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Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4

Book review by
Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media
Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4 Book Poster Image
Epic tale concludes in battle- and blood-filled saga.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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.

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.).

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult 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.
Parent Written byJoe The August 5, 2013

Helpful book

Throughout the book there are large pile of bodies, thousands of dead people and powerful killing machines that single handedly destroy buildings. The protagoni... Continue reading
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 th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHaven3245657656 February 28, 2012

This. Is. EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!

This book is epically written, the best in the saga!!! Sure there is a bit of smoking, but that's by the dragons, and they do breath fire, ALTHROUGH; the g... Continue reading

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 ...

Talk to your kids 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?

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