Anyways, the point of this post is not to indulge in self-pity. After reading 400 pages this past weekend (as opposed to my normal 200-250 pages in a weekend), I have finished Inheritance! I am happy. And sad. And a little stunned.
I feel like I've been obsessing over this series since December. Nevertheless, I shall state what I loved about this series in a series of bullet points. And then the (short) list of what I didn't like. sort of like a normal book review, except this one staggered me and I don't know whether I should give it 5,000 stars or about two stars.
What I like:
- Putting down the last book of this series made me think. Not a second of oh-that-was-a-pleasant-read, but a full-blown epiphany on my own life. That is the sign of a good book, right there. I must have sat awake for an hour, just contemplating my own mortality, my loves, my home... and whether I would cope if I had to leave it all.
- Seriously, dragons. Elves. Magic. Evil king. I'm a sucker for high fantasy stuff like that. (Not because of LoTR, but because of... I can't remember. But I read LoTR over the summer, long after I required a love of fantasy.)
- I saw the characters develop over time. This isn't a series where you can pick up the third book and truly understand everything. Reading first book to last, I felt the true intricacies that linked everyone together and what made each individual tick.
- The setting is brilliantly thought out. This isn't my slap-down-a-map-and-go-from-there. (That is actually what I did for my novel: sketch a hasty map during math class one day and just rolled with it.) This is a setting where everything is unique and fresh: each city has its own unique structure, described to you; each mountain, each plain, each little town or foreign city all has a mood attached to it, whether it's a sinister mountain (Helgrind) or a beautiful, peaceful place (Ellesmera).
- There's little romance in it. There's friendship; sometimes there's desire. But there is no main romantic relationship that ensnares the plot, unless you count Roran's love for Katrina (read the book).
What I didn't like:
- I don't like the ending of the last book. It made me think. Thinking about mortality and loss makes my head and heart hurt. It's sort of a love-hate thing, which is why I included it in what I like, as well. I won't spoil the ending for you -- go spend a month reading all four books if you want to know what I mean.
- The length of these books. It can't be helped: if I were Paolini or his editors, I wouldn't have cut anything else, either. But still -- the shortest book was the first, Eragon, at about 590 pages. The longest was the last, Inheritance, which topped out at about 850 pages. This isn't a casual read; you need time and effort to put into it.
- ...I kind of wanted to see more of Solumbum the werecat. Such an interesting idea, werecats, and since I have a book of cat fairytales, I can tell it's inspired. The werecats don't really come into play until late in the series, though.
There's a lot of stuff going on in these books. Like I said, it really made me think; I'm still a bit staggered. My thoughts slide about, from mortality to schoolwork to my presonal beliefs to the future. Nowhere near my usual daydreams. Which is a pretty impressive feat; the last time I felt like this was when I finished the Artemis Fowl series, which I've been reading and re-reading for years. I first picked up Eragon in late 2011.
I'm not going to go into the whole "boy" books vs. "girl" books thing (which is a stupid concept, if I want to sum up my opinion about it), but I would say that even as this book is about him becoming a man, it says a lot more about growing up in general. I would encourage anyone to pick up this book, regardless of gender.
I have a pile of homework that I was supposed to do over the weekend waiting for me. Have a blessed Monday, if such a thing exists! And if it doesn't, go search Narnia for it!