Brisingr – Review

brisingr

So during my incredibly short winter break I got to read “Brisingr” the third installment of the Eragon series. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I had read that the author Christopher Paolini had decided not to make Eragon a trilogy, because “Brisingr” involved Eragon and other characters facing an identity crisis. I immediately rolled my eyes and thought “why in the world would you want to add that now?” It seems that Paolini knew exactly what he was doing.

The characters in Eragon are typical of certain characters one finds in fantasy books. The elves thing they are better than everyone. Dwarves are only interested in themselves. Humans are short lived representations of light and dark. I could go on. Anyway, the protagonist, Eragon, a human farm boy who has become the last free dragon rider and is the central weapon of the resistance against the evil empire has been roughly uncomplicated in the series. He lost his family and his home. He is adopted. Most people just describe him as “Luke Skywalker” although I never thought that was incredibly fair. It is not the author’s fault that most heroes come from similar beginnings.

In any event, in Brisingr we learn more about Eragon and see him grow. If you have not read the book, please be aware SPOILERS may be discussed. I’d like to think since it was released in September of 2008. All those who might come across this will not care. Brisingr addresses something rarely discussed in fantasy novels. The obligation of heroes. Eragon and his dragon Saphira hold a unique place in the land of Alagaësia. They are the hopes for all races who wish to overthrow the empire. As a result Eragon is welcomed as a member of the a dwarf clan (no human has ever been granted that courtesy.) He trains with the elves. He is also an official member of the resistance “The Varden” which is headed by a human. Each of these races asks Eragon to do a range of things, and with their help in battle comes certain obligations. So Eragon swears oaths to do all sorts of things. Avenge this person, return for more teaching from this person, etc. Unfortunately, Eragon cannot do all of them at once, and so must try to balance these. This is an incredibly interesting thing to watch. There are times where Eragon has to justify his decisions to those who depend on him, even though the audience can see clear as day why he needs to do these things. Sharing the frustration with the protagonist is fun and certainly kept me reading.

In addition to Eragon’s story, we learn more about the strength of the other characters. Nasuada proves how dedicated she is as a leader by cutting herself in a trial of the knives, when her authority is questioned. Arya talks about how she was once close with another person, and that after he left, she has had difficulty with intimacy. Roran shows the power of love in times of war, and all that it can inspire. There are many more stories.

I was sad to see the story end the way it did, especially since I was so looking forward to the epic battle of Eragon vs. Galbatorix. However, now that I feel these characters have moved from fantasy stock to something more. I feel the battle will mean much more.

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