Brisingr by Christopher Paolini Review

by Christopher Paolini
Genres: Fantasy & Magic

Title: Brisingr

Author: Christopher Paolini

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Format: Hardcover

Publication Date: September 20, 2008

Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

Oaths sworn… loyalties tested… forces collide.

It’s been only months since Eragon first uttered “brisingr”, an ancient language term for fire. Since then, he’s not only learned to create magic with words — he’s been challenged to his very core. Following the colossal battle against the Empires warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more adventure at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.

First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin, Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength — as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices — choices that will take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.

Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?

review

Much like Eragon and Eldest, Brisingr is packed with the action and description that Christopher Paolini’s readers have come to expect. One thing that I’ve enjoyed as I trek through this series is that I can see the evolution and growth of the author with each subsequent book. Some reviewers seem to rate all books by the same generic standard ranging from Rubbish to Literary Genius, and feel that Paolini’s series should not be rated highly by those reviewers using the “excuse” of “well, he was so young when he wrote these books!” However, it should be considered that this is his first series and becoming a legendary author doesn’t happen overnight; J. R. R. Tolkien, for example, wrote for 40 years before producing The Lord of the Rings. As a new author, Paolini really tries to deliver the attention to detail found in many great works of epic fantasy; he just goes a little overboard with his use of similes and adjectives, adding a lot of fluff (and pages!) to an otherwise interesting story that keeps me reading much later at night than I should be.

I appreciated that Brisingr began with a brief synopsis of Eragon and Eldest to help readers catch up without precious chapter and story space being overwhelmed by the “remember when this happened?” refreshers that bogged down the beginning of Eldest. Since I’m reading all of the books together, I was able to skip the synopsis and jump right into the first chapter, which picked right up on the story with gusto. There were some pretty shocking twists as the story progressed, as well as some suspenseful moments that had me thinking “I need to read just one more chapter.”

Paolini steps out of Eragon’s point of view a bit more in Brisingr, adding chapters written from Saphira and Nasuada’s points of view. This helps add a little bit of depth to otherwise flat characters, finally bringing Saphira into the realm of a true character, instead of just existing in the role of Eragon’s Talking Mount. I was underwhelmed, bordering on irritated, by Saphira’s chapters because of the serious untapped potential that Paolini brushed against, but didn’t fully realize. Obviously, as a dragon, Saphira sees the world differently – not only visually, but through a different cultural lens. Paolini tried to express this through his Saphira chapters by using hyphenated phrases like “Sephira waited while the black-blue-wolf-hair-elf created a water-shadow-ghost of Eragon…” to portray the encompassing, almost wordless impressions that make up the thoughts of a dragon. However, Saphira’s chapters felt contrived, and lacked full commitment as the “impressions” of the world as Saphira saw it were merely sprinkled through the chapters randomly instead of woven strategically so as to create a distinctly different point of view.

Upon reaching the end of Brisingr, I was glad that I already have Inheritance on hand to read, because the last couple of chapters really set up an interesting angle that have me thinking back to Solembum’s prediction to Eragon and wondering how Paolini could possibly resolve the disparity of power between Eragon and Galbatorix.

05

**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**

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“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” ~ Neil Gaiman

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