Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4 Book Poster Image

Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4



Epic tale concludes in battle- and blood-filled saga.
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What parents need to know

Educational value

The author has created a detailed fantasy world with its own languages. There are also worthwhile lessons in politics and leadership.

Positive messages

As always, Eragon and his friends and allies are 100 percent committed to defeating their country's evil king and restoring peace to the land. They're loyal to each other and their cause, and they have some sympathy for those who serve the king out of ignorance or force (though that doesn't stop them from killing scores of them in battle). Friendship, duty, and honor are all valued.

Positive role models

Through magic, personal growth, and training, Eragon is virtually without flaw at this point in the saga; he's motivated by loyalty, duty, honor, and friendship, and he never hesitates to do the right thing (he also never hesitates to kill an enemy, which some may consider an iffier quality). Arya and Nasuada are both strong, powerful women -- Arya is a better warrior than many of the male characters, and Nasuada is a smart, brave leader. Roran is one of the few main characters not able to use magic; his success despite this lack offers a good counterpoint to the others' achievements. Murtaugh is one of the book's more conflicted characters, and his ultimate decisions have all the more impact as a result.


Lots and lots of fighting and bloodshed; there are many epic battles with massive destruction and loss of life. Characters are killed in gruesome ways -- stabbings, beheadings, disembowelments, fire/immolation, crushing, and much more -- but most of the gore isn't lingered on or described in ultra-graphic detail. One character is tortured both physically and mentally; her suffering is described, though again not in tons of detail. Another submits herself to terrible pain to escape captivity. Some characters are able to dispatch huge groups of enemies in swift succession, with little regret/hesitation expressed. Dragons breathe fire; there are tons of swordfights, hammer blows, and more. Animals are killed (horses in battle, etc.), mutilations and painful injuries are described.


Eragon's ongoing feelings for Arya continue, though there's little action. Dragons court each other in showy fashion.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one chapter, Eragon and Arya get quite drunk on a special liqueur that makes them giddy and induces visions/hallucinations. Other casual/social drinking of alcoholic drinks (mead, etc.).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this epic fantasy is the conclusion to the story that began in Eragon and continued in Eldest and Brisingr. Its many battles and fight scenes are filled with frequent gory deaths via sword, hammer blow, magic, heavy masonry, and many other methods of dispatchment; bodies pile up at an alarming rate. Characters are also tortured, one at length. Many of the main characters, including the hero, are able to kill hordes of enemies single-handedly, a fact they seldom seem to worry about or regret. There's also a bit of romantic tension and one scene in which two characters get quite drunk.

What's the story?

On the warpath with the Varden, determined to finally overthrow the evil King Galbatorix, Eragon and his bonded dragon, Saphira, find that they still have challenges to overcome before they'll get their chance to confront the powerful monarch. The most important may be solving the cryptic words of the werecat Solembum, which send the pair on a side quest to the Dragon Riders' ancestral (and long-destroyed) home after a strike at the heart of the Varden's leadership puts the whole army in jeopardy. It will take all of Eragon's skills -- plus help from his many allies, including his cousin Roran, the elf maiden Arya, and the wise dragon Glaedr -- to succeed against Galbatorix and his chief henchman, Eragon's half-brother Murtagh.

Is it any good?


There's no question that author Christopher Paolini is able to tell an entertaining story; INHERITANCE is very readable and full of adventure. But that adventure is stretched out over more than 800 pages, too many of which are spent inside Eragon's head as he mulls over some decision or another, practices his swordplay, or moons over Arya. And at this point, Paolini has made Eragon so nearly perfect -- he's a killing machine, he's a powerful magician, he makes the right decisions in a crisis, and he doesn't even really need to sleep -- that he's a little bit boring; it's hard to be worried that he won't prevail in the end. The more humanly flawed Roran and Murtagh are often more compelling.

Inheritance has some very exciting set pieces, and it brings Paolini's Lord of the Rings-and-Star Wars-influenced saga to a mostly satisfying conclusion, but it also leaves some key questions and plot points unresolved -- which is frustrating after bearing with the story through four doorstopper-sized tomes. But the book also leaves the door open for more adventures in Alagaesia, so perhaps we haven't quite seen the last of Eragon and Saphira after all ...

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the book depicts duty and loyalty. Are they important motivators? Should they be the most important motivators? Is loyalty always freely given?

  • Do you consider Eragon a role model? Are things too easy for him at this point in the story? Does he still have room to grow as a character?

  • How do you feel when a long fantasy series like this one comes to an end? Do you wish it would keep going? Is that always in readers' best interest?

Book details

Author:Christopher Paolini
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:November 8, 2011
Number of pages:880
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byHeq073198 December 16, 2011


BOO!! Okay the the back-cover description promised a romance! They LIED!!! Arya and Eragon admit their feelings for each other, but do nothing about it. Oh and Eragon "HAD to leave Alagaesia, it was the only way." That's FALSE!!!! This ending was worse than Mockingjay!! I feel roped in, nothing happens until forever!! I had to flip to the ending just to see who dies (which is no one, besides Islanzadi, and no one really cares about her). *Sigh* Let's just say, I got mad. I waited THREE YEARS FOR THIS BOOK. THREE FREAKING YEARS. AND I GOT THAT?! THAT?!?!?! It's like the author was ending a book, not the whole darn series! Eragon and Arya DO NOT get together, which is the only reason I cared to finish it. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THESE CRUDDY CONCLUSIONS!!!!! @HugeReader123 I totally agree! I wish the green dragon came out earlier, too. I was so looking forward to another dragon in the series, I love their personalities and their points of view. I'm getting a little tired of Paolini's writing style as well. Like seriously? Even for a fantasy novel this is just way over-exaggerated. Plus I'm pretty sure he has the dictionary memorized. Look, I'm on a high reading level, but I'd prefer to not have to rack my brain for a couple minutes just to get through one sentence. Ok CP. We get it, you're single. But just because you like to get cuddly with your Thesaurus doesn't mean we do too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byj-cat February 1, 2012


Coarse language is used a bit throughout the book. Eragon and Arya get drink some intoxicating beverage and get drunk together. Lots of violence and gore.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old January 5, 2012

The best piece of literature in my life to this day.

Good lord people have to understand a book is not bad because it's the spirit of the author the skill and work they put into it. this book had an author that poured his thought feelings and emotions into a series that has become a book that takes Twilight and spits on it. Mr. Paolini did not just writee a series he wrote a classic that will be remembered for the next hundred years. It will not die like twilight. I believe that Mr. Paolini decided to catalog his friends family and dreams we just can't see it. Think about the good these people do this happens very early in the book (Spoiler Warning) a baby is born with a catlip. so Eragon heals her and makes it so that she will survive and be able to fit in(End Spoiler). These people in this book do whatever they can do grant the people of this other region freedom from a terrible dictator. Battles rage just like the characters interactions and emotions changing the way you think about these characters people lose family and you feel the loss to it's like nothing I've ever felt before in a book. This book is utterly amazing in every way.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


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