Life's hard.

It's even harder when you're stupid.

John Wayne

Monday, April 30, 2012

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini's ★★★☆☆



Paolini's Ambitious Effort
Fiction – YA - Epic Fantasy
Age level 12 and up  Grade level 7 and up
860 pages
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
The Inheritance Cycle #4

Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4)Inheritance the fourth book in the cycle brings to an end a very ambitious series.  We once again join Eragon, Shapphira and the other’s that make up AlagaĆ«sia to find out if Galbatorix will be defeated and at what cost to our heroes.  I will leave it to others to recount the book and instead focus just on my opinions and thoughts.

I found this book a nice read and for the most part a good conclusion.  Paolini allowed his characters to reach their potential while keeping the pace and excitement at a high level through much of the story - though I must admit I did find myself starting to get fatigued with the story around the 500page mark which is not something I noticed occurring with his other three books.  The varying viewpoints
interweave a complex series of events into mostly digestible pieces while making them more personable.  Paolini largely achieved the delicate balance between the action with reaction, however, on occasion I had to reread passages to understand all of the actions taking place. 

Other reviews have complained about the rather long ending and I would have to agree with them.  A much shorter ending – about a third the actual size - would have been more to my liking and definitely attainable.  There have also been many complaints of not enough resolution about smaller things like Angela or the Belt of Beloth the Wise.  To them I would say, people a little mystery in life is good.  Something I would have really liked was a better ending for Eragon and Arya.  Perhaps the actual introduction of some real romantic element between them, besides the acknowledgement of Eragon’s desire would have made it more satisfactory.  I also, like others had a difficult time with Arya becoming Queen, especially coupled with her becoming a dragon rider.   Her agreement to take the position seemed off to me, no matter how dedicated she was supposed to be to her people.  I kind of felt like Paolini did that to put a final nail in the coffin of her and Eragon’s possibility of finding happiness together.

Something I liked was the writing in this book.  While I have enjoyed Christopher Paolini’s writing throughout the series, the level of comfort and maturity attained in the last book was very gratifying.  He was able to craft an interesting complex story while incorporating style and beauty into his writing.  No easy task. 

From a personal view point one thing I would have changed is to have the book broken down into two separate ones – ending the first one right after Nasuada’s abduction-, but then again that is just my personal opinion and not a complaint about the story itself.  Something I did enjoy about all of the books were the appendixes which included a pronunciation guide.  I wish more fantasy and Sci-Fi books had these!

Over all I am impressed with Christopher Paolini’s progress as a writer despite my critiques and look forward with high expectations to his next project.  I am giving the book three stars out of five, instead of four I would have otherwise, due to the fatigue factor and the long unnecessary ending.

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet ★★☆☆☆

Witch and Wizard (Witch and Wizard, #1)

Awkward as a 6ft3 14-year-old
Fiction –YA - Fantasy
10 and up 5 and up 317 pages
December 1, 2009
Witch &Wizard #1

            As my first James Patterson book I went into this book with hopes high and great expectations of the story he had to share with me, but unfortunately things did not go as smoothly as I expected.

I found myself struggling to get past the constant weird breaks and put on teenager speak – I felt like they were trying really hard to be young and hip.  Don’t get me wrong I can really enjoy different viewpoints in a story, and the idea of Whit and Whitsy being ripped from their normal world into a hellish new reality was kind of exciting, but the choppiness of these breaks never allowed me to really get the rhythm of the story.  But still I soldiered on.  I would ignore the awkwardness, because I just knew Patterson had more to offer than I was seeing.  The book could still be redeemed

How wrong I was, it never got better! 

The characters never gained any depth, the writing didn’t improve –nothing about it felt organic -  and I never really could imagine the places they visited - the descriptions had no texture.  Worst by the end I didn’t even really care what happened to Whit and Whitsy.  I just wanted to finish the book.  I hate feeling that way.

The biggest problem by for me was I never could buy into it.  Don’t get me wrong Sci-Fi/Fantasy is my bread and butter and I can suspend my disbelief for the most amazing and on occasion ridiculous things.  I mean I really wanted to believe and immerse myself in another book world, but I couldn’t. 

I put a lot of effort into trying to like this book and I came to ask myself why.  A book like this shouldn’t take that much effort and with some introspection I realized I was only doing it because of James Patterson.  I wanted to like him, but in this case Mr. Patterson did not deserve my efforts.

Overall I give this book two stars.  I didn’t hate it, but nor did I really like it and the rare moments of wit and interesting premise – though in this case ill applied - did nothing to save it. 

Don’t bother to read it!