Sunday, August 18, 2019

Inheritance

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*spoilers for previous books*

Author Christopher Paolini dedicates the final entry of his Inheritance Cycle to his family, not to mention the dreamers and artists that made possible his literary adventure. As with prior sequels, he opens with plot synopses of its predecessors, although he precedes the summaries of Eragon and its successors with a history of the books’ world, Alaga√ęsia. The first inhabitants of the world were dragons, before the god Helzvog created the dwarves, who warred with the fantasy reptiles. Then the elves came into being, and they made a truce with the dragons, creating the legendary order of Dragon Riders.

Humans, Urgals, and Ra’zac followed, with a Dragon Rider named Galbatorix enslaving the dragon Shruikan and convincing thirteen others, known as the Forsworn, to join him, and decimates the Dragon Rider order. The insurgent Varden steal from him a blue dragon egg and hide it in a mountain range known as the Spine, with a young farmboy named Eragon finding it, and soon receiving a blue dragon he names Saphira. Eragon and his mentor, the storyteller Brom, who he later finds out is his father, joins them, as does Murtagh, son of Morzan, one of the Forsaken, who is Eragon’s half-brother through their mother Selena.

After a battle between the Varden and the Empire in the Beor Mountains, Ajihad, leader of the Varden, is killed, and Murtagh captured, with Eragon beckoned to the northern elven woods by a voice, and he trains for forthcoming battles there. Meanwhile, Eragon’s cousin Roran deals with issues back at home in Carvahall, namely the Ra’zac, with he and his fellow citizens embarking on an odyssey that ultimately leads them to unite with the Varden. Other battles follow, during which Eragon creates a new sword with the help of an elven blacksmith he names Brisingr, and after a fight in which another mentor, Oromis, loses his dragon Glaedr, the events of the fourth book commence.

The concluding entry opens with Eragon, Saphira, and the Varden engaged in a battle over the city of Belatona. Alliance with the Werecats is discussed, as are King Galbatorix’s potential weaknesses, supposedly the gaps in his logic and magical wards. A woman among the Varden has a baby born with a “cat lip,” which is likely equivalent to real-life harelips, with Eragon tasked with healing the infant. Battle comes to Dras-Leona, with the Varden enduring a few crises, and Eragon and Saphira seeking their true names, the Rock of Kuthian, the Vault of Souls, and their “true names” in hopes of finding an advantage versus Galbatorix.

Overall, the final entry of Paolini’s saga is definitely enjoyable, although as with its predecessors, it’s somewhat derivative of other works such as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars films. Even so, there’s plentiful originality regarding the in-universe languages and nomenclature of various characters, lands, and other elements, with a pronunciation guide following the main text so that readers aren’t left clueless as to how to say the unique names. Paolini acknowledges at the end that the last book was the most difficult to write, with a little over a decade necessary for him to finish his fantasy cycle, which is very much worthwhile.

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