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Being the fourth instalment in what was expected to be a trilogy Inheritance is a wonderfully crafted end to the series, and keeps alive the charm of the well-rounded trilogy that precedes it.
The story opens with Eragon and his dragon Saphira in the thick of things, as the rebel army of the Varden sieges another city of the Empire. While Roran – cousin to Eragon – is away winning impossible victories and Nasuada struggles to lead the Varden, Eragon has to grapple with his inner misgivings as he races towards his inevitable confrontation with the all-powerful king Galbatorix. High-speed chases on dragon-back, swashbuckling duels, epic journeys and witty repartees ensue as the fantastical world of Alagaesia hurtles towards its destiny.
Christopher Paolini continues to weave a fascinating tale of a world in the throes of war. His characteristic style of storytelling using vivid characterisation and painstakingly detailed accounts of battle scenes, man-to-man combat and aerial flights on dragon-back, keep the reader buried in the pages much like the first three books.
Yet, the pace of the narrative fails to maintain the tension built-up in the previous books: the final battle is delayed perhaps a bit too much; the story is occasionally bogged down by relatively mundane political deliberations between characters and is on occasion a bit too predictable. Furthermore, the book ends with quite a few loose ends left untied.
Despite these shortcomings, Christopher Paolini’s final instalment in the series is a testament to his dedicated genius. The world he created, it seems, holds him in its thrall as much as it does us; a fact that is evident from the almost life-like quality of the story, which unfolds like a legend from forgotten times.
Given, that the world of Alagaesia takes centre-stage, the fates of his characters assume secondary importance in the scheme of things: most of the mysteries or questions surrounding the main characters are left unanswered, unsolved and not everything winds up in accordance with popular expectations. In this Paolini keeps his own counsel, but leaves us hoping for a return to the magical world of Alagaesia.