Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini. Unabridged audio.
When Paolini's first book, Eragon, was published, the author was as much of the story as the book itself was. He started the book at 16, after graduating from high school at 15. His parents' company published the book when the author was 19. He toured more than 100 schools promoting the book, after which he ended up with a bestseller and a movie deal.
That is a great story.
Eragon itself was an OK story.
Now that Paolini is pushing 30 years of age, he does not get the benefit of the doubt that he got as a younger author. Eragon, for all its flaws and overwriting, was an amazing book for a sixteen-year-old to have written. And although successive each book in the series is a bit better than the one before, he has rightfully moved out of being compared just to teen writers, and his books can be prepared to any other epic fantasy. And in that context, the previous books have been OK. Not great. OK.
Which brings us to Inheritance, the last book in the series. The fight against evil wizard Galbatorix is reaching its climax. Dragon Saphira is nearly killed in the early stages of the book, but recovers to join Eragon and the elf warrior Arya in the final battle. As was the case with the prior novels, there were many predictable moments in the plot.
To be fair, the manner in which Galbatorix is finally defeated was a surprise. And although the denouement was a bit too long for my taste, the final resolution of Eragon's relationships with Saphira and Arya were not what I was expecting.
This is a satisfactory conclusion to an epic that probably went on a little too long. I am curious about what Paolini will do next.