The long awaited final novel of the international best-selling “Inheritance Cycle” hit shelves on Nov. 8, breaking the 2011 record for highest first day sales in North America.
“Inheritance,” or “The Vault of Souls,” completes the fantasy saga that took author Christopher Paolini over a decade to write. Fans who expected the series to end as a trilogy when “Brisingr,” the third novel, was released in 2008 will be pleased to find that the conclusion was well worth the wait.
The novel follows main character Eragon Shadeslayer and his fierce yet intelligent dragon, Saphira, as they battle the evil King Galbatorix to protect the kingdom of Alagasia. “Inheritance” picks up a few days after “Brisingr” ends. It opens with the battle for Belatona, the next main city a group of rebels who fight to overthrow Galbatorix must conquer on the march to Ur’baen, the kingdom’s capital.
Mainly told from Eragon’s point of view, the novel also features chapters from other main characters, such as Nasuada, Saphira and Glaedr. The varying views provide the reader with an omniscient understanding of important happenings around the kingdom, keeping the story fresh and lively.
“Inheritance” may strike fans as the most well written book of the series. Paolini’s increased maturity and highly honed pen in “Inheritance” create a stark contrast with the sometimes awkwardly worded first book, “Eragon,” which Paolini wrote at the tender age of 15. The bookbreathes fire back into what critics have called a dragged-on series with action-packed content and fast-paced plot. Each chapter holds important revelations, significant plot points or epic battles that are key to winning the battle against the evil Galbatorix.
The conclusion stands out as perhaps the best written part of the entire novel. Readers should not, however, expect Paolini to end the dark series with a neatly wrapped bow. Paolini instead achieves a balance that should satisfy both his young adult readers and his more mature audience, yet leave both slightly unfulfilled.