The lithium-ion battery technology is rooted in the studies of intercalation of guest ions into inorganic host materials developed ca. 40 years ago. It further turned into a commercial product, which will soon blow its 25th candle. Intense research efforts during this time have resulted in the development of a large spectrum of electrode materials together with deep understanding of the underlying structure–property relationships that govern their performance. This has enabled an ever increasing electrochemical yield together with the diversification of the technology into several subfamilies, tailoring materials to application requirements. The present paper aims at providing a global and critical perspective on inorganic electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries categorized by their reaction mechanism and structural dimensionality. Specific emphasis is put on recent research in the field, which beyond the chemistry and microstructure of the materials themselves also involves considering interfacial chemistry concepts alongside progress in characterization techniques. Finally a short personal perspective is provided on some plausible development of the field.