The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini consists of four Fantasy novels:
I’ve read these books in Dutch, mainly because when I was younger I’d bought the first one in that language. Afterwards, I didn’t feel like switching languages halfway. I dislike reading Fantasy in Dutch because it usually seems a bit stiff in comparison to English Fantasy. Though I must say the EA Cycle – I have the first two books in Dutch – didn’t seem to have that problem. So praise be sung for that Dutch translator! Here’s my review of The Inheritance Cycle!
A young boy called Eragon lives on a farm with his uncle and his cousin Roran. One day he goes out to shoot some deer when he stumbled upon a blue stone. This stone turns out to be a Dragon’s egg and Eragon seems destined to be the Dragon’s Rider! The Dragon, names Saphira, quickly grows to be his best friend. But not all goes well in the land of Alagaësia. The hideous Ra’zac are out to kill Eragon and Saphira by the order of Galbatorix, the tyrannical King and former Dragon Rider. When they attack his village, Eragon sees no other option than to flee, together with the bard Brom. Together they travel to the Varden – rebels and peace warriors – to get Eragon help with harnessing his abilities. He is later joined by Murtagh, a man of his age, and Arya who is an Elf. Together they reach the Varden and for a while Eragon’s journey seems to be done. But he has no idea of the future and his destiny as the first new Dragon Rider. His life will never be the same.
Because I read the books in Dutch I don’t feel confident commenting on Paolini’s writing style. For all I know the stiffness and lack of flow (isn’t that the same thing?) could be caused by the Dutch translator. There were some things that remained unexplained even at the end of the fourth book, which I didn’t like. For instance: the history of the witch Angela. She’s major supporting character in the books, but we know next to nothing about her. I would’ve liked at least a bit of background on her.
The books are Young Adult, which I don’t usually read. But they are also Epic Fantasy, which I love to read. It definitely had a different kind of feeling than most Fantasy novels I’ve read – I attribute that to it being YA – but it wasn’t an unpleasant journey. I do think Paolini still has a long way to go to become one of the greater Fantasy writers, but he’s doing a good job so far. It kept me entertained throughout the series (although my mind sometimes wandered a bit) and his world-building abilities are great (though his influences are clear).
Eragon’s struggle with the feelings he has for certain people, good or bad, and his struggle to remain objective are very realistic. There are a lot of supporting characters in this series, but they are there for a reason. And they are all much developed. The ending of the series was not something I’d expect, because it’s not a happily ever after ending. But it’s not a bad ending either. It fits with the things that have happened over the years in the books. And that’s what counts in the end. If the ending fits.