Monday, March 19, 2012

Inheritance: Or the Vault of Souls

It's funny how books can be slammed as derivative and predictable, and yet become bestsellers. Why is this? I think it's because we humans like new application of familiar concepts. They say, after all, that there are only seven different general stories (exact number differs occasionally, but it's in that ballpark). 

While I don't think Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle is anywhere near the literary greatness of "The Lord of the Rings" or "Harry Potter", I nonetheless found the books to be greatly entertaining. Paolini might reuse basic ideas more blatantly than a more experienced writer, but he brings a feeling of excitement and true appreciation that makes his stories endearing despite this. 

I was however disappointed in the first 200 pages of the final installment in the Inheritance Cycle. They comprised solely of Roran's siege of what proved to be an inconsequential city, and Eragon spending a ton of time battling Arya in swordplay. While both of these elements are important to make known to us readers, they were not worthy of nearly a fourth of the book and made for so slow a beginning that I nearly put the book down. 

However things picked up after this. I appreciated the chance to get to know Nasauda better, Saphira remains as amusing as ever, and it was great to see Murtagh finally get some decent page time as well as a proper introduction to Galbatorix. The Vault of Souls itself met all expectations, although I thought if there were going to be Eldunari, why would there be less there than those that Galbatorix had already gathered? The existence of the eggs was pretty cool though.

I didn't mind the long ending. Paolini has always followed very closely in the steps of Tolkien and therefore an extra 100 pages after the climatic battle was to be expected.

Cue Spoiler Alert.

What I did NOT get was why not only did Eragon and Arya get together, but we also got no good resolution for the obvious romantic attraction between Nasauda and Murtagh. Seriously? You draw out this series for an extra book and then you DON'T give us romantic resolution for EITHER couple? I'm really not at all sure what to make of this. 

I WAS glad that Arya got a dragon (that was SO needed), although I'm disappointed that Firnien didn't give Saphira an egg. I'd been waiting the whole series for Saphira to have an egg and it was totally lame that she didn't. 


Ah well. The ending left enough open that we readers can extrapolate our own futures for our characters. It's not impossible, and indeed likely that the romances will be resolved eventually... we just don't get to see them.

However, perhaps contrary to other fan reactions, I did like the final confrontation with Galbatorix. I'm not exactly sure what other kind of fight would have worked, and I think it played out fairly plausibly. 

Overall I think it was a decent ending to an entertaining series, and certainly a good foray into the world of writing for a very young author (who could still use the guidance of a good editor). 

1 comment:

Anastasia said...

So far, I haven't met anybody that can pass up J.R.R. Tolkein, lol. But thanks for the warning, in case I run across the book:)