Friday, 20 September 2013

Book Review: The Inheritance Cycle

A while back I finally finished a series of books I have wanted to read for a long time. The Inheritance Cycle had long intrigued me but I just never got round to starting them when they originally came out.

Having finished the series I realised I was missing out. I read the first two books Eragon and Eldest last year and finally managed to get my hands on the second two this year. In fact I wanted to know what happened so desperately that I bought the fourth book immediately after I finished the third which I had borrowed from the library (I nearly missed a train just to get my hands on it sooner).

The four books follow the life of Eragon. Eragon becomes the first new dragon rider Alagaesia has seen for years and with his arrival many changes happen. Death and destruction follow his new found status and he and his dragon Saphira must quickly adapt and learn in order to help fight the corrupt and evil dragon rider Galbatorix. The books culminate with Eragon leading the way in the battle against the enemy forces.

I have read many reviews and heard a lot of opinions that dismiss this fantasy series. In fact I heard many say they believe the ideas are robbed from other great fantasy series. However, having read the series in question, Lord of the Rings, I completely disagree.  Yes it has the same premise, good verses evil. However, this is pretty standard for many fantasy series. Yes Paolini created a unique diverse world full of a variety of different races and species but just because he has elves does not make them a copy of Tolkien's elves in fact they are different. I don't know if those who mistakenly wrote it was a plagiarised version of Lord of the Rings has actually read both series.

The world Paolini creates is bursting with a variety of different races, languages, animals, magic and history yet it fits together superbly. The sheer volume of characters would allow a reader to forgive Paolini if he did not develop his characters. Yet he does. The main character of Eragon is a complicated but loveable hero whose personal struggles have the reader on the edge waiting to read the outcome. Even minor characters who appear for a relatively shorter time in comparison to Eragon have been written with great depth. I absolutely loved the character Arya, she was so well written that her personality jumps of the page and as a reader she was so effortless to imagine. The only niggle I personally can spot is that Paolini was clearly still developing his craft. He was only 15 when he wrote the first book so the quality of his writing improves so drastically that the first and final book are quite different in style. But at least they got better not worse!!

The four books are LONG and get longer as you read on. I found them manageable but I got weighed down by the size of the books especially in the more complicated parts of the story.

I really hope Paolini is not finished with Alagaesia. I would really love to read more from the characters but also as the world is so well constructed I think it would be a waste not to return there, even with different characters.

I loved every page of this series. A must read.

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