Inheritance is the fourth (and final) book in the Eragon series, so I can't guarantee that there won't be spoilers for the first three books in this review. I can promise no spoilers for Inheritance.
Eragon has come a looooong way from his humble beginning in Eragon! From a poor farm boy who knew little of his family to a dragon rider leading the Varden (sp?) against Galbatorix. As you can imagine, Inheritance is fraught with tension. Everything has been leading to this final battle to defeat Galbatorix and return freedom to Alagaesia. Christopher Paolini does NOT disappoint!
Rather than structuring Inheritance to be nothing more than a large, lengthy battle, Christopher Paolini opens with battle preparations. The reader is present for the birth of Rorin's child, and goes on an adventure with Eragon and Saphira to gain more recruits for the Varden. We continue to see growth and strength in characters. For instance, Naswadda (sp?) is really put to the test in the first half of the book. I know, I know: no spoilers! But I can say that the reader will see forgiveness in action, and there will be a time when the line between black and white, right and wrong, becomes a little fuzzy and gray. I love that about these books: none of the characters are 100% good or bad. Even the hero of the story, Eragon, has his flaws.
Of course ultimately, this series is (like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings) an allegory of the ancient tried and true fight between good and evil. Even flawed, there is never any question that the Varden are the "good guys" and Galbatorix is the "bad guy." So even with their small flaws, the reader never questions whether Eragon is "good" or "bad;" he always has the best of intentions.
As is probably predictable, a large chunk of the middle of the book is the battle. It's intense! While I think that many readers will guess at the ultimate outcome, none of the individual characters' fates is guaranteed, leaving readers on the edge of their seats.
The language in these books is just beautiful. Poignant and almost lyrical, with heavy undertones of Tolkien. But never, ever dull or pedantic. There are sweeping descriptions of setting that never feel overly long, and are well spaced between dialogue and action.
And finally, a note on the narration, as I listened to this book on CD. Gerard Doyle does a FANTASTIC job. I do believe he's the same narrator as on the other books, and I do like continuity in narrators in audiobook series. And his reading is so excellent. The cadence isn't too fast or too slow. And he does a really cool, deep, gravelly voice for the dragons!
A great end to a great series! I've already re-added the books to my tbr list to re-read in the future.
*I checked out my copy of Inheritance from my local library.