance Cycle, which started with the book Eragon. It took forever. I started in in November, and finished it in March. It’s just so long that I got bored… there were a couple months where I didn’t read it at all, not because it wasn’t good, but because it was just so long. It really could have been two books; there was literally a point in almost the exact middle where the first plot ends, and there’s some swimming around time until the second one starts. Then of course there’s the whole Star Wars parallel (in case you haven’t heard, or didn’t noticed if you’ve read the other books, Paolini pretty much followed the plot of the Star Wars movies the whole way through), which took some of the suspense out of it, of course. I had previously said that I wished he (the author) would have kept the characters, trashed the story and made a new one with them. Then the other day I wondered if he could have kept the story and just taken the Star Wars part out of it. I started pondering how he could have done this and in like five minutes, I had figured out how to completely change the plot so as to take Star Wars completely out of it, while keeping most of his characters. He could have done that. I know he could have. There are pieces of those books that are pure brilliance, ingenious pieces of originality, like every book should be made of. Why he felt the need to fall back on someone else’s plot, I have no idea. I guess he just didn’t try hard enough. He didn’t care. From what I’ve read, he doesn’t consider what he did plagiarism I’m not sure what his definition of plagiarism is, because there are a few parts that quote the movies so closely that I laugh in disbelief.
You’re probably asking why I even read them, then. Well, I mentioned the brilliant pieces, right? Plus it’s not Star Wars exactly, of course. There are dragons, characters that he truly did create, and deviations from the source that you wonder how he’s going to work out. So even though I was really pretty disgusted after reading Eldest, I ended up deciding to finish the series out.
Maybe it’ll help to kind of spell out what I thought of each installment in the series:
- Eragon- I loved this one. I was immediately enchanted, and having not watched Star Wars yet, I was innocently oblivious.
- Eldest- I liked the first half… about like Inheritance, I guess… and then Eragon started to get mushy, the story slowed down toward the middle, and as I had now watched Star Wars, I was now left without a doubt as to what the author was up to.
- Brisingr- I finally decided to forgive Eldest of it’s faults and find out how he would end the thing. I loved this book; my faith was renewed. Yes, Star Wars still lurked in the background, but he actually changed some thing up in this one (which makes me more confident that he could have done things much differently had he wanted to).
- Inheritance- I entered into this book with all the high hopes that the last book had left me with, but in most places, it failed. You know they say a bad ending can ruin a whole book for someone, and that’s what happened to me. That, and getting bored in the middle.
I won’t tell you why the ending upset me just in case you decide to read them. Because, after all, I’m not telling you shouldn’t, by any means, just… warning you. I enjoyed parts and hated others. I guess it depends on what you’re willing to put yourself through. I wouldn’t have done it for the main character, Eragon. He’s OK, but he’s not my favorite; Roran is. Well, that and Angela. She’s pretty funny. And I can’t forget Murtagh either. It’s not like Eragon is a poorly built character, or unlikable, just not really my type. Thankfully, he’s not the only viewpoint we get, so even if I didn’t like what was happening with Eragon at a certain point, usually the other characters’ stories in other parts of the conflict were enough to keep me reading.
If nothing else, I’ve learned a lot writing-wise from this series. I’ve learned certain things that work and others that defiantly don’t. I recommended at least the first book to a fellow writer friend simply as an introduction to mind speaking and bonds between humans and dragons. I’m sure there are other books that do it every bit as well or better, but surprisingly, as much as I love fantasy, I haven’t really read a whole lot of it (at least compared to what other fantasy fans seem to read). Plus every book seems to do those things differently, and I figure, the more perspectives you have on them, the better! The only other reason I would really recommend them is if you’re an absolute fantasy fanatic, or at least a dragon fanatic (After all, the dragons are awesome, and their personalities are completely original), because if you love stuff like that, you’re probably going to be more willing to go through the torture to get to the jewels. Or maybe plagiarism doesn’t bother you at all; in that case, go for it! Enjoy it for all it’s worth. Obviously there are quite a few people like that out there, because they’ve sold very well (even if the movie didn’t).
I guess, in the end, I just have to say that it’s mind candy. It’s fun but it’s got a lot of faults as well.