Author: Christopher Paolini
Hardback: 764 pages
Publish Date: 2008
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (div. of Random House)
Miscellaneous: Brisingr is the third book in the Inheritance Cycle.
By the light from the coals in the oven, Eragon studied Sloan’s hands; the butcher lay a yard or two away, where Eragon had placed him. Dozens of thin white scars crisscrossed his long, bony fingers, with their oversized knuckles and long fingernails that, while they had been meticulous in Carvahall, were now ragged, torn, and blackened with accumulated filth. The scars testified to the relatively few mistakes Sloan had made during the decades he had spent wielding knives. His skin was wrinkled and weathered and bulged with wormlike veins, yet the muscles underneath were hard and lean.
Eragon sat on his haunches and crossed his arms over his knees. “I can’t just let him go,” he murmured. If he did, Sloan might track down Roran and Katrinan, a prospect that Eragon considered unacceptable. Besides, even though he was not going to kill Sloan, he believed the butcher should be punished for his crimes.
… What, however, would constitiute proper punishment? I refused to become an executioner, thought Eragon, only to make myself an arbiter. What do I know about law?
-Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, page 75
As we return to Alagaesia in this, the third book in the Inheritance Cycle, we begin the journey of growing up as most of the old leaders, Brom, Ajihad, Hrothgar, and Durza all died in the second book and Eragon, Roran, Nasuada, Orik and Murtagh have all stepped into the positions of leadership their deaths left open. This concept, that of the younger generation stepping up and carrying the banner, is the continuing theme throughout Brisingr by Christopher Paolini.
To be completely honest, I doubt this book could be a stand alone novel. There is so much that occurred in the two previous books that has led to the events in this book, and most of those events are not referenced, it is assumed that the reader already knows. Even though I’d read the first two, and had read them less than a year ago, there were still a couple times where even I failed to remember what previous happening was alluded to.
What’s more, Brisingr seems to be a bloated and under-edited cry of “look at me! I’m so smart! I has talents!” from Paolini. Yes, Eragon (the first book of the series) was an impressive show of skill, partly because if the story and writing, but also because of the fact the author was 15 when he wrote it. And Eldest was a continuation of that book. Both were exciting and fascinating, with dragons and elves and the battle of good versus evil. Both contained sword fights and duels of magicians, and the fight to protect one of the most basic rights people have, to have and be safe in one’s own home. Disappointingly, though, Brisingr drags on and on, with pages spent on day trips of hunting or flying around, and with Eragon’s whining. I got so sick of his whining by the end of the book!
It is not entirely bad, though. There are several things that I loved about this book. SPOILER ALERT… warn you ahead of time. I appreciated Eragon’s difficult choice not to kill Sloan, who’s decision to betray the village of Carvahall to the Galbatorix led to the death of many and the ultimate destruction of the village. He chooses not to be an executioner, yet he also realizes justice demands Sloan’s punishment. Eragon shows a depth of character and the ability to think on many levels with the punishment he imposes. He does not abandon Sloan to the desert, being an executioner by proxy, but takes up the responsibility for the man’s life throughout the book. Another facet of Brisingr I truly loved is Eragon’s true parentage. I cannot think of a better or more noble resolution to the struggle Eragon goes through after Murtagh revealed to him that they were brothers. In fact, this little nugget makes me hate the movie version even more, because it was never touched (That movie will have negative stars before the end of this series!). Also, I have enjoyed watching Roran come into his own as a leader within the Varden, no longer viewed solely as the cousin of the Dragon Rider.
Seriously, Brisingr by Christopher Paolini leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s one of those things that I’m glad I did now that I’m done. I wanted to finish it because I loved the first two books, and I will buy and read the final book when it comes out. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Maybe they should make a condensed version? Does Reader’s Digest do fantasy books?
Other reviews of interest for Brisingr:
In the following video, two teenage guys try to make sense of two popular YA books. Twilight versus Brisingr…. who will win?
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