Thursday, October 2, 2008

Book Review: "Brisingr" by Christopher Paolini


The Inheritance Cycle continues as the battle for Alagaesia reaches a climax in Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. The book begins with a blissfully detailed summary of the first two books for those, like me, who need a reminder of what has happened before, and then drops the reader right into the action. The book begins with Eragon, the Dragon Rider, leading Roran into the depths of the evil King Galbatorix’s Empire to save Roran’s fiancĂ©e. The action continues from there with battles between dragons, Riders, spellcasters, and warriors that do not feel pain (think of slightly more intelligent zombies). Eragon and the soldiers he is leading, the Varden, sure look doomed.

Eragon has changed from the first book, both physically and mentally. He’s still impatient, but he takes time to think about his actions and their impact on others. He always tries to do what he thinks is right, even when others believe he is being foolish, which is always a good quality to have in a hero. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to identify with Eragon, as he’s now part elf and apparently some kind of superhero, with superhuman strength and the ability to use magic to make himself fly without his dragon. However, Eragon is in a position where everyone wants to tell him what to do, and they all have expectations of him, so he feels trapped. With so many tasks and standards thrust upon him, he finds it hard to remain true to himself. Don’t we all feel that way sometimes?

My biggest problem with the book is the way it splits its time between following Eragon and following every other major character of importance. Roran, Nasuada, and even the dragon Saphira all get the opportunities to present their points of view, which bothers me because Eragon is the character to whom I am most attached. I want to know his story in full, and view the action from his perspective. The structure of the trilogy mirrors that of the Lord of the Rings: the first book focuses on one individual or group, the second splits the narrative into two, and the third act splits even further to encompass all the action and politics that are inevitable in tales of war. The reader is able to get a broader scope on all the aspects of this war, but being constantly yanked out of one story arc and thrust into another tends to be wearying.

Despite this, I greatly enjoyed reading Brisingr. It is very exciting, holds a few surprises, and I am looking forward to the fourth and last book.

Review by Vicki the Children's Librarian


Beth said...

haha! i dont have to hide from the blog anymore! i finished brisingr...and for the most part, i agree with that review. only thing i would have added is that i came away with a complete brain overload...way too much happened all at once in the end.

Justin The Teen Librarian said...'re going to have to talk about that on the podcast!

Ed Carson said...

It was worth waiting for but alas I feel I will now be ninty before the forth booh in the TRILOGY comes out. Miss Vicki and I have chatted about this short coming so I feel much better. In the meantime to help with the wait I strongly suggest Graceling by Kristin Cashore as an excellent read.