This took a while to get through, in part because it’s so large — coming in at 880 pages. Also because the audiobook was split into two pieces and, lastly, I kept forgetting to renew my library rental, meaning I had to wait to get access to it again.

I could have saved myself some time as, what you would assume would be the climax — the battle with Galbatorix — occurs considerably before the end of the book. What follows is a lot of wasted material as the author either reluctantly hangs on to the world he has created, or tries to emulate Lord of the Rings.

I could have stopped two-thirds through and not missed anything. Up to that point it wasn’t bad. There’s some good action sprinkled with different ideas.

It’s interesting looking back at my reviews of the previous installments. Obviously my tastes have changed, and I suspect the fantasy genre has moved on in that time as well. After the blood, guts and shifting allegiances in Game of Thrones, this seems a very pedestrian story. Not only is the plot linear, with few twists or complexities, but it feels very PG-13 as well.

This is a Young Adult tale, to be fair, but there’s even a lack of serious threat it seems. When injuries can be repaired by magic, wounds rarely prove fatal so no one is in real peril. It’s like walking a tight rope with a net below. Then the final battle relies on some deus ex machina to overcome the seemingly impossibly odds.

There’s talk of another book set in AlagaĆ«sia — it would be interesting to see how it matures now that Paolini is older.

If you’re a younger reader, the series is pleasant enough, but for older readers who like to dip into YA, this is probably one you can skip.

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Reviewed: 22nd June 2018