Christopher Paolini. Knopf, $27.99 (880p) ISBN 978-0-375-85611-2
Almost 10 years after Paolini self-published Eragon in 2002, he concludes the epic saga of the Inheritance Cycle with this thick fourth volume, the longest yet in the series. With Eragon, his dragon Saphira, and their many allies poised to do final battle against the evil emperor Galbatorix, there is still plenty of unfinished business to wrap up. Cities need to be liberated, enemy leaders (including Eragon's half-brother Murtagh) must be dealt with, prophecies await fulfillment, and a few game-changing secrets will be revealed. In full Tolkienesque style, Paolini luxuriates in excess details, side quests, and a lengthy dénouement in which every last thread is wrapped up. The solidly entertaining plot is fleshed out with defining moments for every major character and a sense of completion (temporary or permanent) for all involved. While this final chapter is bogged down by an almost obsessive complexity with regard to the world-building, Paolini leaves readers with the satisfaction of a journey's end, along with the promise of new beginnings. It's a can't-miss for fans and completionists, and a worthy end to the story. Agent: Writers House. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/07/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
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