So a few months back I mentioned in a book review that I rated the book I was reviewing a “lavish 7/10, the same score that I gave to the disappointment that was Paolini’s Inheritance.” So as you might imagine I caught a substantial amount of backlash from Paolini lovers for daring to impeach the hallowed fourth episode of the Eregon saga. So instead of returning their knee-jerk defence of the book with a knee-jerk defence of my own, I decided that, what the heck it’s been a few years since I’ve read the Inheritance cycle, I’ll read it again to make sure that I didn’t miss anything the first time around.
And the results are….that I still think that the fourth novel of the cycle was a big disappointment. I mean don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining and well- presented etc. etc. The problem that I have is that it simply doesn’t answer so many of the questions that it puts forth.
Let me name the the most obvious points of interest:
1. Why didn’t Shruken or Galbatorix just destroy the Varden
If Galbatorix was able to kill Glaedr and Oromis from across the country then he definitely could have destroyed the Varded at any point in their insurrection with ease. He knew that their campaign would lead to massive casualties both on their own side as well as his, so it’s not as if he was reluctant to kill people.It’s also not as though he didn’t care about them, as he went to great extents to counter them. At the final battle at Urubaen Shruken alone could have destroyed every single one of the Varden in minutes, and Galbatorix could have been done with it.
This brings us to the next point.
2. What was the point of the traps?
Inside of Urubaen, Galbatorix set up several traps and custom tailored them to KILL those in Eragon’s party. What? Why would he do that? Firstly, he didn’t want to kill Saphira or Eragon, and secondly he knew all about the witch-child Elva’s ability to sense the pain felt by those about her in the short-term future. Why would the king have gone to the trouble of it if he knew they would not work? There are literally dozens of ways in which he could have countered Elva’s abilities and Eragon’s to boot, especially since he held the name of the ancient language. He knew enough to capture the rest of the elves in Eragon’s party later on by simply not causing them pain with his traps.
For those that might say that the useless traps were not custom-tailored to Eragon’s party, remember that the one trap was only sprung when he placed his hand on it, but not by the other magicians inside of it.
3. The Name of Names.
Holy heck, how in the hell could Galbatorix have lost with this tool at his disposal, it boggles the mind. Yet, all that he does is remove the wards of those inside his palace, and fiddle with the spells of enemies in his city. What? Come again? A megalomaniac with an all-mighty power at his disposal and that is all he does? No, just….no.
Galbatorix should have know the instant that Murtagh’s true name changed, because as we are constantly told, he was a sly guy. How many characters said that the king would have placed wards on his subjects to notify him if their true names changed. And yet… Then we come to the point of how Murtagh came to know the name of the ancient language. No way in hell would Galbatorix have shared it with him, that’s for sure. Murtagh speaks about a spell of forgetfullness that the king used with the name, but how did Murtagh find it then? It can’t be because his true name changed, because any idiot would have used the name of names to bind a spell of forgetfullness to the name itself and not to every single person who heard the name, that would be totally impractical.
This then brings us to the unaddressed questions of:
5. Where did Galbatorix find the true name, and is it linked to Tenga and his search for the “answer”?
Well, who knows? It just irks me that we don’t know. Mayhap Christopher Paolini is setting up for another storyline? So many hints about Tenga, so little fact.
So, to summarise my disappointment with this final novel, let my describe it as how I always remember it. “Inheritance is the story of how a ruthless tyrant with infinite power and infinite stolen energy, and a burning desire to keep living and ruling dies because he takes no steps to counter those he know are on their way to kill him.“-Jeremy Dawes