Brisingr By: Christopher Paolini


Brisingr

Just so we’re not confused: We are posting another point of view on Brisingr by another reviewer for more perspective. MTG

Christopher Paolini’s Brisingr is the third book of four in the Inheritance series, and I read it because I had already trudged through the first two books and wanted to know where the epic-length tale was headed. The reason I had first delved into his series was simply out of curiosity; I mean, who wouldn’t want to read a story about a boy and his dragon, right? And after the reviewing world hailed the series a masterpiece, I thought I should see what all the hype was about.

Brisingr (the word for “fire” in the ancient language) begins with Eragon, the last of the free dragon riders, who seeks the destruction of the evil beings who wreaked havoc on his family. He continues seeking for truth: truth about his life, role, and beliefs. He still grapples with his role in the destruction of the evil ruler, a Sauron-like character, who fell from his place as dragon rider years earlier.

Christopher Paolini grew up in Montana and graduated from high school at the age of fifteen. At the age of nineteen he published his first bestseller, Eragon (which also became a movie shortly thereafter). I was skeptical of this new writer at first, thinking that the only reason for his book’s popularity was because of the author’s demographics.

Paolini uses the English language masterfully (and even some of his created Elvish and Dwarvish languages), and I especially enjoyed his employment of new and exciting vocabulary words. His fresh ideas on fantasy bring to life his story; he does his best to avoid the hackneyed fantasy plots where the good guy always defeats the bad guy, gets the girl, and lives happily ever after. He also does a very good job of creating characters who act consistently throughout the plot without being too predictable.

The book’s jacket notes some praise for Paolini’s series: U.S. News & World Report says that Brisingr is “the new ‘It’ book of children’s lit.” I would contend that this statement is indeed far from truth. Objectionable elements crop up throughout the entire seven-hundred-page book. The gore factor in this book has been elevated much from the first two; the author goes into great detail of the manners in which the men die. Foul language is also scattered here and there. Paolini occasionally uses the words in a correct sense, but a majority of the time he uses the words simply as profanity. He has also skillfully woven in philosophical and religious tones. In one situation, a pagan god appears to the dwarves and blesses them. At another time, Eragon wonders if the atheism of the elves is the right way to believe. The book seems ambivalent on the issues and lends itself to further study. I would not recommend this book to children or young adults, who are yet forming their world views, and I think that those who commit to reading this series (this book especially) should do so with caution.

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Brisingr By: Christopher Paolini


Brisingr

Plot: The third installment to the Inheritance cycle, originally a trilogy, begins a few days after where the last one left off.

Eragon, Roran and Saphira are hiding near Helgrind, a evil looking mountain that hides the Ra’zac, their hated enemies. They are watching a procession of people walking toward Helgrind. As they find out, the people are their to sacrifice to the Ra’zac, whom they consider gods. After a gruesome ceremony, the people leave and Eragon and Roran leave to wait until dawn for their attack on the evil fortress to rescue Katrina, Roran’s betrothed. Morning comes quickly and our two cousins set off on Saphira to find an entrance into the seemingly impenetrable mountain. As it turns out, the dark face of the mountain is a mere illusion. Finding this, the threesome fly inside; it is quiet, but soon the Ra’zac parents, large and ugly winged creatures, attack Saphira together, while their two children attack Eragon and Roran.

After a long fight, they rescue Katrina and Roran and Saphira leave Eragon, unwillingly, to stay and kill the last Ra’zac. He remains for his secret reasons, of course, he kills the Ra’zac and rescues Sloan, the man who betrayed Roran and his entire village to the Ra’zac months before. After learning Sloan’s ‘true’ name and sending him to the elves, Eragon heads back to the Varden on foot. He meets Arya along the way, finding out that she came to find him. Less than a week passes and Eragon and Arya arrive back at the Varden.

They have not too long to recuperate, for not a week passes before Galdaborix sends three hundred soldiers, (who cannot feel pain) to attack the Varden. Along with Thorn and Murtagh. Eragon and Saphira fly out to meet their long time foes in the air, and defeat them with the help of thirteen spell-casters below. Thorn and Murtagh, however defeated, get away. Thus ends the first battle of the book. Nasuada has ever increasing problems with the dwarfs and sends Eragon to encourage the dwarfs to pick a new king, before Galdaborix finds out that Eragon is not in the camp and tries to send Thorn and Murtagh back to attack the Varden.

Positive: Our liking of Eragon increases somewhat in this sequel to the sequel. Though he still could use a bit of help. He is learning to control his temper and tongue, which relieves us greatly. Galdaborix is shown to be even more evil in this book than in the last, and we come to wish him dead and gone long before the end. The author’s writing style is pleasant and detailed, if somewhat long winded. I must admit the book kept my attention most of the time.

Negative: There is a rather gruesome ceremony in the beginning, involving men cutting off their limbs in worship to the Ra’zac, and two slaves are left to be eaten by the Ra’zac. There is a contest between two leaders to see who is braver, which includes cutting ones arms repeatedly (namely eight times) until one of the two gives way and can’t take anymore. Gods are mentioned and one briefly seen. There’s the blood of battles, but not much else. (I think he spends two too many chapters on Roran, Eragon’s cousin.) A man is flogged with fifty lashes.

Overall: The author has a hugely complicated plot, one which is rather creative. I think he has bit too much detail at times. The author is, for the most part, very good at keeping ones attention engaged. I think I have enjoyed the first book best. I mostly enjoyed this book and would recommend it, if the forth makes up for the second and third.

Eldest By: Christopher Paolini


Eragon

Plot: The Eldest picks up where Eragon left off, in the Varden.

The leader of the Varden dies while fighting Urgals in a tunnel, Murtagh was with him and they cannot find his body and assume him dead.

Eragon grieves Murtagh’s loss, but he has enough going on that he cannot just sit and think about it. A war is on, and he must get training from the elves. He takes a long journey there with a dwarf and Arya. There, he meets Orimas and his dragon, his new teachers. Eragon stays for many months learning to control his magic etc. In addition, Saphira take flying and fighting lessons from Orimas’s dragon.

After many months Eragon and Saphira hurry back to the Varden because of trouble, Galdaborix is planning to attack the Varden’s camp. They arrive in time to be informed of all the details when, a few days later, battle is upon them.

Throughout all this, Roran, Eragon’s cousin, is saving his village, losing his betrothed to the bad guys, and taking his entire village on a trip to the Varden. He finds that Eragon is the only one who can help him rescue Katrina, so he is journeying to find Eragon and enlist his help.

Positive: Our hero seems to mature a bit in this book. We get to know him a little better, and the author does a good job of keeping your nose in the book. It is fun to see Saphira become better at flying and fighting in the air. The battles were well laid out and highly interesting to read about. The author did a good job in keeping some of the plot twists surprises, and they were fun to uncover.

Negative: Close to the end, Eragon is in a sort of dragon ceremony, and in order to summon the dragon spirit these twin girls have to do this special dance….naked. They have a dragon tattoo that runs on both of them, and it… I think…comes to life in a sense and talks to Eragon. I think there were a few swear words, and there is killing of course.
Our author’s elves are not very likable; they are rather stuck up and vain.

Overall: This was a well-written book, but there were several parts that could have been shorter, (his training) and the dragon ceremony could have been changed. I would call it memorable, but then again, I am extremely picky about the fantasy I read. It has to be really good to be a good book, not just enjoyable, but good.

So this book cycle will be good, if the forth is.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini


Eragon

Plot: We open to find our hero, Eragon, hunting in the Spine. A forest that legend says is haunted. While hunting a mysterious rock appears before him, cautious, Eragon pokes at it, but nothing happens. Thinking nothing of it, he takes it to the village butcher and asks to trade it for meat. The butcher refuses upon learning that it is from the Spine.

Returning home with no meat, Eragon leaves the rock in his room and goes to his chores. Later, the rock hatches and out comes a little creature, a dragon. Eragon works to keep the little creatures presence a secret, which is simple since his cousin has left to another town as an apprentice, and only his uncle are with him.

Soon, Eragon’s little dragon grows large enough to ride, so he must do something with her, whom he names Saphira. She explains the Eragon that she hatched for him, and he is now her Rider. (There is a long history explained in the book)

A few weeks later, two bad and ugly creatures, sent by the evil Galdaborix, come into his villages and kill his uncle, burning his home at the same time. Grieving and angry with intentions of vengeance, Eragon steals some leather for a saddle for Saphira and leaves his village with Brom, the story teller that came into town and insisted on joining him.

The three borrow a couple of horses and leave, Saphira flying above them.

Brom, who used to be a Rider, but his dragon died; teaches Eragon all he knows on becoming a good Rider. Using magic effectively, training him with weapon and guarding his mind. The bad person, Galdaborix, wants to find Eragon and turn him to his side, making Eragon a Forsworn.

Through many adventures the threesome go until they meet with Arya, a lady elf in need of rescue, and Murtagh, a strange man who helps them.

Positive: I enjoyed the writer’s style he did a good job. I commend our author on the humor he adds at the appropriate moments to lighten some of the tension. It was quite helpful. Though young and immature, our hero does try to do the right thing, even if it sometimes ends in tragedy. Saphira and Brom are good moral characters who try to teach Eragon all they can to ready him for the trails ahead. (Saphira, by the way, is several hundred years old. Dragon’s eggs hatch only when they find the right person, the one whom they want to ride them. They can wait as long as they like for this to happen.)

Negative: If my memory serves me right, it has but few swear words, not more than five I think. A man’s back is cut from shoulder to hip; and our hero and his mentor visit a village that was raided by Urgals. They find a pile of dead villagers with a baby on top. (I found this sad.) Our hero steals in the beginning, and several people use magic. Some for good others for evil.

Overall: I really enjoyed this book; it had my attention the entire time. It took me no more than three days to read. If you enjoy this sort of fantasy, I recommend it. Though I did enjoy this book, the second gave me pause as to whether I would want to read the third. (Reasons given in the “Eldest” review, coming soon.) Overall, it was very good and well written.