How do I sum up this book? It's been in the works for too long. I've waited for a conclusion to the Inheritance Trilogy since I was attending tuition for my 10th. The story seemed just too outlandish that it appealed to my sense of fantasy back then- and I hadn't read Dragonriders of Pern, either- and since it was about a boy who gets a dragon, as most kids hope to, it was an appealing prospect.
But really, if you talk about writers maturing like wine, then Paolini goes a bit too far and matures too fast for his style; when the first three books were full of language you or I would use, slightly simple and easily understandable, in Inheritance we see adjective abuse. A moot point for me, because I'm simply interested in the story, but it slows you up somewhat, since Paolini's trying to impose upon your imagination his views of the scenario. Which is simply not done in a book, that happens in the film adaptations.
The way Paolini's gone about the story, though, is amazing. He's incorporated every single element that he used in the last three books, such as Vanir, Eragon's sparring partner in Ellesmera, who returns as an ambassador to the elves, or Solembum's mysterious prophecy about the Rock of Kuthian and the Vault of Souls. Even Sloan makes a comeback.
So, what we eventually have is a round-up to the whole story, not a single loose end left, and that is an example of a well-done, a well-thought-out storyline. Very rarely do you find an author who manages that so well, to not leave anything else that could possibly continue Eragon's story.
Another brownie point goes for the way he handled Galbatorix's defeat- it's an approach you'd see in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, and by far one of the most unconventional ways to handle a villain. Paolini's attempt to weave emotion into his writing has paid off well there, but everywhere else you'd feel like he overdoes it.
Another problem is the blatant referencing; some of the most integral parts of Paolini's plot come from a lot of odd sources. True names, and the power they hold- that idea comes from Neverwinter Nights, which was released much before the first book; the Dragonriders themselves, and the bonds between the dragon and rider- Paolini himself admitted they were inspired from McCaffrey's works. Hell, Hrothgar, the king of the dwarves, comes from an old game called Mechwarrior. The whole series reads like Dungeons and Dragons, and feels like an adventure game; and it wouldn't be prejudiced to say that he's taken a lot from games and popular fantasy.
Despite that, the whole series sums up well. And as icing to the cake, Paolini hints at future novels when Glaedr and Umaroth warn Murtagh and Thorn about other dangers in Alagaesia; an Urgal king, for one. There are mentions of powerful entities waiting for release- and I'm pretty sure that before the next two years are out, Paolini will release another book. The temptation to explore further into what may be just vague names is too great for any writer.
So, here's to Inheritance, an excellent ending to the series, a final conclusion. Paolini is still to mature as a writer, and it won't be until a few more books that we'll find him writing as well as any great fantasy author, like John Norman, or Tolkien, but for now, he's earned all the acclaim that this series has brought him.