I can't really write much of a review in this review seeing as how it's the last book in a four part series. To give away any of the plot would be too revealing for anyone considering on actually picking the series up. So I'm going to tackle this another way. Hopefully you can bear with me.
I picked up the Inheritance Cycle shortly after Eldest came out from a friend of mine. Actually, I think it was an ex girlfriend but that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. It's not a well written series. I have to admit that. It's certainly not on par with Lord of the Rings even though the author attempts to create a Tolkien like setting and languages.
Christopher Paolini was around 15 when he started doing the initial writing for Eragon and the second edition was published in 2003 when he was 19. Is it awesome that he managed to get a book published so young? Fuck yeah. I still haven't had one published. Of course, that would require me to get past my slump and actually write one. What does that mean for Paolini though? He wasn't very mature when he wrote the first book. I would even dare to say that due to home schooling that maturity was probably even more lacking. So the book isn't very polished or refined. It's childlike in its approach and is generally considered to be even less of a young adult book than Harry Potter is. However, that being said, he has managed to grow in his books. I wouldn't say his writing is phenomenal now, after reading Inheritance, but he's getting there. He still keeps the playfulness of the other books, that lack of maturity, but he now manages to imbue more adult themes and situations into the work.
What Paolini manages though is to bring emotion into reading about his characters. After reading Inheritance I was left with a similar feeling to reading The Deathly Hallows. I was sad. I cried several times. I felt depressed after having a series disappear on me. I've spent six years involved in a series that has just come to a conclusion. In fact the spacing of the books is close to that of Harry Potter. I feel terrible for fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Literature also makes you more invested in the characters than a film does. At least in my opinion. I didn't cry when (Harry Potter Spoiler: for those rare people who haven't read the series or seen the movies) Hedwig died in the movie, but you can bet your fucking ass I cried when I read that part in the book (End Spoiler). It's a trying thing for a fan of a series. To read the characters of Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Roran, Murtagh, and the world of Alagaësia as their story ends. It's almost like letting go of an old friend. To see how your dreams of what would happen with the characters disintegrate...it's hard.
Now that I've expressed my mental anguish, let me discuss the book. The series was supposed to end with Brisingr. It was only supposed to be a trilogy. So I remember when a friend let me borrow it that they said to me, "Be prepared. You're going to be pissed."
Of course I didn't understand until I got to the end. Not only was I pissed because I was expecting it to be the last, but because I knew I was likely going to have to wait another three years to be able to finish it. At 849 pages I still don't think Paolini was ready to finish it.
The end result was that I feel a bit cheated. I found the ending to The Deathly Hallows to be a bit idiotic. I even laughed when I read it. The ending to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, appropriate. I think Paolini wanted a Lord of the Rings ending, but he's no Tolkien.
He dragged out the ending unnecessarily. Continually adding more and more when I just wanted to find out what the fuck happened to the characters. In doing so he aggravated me. Which is not something you really want to do to a fan of a series that is ending. I found several moments where I felt he could have stopped...and he didn't. I kept turning the page for him to reveal new things to me. If he had managed to quit writing, and put his thoughts to the side, I think he could have come up with a much better ending.
If you're a Harry Potter fan I think you can find yourself interested in the characters. If you liked Lord of the Rings you will see plenty of similarities. If you loved Lord of the Rings you might hate the Inheritance Cycle. I don't know if I should give an age disclaimer here. I read Eragon when I was around 22, and I was able to enjoy it. Granted, I think my IQ might have dropped a few points, but I liked it. The series does get better though.
I kind of wonder what it would have been like it Paolini started it at 25 rather than 15.