Doubleday, 2011, pp860, 18.99 [pounds sterling]
978 0 385 61649 2
Weatherly, L. A.
Usborne, 2011, pp710, 7.99 [pounds sterling]
978 1 4095 2201 0
These two books are each part of a sequence and each with so many pages I'd have felt guilty sending either to a reviewer over the hectic Christmas season: so it falls to the Reviews Editor.
Inheritance is the fourth and final volume of the series which began with a teenager's publishing triumph, Eragon. If a complex structure of great detail, interlinked nomenclature, social orders and disorder and towering imaginative cumulative plotting caught a reader then this will prove immensely satisfying. If such fantasies leave a reader colder than the breath of a dragon could penetrate this would be agony. An admirable skill of the previous books has been the completion of a story in each and yet with many suggestive open-ended elements. This final book draws strands together and with the inevitable cliche finale of a ship voyaging away there's only the six pages of pronunciation guides and linguistic information, plus a few notes and it's all over. Inheritance will convert no-one to dragonesque fantasy but fans will love it.
Angel Fire is the second in this trilogy which began with the book simply titled Angel. The writing is tremendous, the pacing is brilliant and the characters thrum off the pages. As ever with multi-volume epics the first book was so impressive with the sheer originality of the situation it created whereas the subsequent books cannot have that freshness of introduction. Fortunately this second book makes no attempt to artificially introduce alternatives to the modus operandi but relies on sheer plotting intrigue to create a compelling turn-the-page-and-read-on blockbuster. The struggle is developed further and an extended teen angst romance is so cleverly related and integrated that it adds terrifically to the central tension of the action. This trilogy is turning out to be a real breath of fresh air in the swamps of teen-goth-vamps-angel of recent years. A triumph.