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.


Eragon by Christopher Paolini


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.