Brisingr By: Christopher Paolini


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.


17 thoughts on “Brisingr By: Christopher Paolini

  1. The guy who wrote the reveiw, and did a great job too. Since it is a third book in a series, I like how the reveiw mixes the circumstances of the book with its plot (which, obviously, can’t be described too much or it gives the others away and has to be labeled as a spoiler).

  2. Thank you all for your kind comments. I hope this review has provided you with some helpful and useful information about the book.

  3. I enjoyed these books alot. I mean, like you said, there were some objectionable things in it about religion, but they can’t possibly be his because the dwarven beliefs and the elven beliefs are completely contradictional to each other! I do appreciate your review, but Paolini hasn’t said his religious beliefs and, as I stated, you can’t tell from the books, so, if you like fantasy, definately read this book. I mean, I live a fairly clean life, of course everyone slips up, but I am very much in love with fantasy. I am starting “Lord of the Rings” and, if you couldn’t tell from my pen name, I play “World of Warcraft.” So, if you can distiguish reality from a book, I see no reason why not to read this book.

    Also, I might add, the author of “The Lord of the Rings,” J.R.R. Tolkien, and someone else are responsible for leading C.S. Lewis to Christianity, which is interesting since his Narnia series is Based on the Bible.

    Please comment on what I’ve said. I would like to hear everyone’s opinion. =]

  4. Arthas, I appreciate your comments. My main concern with this book was the target audience. The book seems to be aimed at teenagers, all of whom probably don’t show the same discernment that you have.
    I wasn’t saying that the religious beliefs that Paolini presented in the book were his, however. I just wanted to point out that some of the elements (one of which being the religious beliefs) can be confusing if not handled carefully. The whole situation with the elvish and dwarvish religions just sent up red flags in my mind that indicated, “Watch out–tread carefully.” These beliefs aren’t necessarily wrong to include in the book. However, there’s enough ambiguity to lead the naive teenager or other young person astray from the truth of God’s Word.
    So in summary, I want to stress that this book has some fine qualities about it, but the potential reader needs to be aware of the book’s contents. If he can read with discernment, then great! Read on. Though, if he lacks discernment, I would encourage him to wait to read this book (series) until he has acquired some discernment.

  5. I heard that about Tolkien leading Lewis to Christianity. (Good for Tolkien!)
    I agree, we don’t know what the authors true religion is, though I would like to know, considering how he writes his books. I am thinking Christianity is not his religion.
    I am not as fond of his books, mostly because our hero is not very likable, however his created world is awesome. 🙂 I enjoy fantasy, but I am very picky in what I read.

    Actually, I have never played World of Warcraft, so I didn’t guess, but from what I have seen, it makes sense. 🙂

  6. Jonathan et al.

    Some thoughts on religion in books. The book of Job records false religious beliefs and in a manner that confuses plenty of adults. Many other Old Testament books also include false beliefs that certainly confuse people. The Bible isn’t being confusing per se, it is recording what occurred and what was said. The Bible also recommends that a person get assistance interpreting from wise counselors.

    The point is this: its not bad and may actually be good to include false religion.

    Next, I’d like to ask if anyone here has actually read a book or knows someone who read a book that caused them to start believe strange things. I’ve met plenty of parents concerned about magic, violence, and philosophy in the books that they were giving their children. When I asked the parents if they read the book as a child, the response was almost an universal “yes.” Whereupon, I asked if they turned out poorly from it….

    I’m not trying to be a smart alec with that question. Actually, I do know people who have been influenced poorly by books. We all do. The problem wasn’t the book. The problem was a weak mind improperly trained in truth; and no, I am not suggesting that they hadn’t memorized enough scripture or some such regimen. Actually, these people would be influenced by *anything* and used zero discernment. Or, they were predisposed against the truth or for some idea and they used the book as support for their preconceived notions. So the book wasn’t the problem.

    Of those who were taught to approach life and ask questions about everything, these sorts of “problems” are non-existent. I’m not sure what I will let my kids read, but I suspect that it will be less than what I read and more than many other conservative Christians.


  7. I appreciate your response Jonathan. I see what your saying and agree because I’ve seen that a lot of teenagers are unstable and can get wrapped up in the craziest of things.

  8. What false beliefs are you refering to in the book of Job, Matt?
    (for anyone who has not read the Bible.)
    A good thing to take note of is, that whenever the Bible talks about a false belief, it clearly states that is it false afterwards.
    Letting the reader know what is truth, and what is false.

    • I am referencing the beliefs of Jobs detractors. They spend many chapters preaching against Job with facts and opinions that are false. I have met people who take proof texts from these chapters and teach them as truth as it was in the Bible. I have met others who can’t understand why every single word isn’t factual and trustworthy.

      My point is that without a discerning mind, people can grab the wrong stuff and get screwed up.

  9. Good point Matt, I was just checking. Asking for discernment while reading the Bible is good idea, cause it can get confusing. (I ask my Aba when things get confusing)

    Though I would like to note for other people, that if someone hands you a verse and says “This is what the Bible says!” You should look up that verse in context, 6 verses before and 6 verses after will let you know if the person who gave it to you is using it rightly. (That was my Aba’s advice)
    (a note for all who may have this happen)

  10. ok I have some things to say about this reveiw, I’m getting kinda mixed up in the thread, so excuse the interruption.

    ::skippable:: first off, sauron (prononced sauw-ron) isn’t a whole lot like galbatorix, sauron was melkor’s general of darkness who took on the role of evil overlord.

    ::more serious::

    1: the movie was not like the book at all, and paolini had nothing to do with it.

    2: when confrinted about the dwarven god, the dwarf was really vague, and said “it is the closest thing to the god we could get…” and changed the subject.

    3: Eragon is just like any other person might be, wondering if the elves are right, or the dwarves, he had no religeon to grow up with, and now has to find the right one.

    over all, I enjoyed the writing style, and the world (if not so much the characters). Yes the books are getting more content now that he caught the readers, and is definatley to be taken with a grain of salt, the series is getting creepier, but it’s just one more book from now.^_^

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