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Brisingr (Inheritance Cycle #3)by Christopher Paolini
Brilliant! This, the third book in the Inheritance Cycle, was well worth the wait. There are dragons, thrills, and action aplenty — enough to satisfy any reader.
Brisingr, the third book in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, is one of the most highly anticipated books of the year. Sure to please both fans and newcomers, Paolini continues the dragon tale that has captivated its devoted readership.
Synopses & Reviews
OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide.
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 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 Eragons oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Rorans beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorixs 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 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?
"The much-anticipated third book in Paolini's Inheritance Cycle continues to rely heavily on classic fantasy tropes. The novel launches with magician and Dragon Rider Eragon, his cousin Roran and the dragon Saphira on a quest to rescue Roran's betrothed. The cousins soon split up, and Roran undergoes his own series of heroic tests, culminating in a well-choreographed and intense fight against an Urgal (a ram-human hybrid). Eragon, at the same time, encounters treacherous dwarves, undergoes even more training with the elf Oromis and gains a magical sword suitable for a Dragon Rider. The silly revelations about Eragon's background in the previous book, Eldest, are given a new spin near the end, but the change is neither unexpected nor interesting. Predictably, the book concludes with even more character deaths and another battle, but those expecting a resolution will have to wait until the next novel. The cliched journey may appeal to younger readers of genre fiction. Older teens, even those who might have first cut their teeth on Paolini's writing years ago, are less likely to be impressed. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
I've got a secret. When I was 13, I was fixated on the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. I usually sat in the Dungeon Master's chair, unleashing rich characters and exciting situations that seemed, to my friends at least, to have been created out of thin air. Truth is, I just read more fantasy than they did — often all through the night — and could steal freely from books they hadn't read.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) So I feel a certain kinship with Christopher Paolini, whose first novel, "Eragon," about a 15-year-old boy who discovers a dragon egg, may have had a similar genesis. While young readers devoured the novel, some adult readers cried foul. The teenage author, they argued, had stolen from fantasy greats like J.R.R. Tolkien and Anne McCaffrey, and even borrowed from "Star Wars." Worse, much of the book was awkwardly overwritten. Despite the complaints, Paolini's books — "Eldest" followed "Eragon" in 2005 — have sold something like 15 million copies. That number has increased by more than half a million just this week with the release of "Brisingr," the third novel of a promised four in his Inheritance cycle. "Brisingr" opens with Eragon — accompanied by his dragon, Saphira, and his cousin Roran — hunting the foul Ra'zac and giant Lethrblaka monsters in their underground lair. Partially a mission to rescue Katrina, Roran's betrothed, and partially a quest to revenge the murder of Eragon's uncle, the subterranean death match is rendered in clipped, muscular language: "A huge, twisted shape hurtled out of the lancet passageway. Eyes black, bulging, rimless. A beak seven feet long. Batlike wings. The torso naked, hairless, rippling with muscle. Claws like iron spikes." If that's not enough, the thing stinks, too. And it is not alone. But this opening brawl is just a bit of unfinished business from the previous book, a way to sink the claws back into readers. The Ra'zac and Lethrblaka are agents of the true enemy, King Galbatorix, the rogue Dragon Rider turned sorcerer tyrant. It's the ongoing war against him — almost always fought against his surrogates — that occupies Eragon and Saphira. If the focus had stayed there, Paolini could have finished his tale already. Instead, he throws in a daunting variety of players, races and locales. Nasuada, leader of the Varden, struggles to hold together her multiracial/multi-species army of rebels by any means necessary, including an alliance with her age-old enemies, the Urgals. Roran, reunited with Katrina, tries to earn his stripes among the Varden through battle. Murtagh, Eragon's half brother, and his dragon, Thorn, have become enslaved agents of Galbatorix and grow stronger — and more conflicted — by the day. The dwarf, Orik, navigates the contentious world of his people's politics as he seeks the throne. Queen Islanzadi leads her elves to war for the first time in a hundred years. The elf Oromis and his ancient dragon, Glaedr, decide it is time to emerge from hiding. You can't say that Paolini doesn't put a lot on the table. Perhaps too much. Paolini may have streamlined his prose line by line and cut the Elvish poetry out, but this is by no means a sleek story, dragging as it does for long sections in the middle. And yet in some of the quiet moments on the sidelines, Paolini demonstrates his growing maturity. For example, after listening to the elf princess Arya describe her lover's death, "Eragon placed his right hand over her left. ... Arya permitted the contact between them to endure for almost a minute. ... Then, with a slight lift of her arm, Arya let him know the moment had passed, and without complaint he withdrew his hand." That's much more understated than similar exchanges in earlier books. For young readers hungry for the action, though, this may be nothing short of boring. Fortunately, toward the end, Paolini reconnects with the core elements that animate Eragon's tale: mystery and danger. Just what is the Eldunari, the source of Galbatorix's immense power? Can Eragon's familial heritage get any more convoluted? Will Eragon ever get a new sword to replace Zar'roc? What will the Siege of Feinster look like: the underground Battle of Farthen Dur from "Eragon" or the smoke-choked Battle of Burning Plains from "Eldest"? Will any of the major characters die? If these questions don't get your blood pumping ... well, this may not be the series for you. And what about Paolini's thefts from the fantasy masters? He actually handles them admirably well in this third book. He claims squatter's rights to grumpy dwarves and aloof elves and orphaned farm boys who will be kings. Perhaps the passing years have made Paolini feel complete ownership of these characters, just as the passing pages slowly dull a reader's skepticism. But newer characters such as the horribly prophetic Elva and the flirtatious dwarf woman Iorunn are very much his own creations. Older characters Nasuada of the Varden and even Saphira herself develop inner lives that add depth. As an adult, I read "Brisingr" with a mixture of admiration for Paolini's accomplishments and an awareness of the book's flaws, which prevented me from being fully won over. But that's hardly a slight. Had I read this novel when I was 13, it would have kept me up straight through the night. For that matter, I might have even stolen a few bits from it for D&D. And that's a compliment. Reviewed by David Anthony Durham, who is the author of 'Acacia: The War With the Mein', Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
(hide most of this review)
Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more 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.
WITH THE HIGHLY anticipated publication of Book Three in the Inheritance cycle, the hardcover editions of all three books will be available in a handsome boxed set!
Here's a video of Christopher Paolini discussing Brisingr, exclusively for Powells.com:
About the Author
Christopher Paolini's abiding love of fantasy and science fiction inspired him to begin writing his debut novel, Eragon, when he graduated from high school at 15. He currently lives with his family in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he is at work on the next volume in the Inheritance cycle.
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