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Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Pub Date:

 

 

 

 

Brisingr
Christopher Paolini

Knopf
9/30/08
Hardcover/763 pages
ISBN: 0-375826-72-6
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". . . unforgettable characters in a believable three-dimensional world."

Brisingr: The third book in the Inheritance Cycle.

 

 

 

Eragon and Saphira are determined to go with Roran to save Katrina from the Ra’zac even though the Nasuada, the Varden queen, is against their plan. Nasuada and the rest of the Varden need to protect their greatest asset in the fight against Galbatorix. Eragon needs to honor his promise to his cousin, Roran, to help save Katrina. Eragon promises to be careful, and Nasuada reluctantly lets them go. Thus begins the first of many journeys for Eragon, Roran and Saphira in the third installment of the Inheritance Cycle.

Nearing the end of writing Brisingr Christopher Paolini decided he could not finish his story of Eragon and Saphira and the fight against Galbatorix in three books. He changed his mind and made what he originally planned as a trilogy into a four-book cycle. It was the right decision.

Brisingr is big not only in the number of pages but also in its scope. Paolini has taken the young farm boy, Eragon of No Name, and brought him through the discovery of the dragon Saphira as well as fire, battles and magic, changing him from human to half elf in a story that spans years. J. R. R. Tolkien’s influence is clear in the language of the dwarves and elves and their basic natures. Tolkien provides the inspiration for Brisingr and the Inheritance saga which Paolini uses to good effect, creating a richly diverse landscape that stands on its own.

While Eragon and Saphira are the fulcrum around which the story moves, it is Roran that shines through as the most developed and fully-realized character. Roran has matured into a strong adult while Eragon struggles between being a petulant and pouting child and an adult. Eragon’s actions are unfathomable at times as when he fights Murtagh and Thorn. There are moments when Eragon seems to have grown and then he slips back into being a petulant child as if Paolini isn’t certain where he wants the character to go or how to keep Eragon’s actions and thoughts consistent. Eragon’s actions provide the motivating force for the story. Paolini finds himself at a point where the story could end but feels he has to pull back in order to say all he has to say. This makes Eragon seem unstable and inconsistent.

The Vardens’ reliance on such a flighty young man who has yet to attain maturity is troublesome at times. Putting their faith in Eragon and Saphira and pinning their hopes on such a young man puts everything at risk. Yet the Varden continue to give Eragon more responsibility than is prudent, which is one of Brisingr’s flaws.

Despite the flaws and contradictions, Brisingr is a wonderful story populated with marvelous characters that filled the reader with awe and surprise. Paolini has achieved a triumph with Brisingr that puts him in a class alongside Tolkien, McCaffrey and J. K. Rowling, creating unforgettable characters in a believable three-dimensional world.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell