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Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle) Paperback – April 13, 2010

1,357 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Inheritance cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Tad Williams and Christopher Paolini: Author One-on-One

Tad Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of several epic fantasy series. He lives in California.

Tad Williams Read on for Williams and Christopher Paolini's discussion about why they write fantasy, their upcoming projects, and more.

Tad: Hi, Christopher. Nice to talk to you, albeit virtually. It was great hanging out with you and your family this summer. Pretty much all of us fell in love with your part of the world, too.

Be warned: this isn't my best time of the day, so if I start calling you "Herman" and asking what it was about whaling that interested you, please forgive.

The first thing I'd like to ask you as a starter question is: why fantasy? I mean, there's the obvious answer (which is also true for me) that it was something I loved to read growing up, but I guess I'm curious what is it that still resonates for you. Why do these kind of stories, these kinds of characters, these kinds of worlds, still speak to you?

In a similar vein, do you have another kind of fiction, another genre, that you'd really like to try? If so, why? Any genres you think you'll never write but wish you could?

Christopher: Hi Tad. Great talking to you as well. We all had a wonderful time when you guys visited. Definitely one Of the highlights of the year.

I'm still waking up as well -- takes a few cups of tea and a few strips of bacon before the little gray cells start firing properly -- so if I sound a bit muddled, that's why. Still, we can make a stab at coherency, eh?

Christopher Paolini Hmm. Why do I write fantasy? As you said, it's because I enjoy reading it, but I enjoy reading it because . . . well, for a number of reasons, I suppose. First of all, fantasy allows for all sorts of dangerous situations, and those can provide a lot of excitement in a story. And excitement is always fun. Also, epic fantasy usually deals with themes and situations that everyone can relate to, such as the challenge of growing up, or how one is supposed to deal with moral quandaries. Fantasy is the oldest form of literature; the very first stories that humans told while crouched around campfires were stories about gods and monsters and tragic mistakes and heroic feats. Even now, those topics still resonate with us on a primal level, which is one reason I think fantasy will remain popular with readers as long as humans are still human. And I love the sense of awe and wonder one can often find in fantastical literature. . . . Fantasy can allow you to see and hear and experience things that have never existed and never *could* exist. To me, that is the closest we come to real magic in this world.

That said, there are a number of other genres I'd like to try my hand at: mystery, thriller, horror, science-fiction, romance, etc. I love stories of all kinds -- although mythic ones certainly hold the greatest appeal to me -- and I'm very much looking forward to experimenting once I finish the Inheritance cycle. Any genres I think I'll never write but wish I could? . . . Probably long-form epic poetry or a witty comedy of manners. Poetry is fun, but my grasp on it is rather shaky, and a comedy of manners (while I enjoy them) is so different from my usual life, I'm not sure I could pull it off properly.

And now a question for you: You have just finished your third (large) series. What is it about big epic stories that so fascinates you? Why not write small, intimate books about a fishmonger whose greatest love is his toothpick sculpture of the Brooklyn Bridge?

Read the full conversation

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1050L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Inheritance Cycle (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375826742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375826740
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,357 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Christopher Paolini was born on November 17, 1983 in Southern California. He has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana with his parents and younger sister, Angela. As a child, he often wrote short stories and poems, made frequent trips to the library, and read widely. The idea of Eragon began as the daydreams of a teen. Christopher's love for the magic of stories led him to craft a novel that he would enjoy reading. The project began as a hobby, a personal challenge; he never intended it to be published. All the characters in Eragon are from Christopher's imagination except Angela the herbalist, who is loosely based on his sister. Christopher was fifteen when he wrote the first draft of Eragon. He took a second year to revise the book and then gave it to his parents to read. The family decided to self-publish the book and spent a third year preparing the manuscript for publication: copyediting, proofreading, designing a cover, typesetting the manuscript, and creating marketing materials. During this time Christopher drew the map for Eragon, as well as the dragon eye for the book cover (that now appears inside the Knopf hardcover edition). The manuscript was sent to press and the first books arrived in November 2001. The Paolini family spent the next year promoting the book at libraries, bookstores, and schools in 2002 and early 2003. In summer 2002, author Carl Hiaasen, whose stepson read a copy of the self-published book while on vacation in Montana, brought Eragon to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, which is part of Random House. Knopf published Eragon in August 2003. Eldest, which continues the adventures of Eragon and the dragon Saphira was published in August 2005, and in December 2006, Fox 2000 released their movie adaptation of Eragon in theaters around the world.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#32 in Books > Teens
#32 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

376 of 457 people found the following review helpful By BrianB VINE VOICE on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the first two books of this series, and was eager to read the third. I won't outline the plot, because you can find that elsewhere. I will just tell you what I think about this book.

It is an enjoyable read, and a worthy third installment to the series. I thought that Eragon was a very good story, and Eldest not quite as good, although Paolini's writing had improved. Brisingr is the best of the three. I fell back into the story right away, and I found myself caring about the characters, even worrying about their safety. This is what I look for in fiction: it made me want to pick up the book every chance I got. If it interferes with the rest of my life, it is a very good book. Brisingr is one of those books. I am thankful to my son that he recommended this series to me.

Some reviewers of Eldest were very critical of the fact that the plot is derivative of other epics, like The Lord Of The Rings or Star Wars. I didn't mind this in the least. It is the tale of a hero's journey, complete with absence, devestation and return. It is one of the oldest tales in storytelling. We already know the story, but it is the storytelling that makes it good or bad. Paolini is a good writer. Not as great as Tolkein or LeGuin, but good nevertheless. I was able to suspend my inner critic, and enjoy the read. I recommend that you do the same.
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613 of 753 people found the following review helpful By racapowski VINE VOICE on September 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm not your typical Eragon basher. I find the professional Eragon detractors tiringly obsessive, and every time someone clogs up a message board with another hey-this-is kinda-like-Star Wars post he's SURE is pure unprecedented genius insight, I'm certain an angel loses his wings.

Unfortunately, the series is growing into the complaints. Paolini does have talent, but his sales figures and incredible life story have seemingly allowed his manuscripts to go unchecked, and his writing flaws are getting worse, not better.

Three major problems with "Brisingr":

1) It's way too violent. It opens on a group of fanatics who slice off their own limbs to prove their faith, whose rituals we observe in loving detail. (The head priest has lopped himself down to just a torso.) We soon continue to a torture victim whose eyes have been pecked - eaten - out of his face. "Gore" is Paolini's favorite word, particularly when it is "smeared" on something, and we get endless graphic depictions of Roran's hammer smashing an enemy soldier's skull/throat/arm/spine, its owner rejoicing in the carnage. I don't expect war to be bowlderized, but the book revels in charnel for its own sake and is too bloody for readers under thirteen.

2) Eragon has become a bit of a sociopath. A reunion with one of his childhood bullies - who's just been through horrific torture - becomes a control-and-humiliate fantasy that's disturbing. When the typically closed Arya touchingly recounts her love's recent death and how it stole all joy from her world, Eragon's heart is unmoved; he feels only irritation and jealousy, fuming that he will "not be discouraged in his suit". (Has he been reading "The Game"?
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Beau Smith on December 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like a good number of people who've reviewed this book, I'm a writer who's hoping to get a fantasy novel published. Along the way, I've purchased and read my way through a lot of fiction to train myself; "Brisingr" is, by far, the most important book I've read since I first began my training.

When I bought this, I told myself, "I don't care if it's good or bad. I just want to learn something from it." At a gut level I knew it would be disappointing. I sensed it when I first picked up the book and held it in my hands. It's more than a year later, and it's taken me this long to read through the book twice, and I still don't remember most of what happened in the book.

But here's the truth: It was a purchase I'm proud of.

I've read hundreds of reviews of the book and at least a thousand of the entire Inheritance Cycle, and I've come across a lot of great advice. But nothing has helped me more than actually struggling through the book. By reading it word for word, I got to step into Paolini's shoes and understand his thought processes as he wrote the book. As a result, it's taught me some things to keep in mind as I write fiction. Here are a few that tie into my issues with "Brisingr":

1) Eragon is worsening as a character. I can't get around it. The more I read his dialogue, the more I can't stand him. There's nothing that I can relate to. There's nothing I can admire. There's nothing that makes me want to keep reading about him. Of course, he still has to defeat King Galbatorix, but there's nothing else in his life or personality that I can fall back on. Every word out of his mouth sounds forced: the more I read his dialogue, the more he sounds like Paolini instead of like a fresh, original character with a mind of his own.
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389 of 496 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Lingel on September 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was disappointed when I first heard some months ago that the Inheritance trilogy would, in fact, become longer. Part of me wonders if the 4th book wont also end up being too long, and needing to be split. Eragon certainly has more to do now than he did at the end of Eldest, and Paolini has made it clear that whenever Eragon swears an oath to someone, we're going to devote a whole lot of time to watching him do it. Given that Eragon swears a new oath every 50 pages or so (give or take), it may be a while before he gets caught up.

I have long since given up on the tiresome fantasy series of Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, and the like as I noticed that after about the 3rd or 4th book, nothing new happens. A series should be short, maintain our attention, and always keep in mind the primary conflict between hero and villian.

Books one and two of the Inheritance cycle did this. At the end of Eldest, Eragon has three things that need be done, fulfill his promise to Roran, return to Oromis, and defeat Galbatorix. The first of those is finished in the early pages of the book, but from there, we spiral away from the story and into tiresome cliche. Eragon spends pages moaning and groaning about how he has been forced to kill, but it never amounts to anything. Eragon and Roran spend pages pontificating at each other in conversations that make each of them sound as though they were raised in the hearts of academia, rather than on the farm.

As an aside, the characters talk way too much in this book. For pages. One wonders when they pause to take breath. Even other characters notice this "He certainly talks alot." says Saphira at one point. Yes, I suppose he does. But then, so do you, my dear blue dragon. So do you...
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