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.
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"?) The book's ruminations on the morality of killing reach only the uninspired conclusion that it's unavoidable in war, and we're thus meant to take a certain satisfaction when Eragon joyfully dispatches even those ordinary men forced into service by Galbatorix. I guess the debate was meant only to free us from our nagging moral reservations.
As in "Eldest", Eragon's praised to high heaven by every single soul, given credit for every achievement. At points, the book seems to have other characters only so that they can sing of their inferiority to its shining star.
3) As nearly every other commenter has noted, it's too bloated, with deadly pacing. Galbatorix's nightmarish Ra'zac servants are dealt with early, leaving Eragon to dither with rebel leader Nasuada and go off on a few preparatory errands for about 600 pages. (A 200-page detour into dwarf politics is particularly deadening.) We keep waiting for the meat to arrive, for some crisis or confrontation, and (save for a quick and inconsequential early battle with Murtagh) it never comes. There is no real climax, save for the easily-accomplished sacking of one city and a death we all long saw coming, albeit not in such meaningless circumstances.
The lack of individual voices in the story makes things drag all the more; every character has an identical manner of speaking, all bloviation and overexplanation in high-fantasy Olde Englishe. Paolini too often substitutes scads of meaningless proper names for the little moments that make bring a fantasy world to life.
A few of those moments slip through, though, like the dotty old man who roosts in the majestic ruins of a half-toppled, tree-like tower, harvesting peas. Or when Arya, on a whim, braids a miniature ship from wild grasses and breathes into it magic that will allow it fly for perpetuity; Eragon wonders what stories people will tell of it in the years to come. I laugh at the self-important magicians' society Du Vrangr Gata, whose study of the ancient language is not as complete as they think and whose name therefore translates into the Alagaesian equivalent of Engrish. I like the atypically crusty elven smith, intolerant of how "too polite, too refined, too precious" her Tolkien-influenced race has become, or the touches of culture (family totems, bedtime stories) Paolini has given his orc race. For those who like dragons, Saphira's a sparkling specimen.
And there are *dwarf ninjas*. That's gotta count for something, with someone.
My point is that the books need less Gary Stu carnage and more gems like these. Show us why this world is worth fighting (and fighting and fighting) for.
And we need some actual change to come out of all these pages. Roran's love soothes his anxiety over his battlefield casualities by opining that he'd be evil only if he actually enjoyed killing. Later - whaddaya know - Roran DOES come to love killing, quite enthusiastically, but the book forgets to look at him any differently. Eragon makes a few crucial mistakes in dwarfland due to arrogance and petulance, but he is still lavishly praised from here to Valinor. Nasuada endures a (naturally) bloody duel for leadership of the rebel faction, yet she is viewed no differently by her people afterward. Murtagh's horrific tragedy, the king who hosts the rebel Varden yet resents being pushed to the sidelines in his own country, the new hot elf guardsman who's really a lion-type furry and whose musk gets all the females...er, in heat - nothing comes of any of it. (The waste of Murtagh, who now apparently exists only to be ruthlessly dispatched, is particularly criminal.) C'mon, Rowling introduced and destroyed seven whole Horcruxes in the same space! Pick a story and develop it!
Also, are we gonna SEE Galbatorix before this series ends? There is an evil EMPEROR in this evil empire, correct?
Enough sarcasm, though. Again, it's senseless to waste your life hating these books as some do, all anti-Shur'tugal; better simply to move on to other stories. Myself, I just wish someone would guide Paolini - edit him down, focus him - so the rest of us got more out of his talent.
on December 21, 2009
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.
This happens because Eragon was poorly developed right from the get-go. He's simply a stock superhero. Most of his plot's substance was spent on the first two books, and now he's trying to take care of loose ends in the third book. The seven promises don't have anything to do with killing King Galbatorix and the Ra'zac; they instead have to do with a massive trudge through dwarf gods, Alagaësian politics, and people bowing in his presence. All this could have been interesting if Eragon were a stronger character. But he wasn't created to deal with all of that. He was created to defeat an evil king with the help of his dragon. As long as he's a stock superhero, he needs to stay a stock superhero, and the pros and cons of such a life need to be fleshed out in their entirety.
Paolini said that the book's main storyline featuring Eragon was too large to fit into the volume, so he split the book into two volumes so that Eragon (and the rest of the cast) could grow more. Aside from my disbelief, there's a problem with that logic: a published book should never be spent with an author trying to figure his characters out. Doing this brings the story to a dead-stop. What happens is that the author engineers a story instead of losing himself in it. It's always better to create good characters and storyworld elements before you write. The sooner it happens, the sooner the characters and world will take on lives of their own. What ends up happening is that the characters create events and conflict on their own. Characters should determine plot, not the other way around.
To me, Eragon has always been a case of being a product of the plot. He was created to be the one who takes down the evil king. But what if more time were spent crafting Eragon's history and personality? Perhaps he wouldn't have been an orphaned farmboy. He could have been nobility, the son of a soldier, or a scholar. Maybe he wouldn't have been born with magical abilities. He could have been compassionate, or funny, or a kid who never wants to grow up. But the plot that Paolini created doesn't allow room for possibilities like that. Plots never do. Eragon is so locked into his plot that he never had room to change. It would probably give the story a facelift if Eragon were to say, "I'm done going after Galbatorix. I want to do what I really want to do! The Varden can handle this." But because of how much Paolini crafted his plot first and foremost, that just won't happen.
2) The writing is weak. This has been debated long after the cows have come home, but here's my two cents' worth. After reading "Brisingr," I've realized that writing style ties directly into content and characters. If you have strong characters and a well-developed storyworld, then you've already saved yourself the trouble of figuring out what they are, and you can spend more time (and less effort) telling a story. In other words, the stronger your content and characters, the stronger the writing style is likely to be.
Like both books before it, "Brisingr" suffers from the same cast of weak characters and the same derivative, underdeveloped storyworld. As a result, Paolini has to word and re-word the smallest details to make something seem original. This makes the details more important than the story and the characters. Details shouldn't obscure what you're trying to say; otherwise, they take the clarity and power out of the sentences they fill. Too many details sacrifice clarity, emotion, and substance. If you don't have good characters and settings to use, details are all you can use.
Paolini knows that the picture you paint for your audience is all about the details, but it's the sheer number of them that makes the book so bloated. There are so many details that it's a struggle to find out what he's trying to say. The content that lies beneath the details is just not there. Details are important only as long as they're based on good content. They have to contribute directly to the story, the characters, and the picture that the audience is seeing painted. The level of details can mean the difference between enjoying a painting from a distance and looking at it through a magnifying glass. In other words, which is better: looking at the brush strokes or looking at the whole picture?
3) For all its length, it doesn't get to the point. It takes way too long to get to anything remotely important or interesting, and most of the time, those interesting points never come. "Brisingr" and its sequel could fit into the same 750-page book; you can cut out most of what happens in this book and not lose any important details. If anything, it would benefit the book. The faster that the characters go toward their goals, the faster you get to the heart of the story. The old cliché is the best: "Just cut to the chase."
Both "Eragon" and "Eldest" had their share of filler--a lot of traveling in "Eragon" and a lot of training in "Eldest"--but "Brisingr" was the worst. Eragon spent so much time trying to fulfill his list of promises that it kept him (and us) from seeing him fulfill his main goal: going after the people who killed his family and destroyed his home. That's what the story's supposed to be about, and every character and subplot should reinforce it.
I have to give the book at least one star because it's helped me understand some of the things to avoid when writing fiction. Still, I feel like a two-star rating is generous. "Brisingr" was a great training tool but a disappointing entertainment; it was a bore from start to finish. If this indicates how Book 4 will be, I won't buy it. There's only so much I can support a book series and feel rewarded by it.
It's tough for me to praise this book, especially since I had such a struggle reading it through twice. The few highlights of this book are a poor reward for more than seven hundred pages of filler. Paolini needs an editor who will show him the things that make a good story. There's no excuse for his age anymore. When you publish anything, it's not your age or your accomplishments that matter most. It's the story that matters most. I would rather read the seven pages that mean something than the seven hundred that don't.
on September 21, 2008
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...
As for the plot, what is there to say? Of the three tasks Eragon had at the beginning, two are completed. But with much else along the way. Eragon visits and then leaves a mysterious hermit who'se only purpose in the book is so we wont be surprised again when he shows up next time, no doubt to give Eragon a crucial piece of information. We spend page after page waiting for the dwarves to elect the ruler we all know well in advance will be elected in a process that isn't the least bit interesting. One hopes that the elected leader is able to cut through the red tape.
We learn things about Eragon's father that don't suprise us in the least, and even dissapoint us, as they make Eragon a far less interesting character, and free him completely of the guilt that was the sole characteristic making him interesting. Galbatorix's and Murtagh's inexplicable strength is explained using a plot device that I'm sure Paolini developed only after making his two villians untouchably strong. And when Glaedr gives Eragon a gift towards the end, I knew it would mean only one thing.
This should have been the final book.
But instead of the planning and fighting against the forces of the empire, we get Eragon brooding whether or not he should eat meat or starve to death. (He eats the meat, but feels real bad about it.) Instead of studying new spells and magic, Eragon asks an Urgal for a bedtime story. And instead of a climactic battle between Eragon and Galbatorix, we get a deeper insight into the dwarven political arena than is needed or even wanted.
At this point, I'm invested in the series, however, and I await the fourth (but will it be the final?) book with the same anticipation as I await a trip to the dentist, or the DMV. It's just one of those things you don't really look forward to, except for the feeling of relief when it's all over.
on July 20, 2009
This is a difficult review to write - I basically agree with ALL of the criticism Paolini has received regarding his saga, and yet I'm compelled to continue reading it. I feel like a two-headed monster when reading the Eragon cycle - I'm simultaneously frustrated beyond belief at the writing "style," yet I continue reading in the hopes that the plot will redeem the writing. With Eragon, I think it did. Eldest, eh. Brisingr, it was just beyond all repair.
Part of me tries to pull back and say, "well, it's considered a young adult novel, it's supposed to be for kids, so I really shouldn't be expecting Shakespeare." That's basically the thought process that got me through the Twilight series, which, despite the not-so-wonderful writing, I enjoyed. However, I think the biggest difference is that when reading Twilight, you KNOW that you are reading a book meant for a 12 year old girl. Therein lies the difference between THAT sort of mediocre writing and Paolini's work: Paolini thinks he's the second coming of Tolkien. Between his own egomaniacal comments in interviews, his attempts at creating complex languages and political stirrings, and his pandering social commentaries, Paolini clearly "thinks" he's writing something more than a teen read. And, I think this is why he garners so much criticism - In the end, he simply wrote nothing more than a children's book.
His attempts to make that children's book "mature," I believe, are his downfall; in the end, he has created a book too long and boring for kids, but simply meaty enough for an adult. The characters are 2-dimensional, contrived, unsympathetic, and just unrelateable, the descriptions and gross overuse of figurative language make your eyes bleed, and the dialogue, Lord Almighty someone save the dialogue.
See example one, his description of the moment Roran fell in love with Katrina:
" `I saw Katrina stop by the side of Loring's house to pick a moss rose growing in the shade of the eaves. She smiled as she looked at the flower... It was such a tender smile, and so happy, I decided right then that I wanted to make her smile like that again and again and that I wanted to look at that smile until the day that I died.' Tears gleamed in Roran's eyes..."
From a best-selling author? Really? I'm going to assume that his inability to come even close to describing love perhaps stems from his own lack of experience with it. For more evidence, see the entire chapter dedicated to Roran and Katrina's goodbye ("Kiss Me Sweet"), which is chock full of clichés that would drive an English teacher mad and any reader to groan.
Another big problem for me is the terribly awkward use of different stages of English in the dialogue. The "mine head," "mine friend," "mine people," etc. reminded me of broken German. The thus, thusly, thine, thy, aye's and even nay's were just plain WEIRD. You'd have a character use one of the pronouns, and then use the modern English equivalent in the same manner 2 lines later. There was no rhyme or reason, and it made the writer look precocious, and the characters stiff and unrealistic.
For another example of the highly romanticized writing, see page 69:
"Eragon was no longer capable of coherent thought, but somewhere in the back of his brain he was aware that he was about to die. It did not frighten him; to the contrary, the prospect comforted him, for he was tired beyond belief, and death would free him from the battered shell of his flesh and allow him to rest for all of eternity. From above and behind his head, there came a bumblebee as big as his thumb. It circled his ear, then hovered by the rock, probing the nodes of citrine, which were the same bright yellow as the fieldstars that bloomed among the hills. [...] The bumblebee was so vibrant, so alive, and so beautiful, its presence renewed Eragon's will to survive. A world that contained a creature as amazing as that bumblebee was a world he wanted to live in."
I believe that my review, while honest, is colored by my frustration that this is the third, and despite all of our expectations, penultimate book of the series. I never buy hardcovers, but purchased this one excited to see how the series ends. When I was about 100 pages in, I checked the Amazon site to read a review, and saw Paolini's video explaining the need for a 4th book. I was FURIOUS by the time I finished Brisingr. So many utterly pointless plotlines and political feuds, all of which were anticlimactic (spoiler - the guy or girl you "want" to win always inevitably does), so many unnecessarily loquacious descriptions, and just so much NOTHING. If you read the first 60 pages and the last 150, you honestly get everything you need from this book. So sad, but honestly, so true.
So to be completely honest, if you're like me and are irritated by the writing but enjoy the story, you truly DO NOT HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. The 200 (generous) pages worth of valid plot can (and will) be summarized at the start of the yet to be named 4th book. Or, just find it on a website. Heck, email ME. Just don't punish your eyes and brain like so many of us did by reading this 750 page tragedy.
Will I read the 4th book? Yes. Will I buy it? Unfortunately, no. The reason why is simply this: I feel cheated. Had Paolini delivered a 3rd book that introduced some new meaty plot that warranted turning a trilogy to a cycle, I'd be okay with a fourth book, perhaps would be excited by it. Instead, I just feel cheated and that both Paolini and his publishers wanted to eek out some more money from the franchise. And that, well, just makes me mad.
on October 11, 2008
I read the author's notes at the back of the book before I started and that's where I learned that this book would have been much longer had not an editor worked with Paolini to trim it down.
Time to fire that editor and hire one who will actually do the job.
Paolini's writing and the attendant lack of a competent editor remind me of what happened with Tom Clancy's books: A halfway decent story gets buried in all sorts of bad writing. If it's not the minutiae of how a sword is made (reminded me of one of Clancy's little side-trips in how to make a submarine quiet), it's the endless repetition of information that has already been introduced and death-by-hackneyed-phrases. Really, a simple search and delete of the overused phrase "waking dream" and oft-repeated references to the trial of long blades will likely reduce this book by about 50 pages. Then cut out the gratuitous meandering into useless subplots (such as the cult execution scene at the beginning, dwarf politics, Roran's integration into the Varden warriers, three paragraphs of description every time Saphira needs to poke her head into something small) and Paolini could have hit the salient plot points *and* finished this epic all within 350 pages.
It's a ponderously long and winded tale that doesn't add significantly to what was already known, and then snatches away the payoff by needing another 700-page tome to finish the tale. None of this would be as bothersome if the writing were actually good.
When I first read Eragon and criticized it for these same failings, my friends said, "He's a young author and this is a great achievement for someone in his teens." OK, I'll buy that. But it's been six years since Eragon was published. One would think the boy wonder had actually learned better writing and story telling skills in the intervening years. If nothing else, some one at Knopf should have assigned a competent editor to rein in the ceaseless blather.
on October 10, 2008
As written by another reviewer "If you liked the Lord of the Rings series, then you'll probably like the Inheritance cycle as well."
Actually, The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a wonderful, well-written trilogy. This fantasy series is in essence a great first showing (Eragon) with an okay sophomoric offering (Eldest) and a dismal current contender (Brisingr).
I hope that this was more the fault of the publishers than Paolini's own writing. In many places the writing actually made me cringe and want to break out my red editing pen of death, ex. "Pointing with her chin past a row of spits and cauldrons suspended over a bed of coals, past a clump of men butchering a hog, past three makeshift ovens built of mud and stone, and past a pile of kegs toward a line of planks set on stumps that six women were using as a counter."
Yes folks, that is one, very long and exhaustive run-on sentence. Why they couldn't be bothered with proper grammar and punctuation we will probably not know.
I see no use of dramatic suspense in bridging chapters, or even within each chapter. Most of the dramatic scenes seem forced, almost as if the characters are being coached by a high school drama teacher from behind the curtain, "Now in this scene Eragon, you feel ANGER. Show me your anger, be a tiger and let it all out!"
All in all, I wish I hadn't picked up this book, because now I feel obligated to read the (nearly assuredly) fourth book of the series.
on October 10, 2008
This book is as slow as a tortoise with arthritis, and at the end of the painful slow-march you realize you haven't moved much, from where you stopped in Eldest. It is painfully obvious that Paolini was made to (?) prolong this series. The actual plot can be told in about 100 pages; the rest is either horribly drawn out descriptions or meaningless and repetitive conversations.
Some scenes go like this (not the actual words, but you will get the drift):
Eragon: Saphira, isn't it wrong to kill people?
Saphira: No young one, sometimes you have to do what you do, for the greater good.
Now, this is blown into a page-long dialogue where they repeat the same question and answer in passive voice, reported speech etc. I felt like stuffing Eragon into Saphira's mouth to shut them both up. When one thinks they have finally reached a consensus and the plot will move on, they move to another track:
Eragon: Saphira, I love you
Saphira: I love you too, young one.
Eragon: I can't bear to be separated from you Saphira, not even for a moment
Saphira: I can't either...
Saphira: young one....
I felt like shouting "Get a room!!!", before I remembered they were a dragon and rider, not star-crossed teenage lovers. Then, finally, the coddling was over and I started hoping again that something would happen.
Eragon: Arya, baby, how do you feel while killing someone?
I fervently wished she would show him instead of telling him :)
on October 19, 2008
Essentially, in 748 pages, Eragon did 4 things, and yet Paolini somehow couldn't fit the end of the trilogy in one book. Thus, there will be a 4th book to finish the trilogy (now called a cycle). My biggest qualm with this series not ending in 3 books, is that this book was verbose with very little action.
Eragon's 4 actions:
1) Killed the Razac- this took about 60 pages
2) Visit Tronjiheim to hurry the dwarves in picking their king
3) Went to Ellesmera (for a 2 day conversation)
4) Flew to Feinster for a battle
Actions 3 and 4 occurred in the last 150 pages, and because Eragon agreed to support Orik, he spent most of action 2 wandering around the tunnels, gettng attacked once, and moaning about missing Saphira. The rest of the text usually involved a lot of transit...Eragon running (whoohoo), Eragon and Saphira flying against strong headwinds, and flying in good weather. Perhaps Paolini thinks this transit time is important and interesting due to the long travel sequences in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but first, that was a series about a journey...therefore travel is necessary, this series is about war more than anything else, and second, Tolkien was a much much more gifted writer than Paolini.
Also, Paolini stated in is excuse for not finishing the series in 3 books, that this gave him an opportunity to explore the characters. However, Eragon's incessant moaning over the ethics of killing and the difference in his morals from those of elves, isn't what I would call an interesting expose into the minds of Eragon and the other characters. In fact, it only leads the reader to realize that Eragon is indeed a whiny child, given far too much authority because a dragon hatched to him...but that more than anything, the author expects us to believe Eragon to be an upstanding ethical person who we should all exalt as the best person to lead because he fears it.
I have always found Paolini's writing pretentious, but it seems to have only gotten worse with his success. The only reason for the success of his series is the more than fortunate timing of the "Lord of the Rings" films and "Harry Potter" series generating a boom in interest in fantasy...however this series cannot compare to either of those. Tolkien and "Harry Potter" fans will find The Inheritance Cycle superficial, unimaginitive, poorly written, and lacking in action.
The similarities, such as 3 young unknowing people thrown into the wars of previous generations, are not enough to make the Inheritance Cycle a satisfying read...which is only more frustrating because it doesn't end when it is supposed to- and unlike the other LOTR and HP series'- you very much want this one to end.
on March 22, 2014
I have to agree with the commentary of reviewer Racapowski. I am a little over a third of the way through Brisingr, and it is beginning to lag in a plodding, uninteresting manner. It seems to me that Paolini believes he's in line to become the next Orson Scott Card (a highly praised fantasy writer [Ender's Game, et.al.]) and is trying to incorporate social and psychological concepts/issues that are better left to more experienced/intellectual writers. Some of Paolini's sentences are nearly unreadable, as he tries to impress the reader with big words that he had just discovered or use his idea of "clever" imagery. Here are several examples that made me shake my head because they were so annoying to me: i) he spends too much time focusing on mundane matters that add nothing to the story (i.e, a whole paragraph describing the heating of water in a kettle ("the kettle reverberated with a dull roar as a stream of water hit the bottom...restricting the flow to a languorous trickle")-ugh!; or ii) phrases that make little or no sense: "unexpected emotion clogged Eragon's chest", "astonishment raised Gedric's eyebrows"; "like a split in blue-gray granite, a wide grin spread across his jaw" (can anyone see what the writer is describing?); "as sharp and piercing as a glass needle stabbing the air" (say what? who has ever seen a glass needle?). All of these examples are located within three pages of each other (i.e., pp 276-278)!!! There are probably many more that I didn't notice in earlier pages because the story line was good enough to keep my attention and interest going. Nevertheless, mixed metaphors, confusing similes, misapprehended meaning of some words, and an overabundance of cliches makes for tedious reading when there is no confrontational action taking place among the book's characters (many of which are both interesting and unique). If Paolini doesn't pick up the pace of the story soon and abandon his futile attempt to sound mature and intellectual, I may not be able to finish reading this book because of increased boredom and frustration. And I'm not sure I will be compelled to read the last (hopefully) book in this series if the drudgery of reading Brisingr doesn't diminish.