I was introduced to Inheritance
when I was 17. My mother purchased the first book, Eragon,
for me after hearing it was written by a boy around my age. After reading it, I could have told her that myself. Eragon
is cliched, predictable, and the prose is amateurish. The story's setting is a generic fantasy land peopled by generic fantasy races, the plot is lifted nearly wholecloth from Star Wars: A New Hope, Brom's and Murtagh's big reveals are obvious nearly from their introductions, and the prose tends toward blatant and long-winded exposition.
For all of these flaws, Eragon
has its moments. The book conveys enthusiasm from its author that earns forgiveness. Eragon
got more praise and attention than it deserves thanks to playing up Paolini's age, but is reasonably enjoyable even so.
Then came Eldest.
I enjoyed some parts immensely on my first reading, while other parts I abhorred. Unfortunately, a later reading revealed that I had enjoyed the parts I did because they had given me relief from the main character, whose chapters were those I abhorred, rather than by their own merits. Paolini tries to grow up in Eldest
, and it does him more harm than good. The flaws of Eragon
remain, but the enthusiastic charm of its predecessor is lost. Where Eragon
seeks wonderment, Eldest
wallows in wangst. The tone is set by page five with the apparent deaths of two major characters from Eragon
, and never recovers. Eragon spends most of his chapters bemoaning his hardships, only overcoming them by deus ex machina. Roran, whose chapters I preferred, is little better.
is worse yet, as only about a quarter of the book is relevant to the series's plot, the rest taken up by lesser adventures and antics advancing only the page count. Saphira is a fine example of this: finally given two point-of-view chapters, she spends them meandering about having dragon-flavored text and obsessing over Eragon's absence. Characters who were already flat in previous books are reduced to single traits and then made to worship Eragon, who remains maddeningly passive throughout the book. The result is that Brisignr
comes across as a work of obligation rather than enthusiasm.
was the series's high point, and it was merely mediocre.