After Eragon and Eldest comes the 3rd book in the Inheritance Cycle, Brisingr. Originally designed to be the final book in the series, Paolini decided to go a little further and plan on a fourth book.
Named after the first word Eragon learns in the Ancient Language, which means “fire,” Brisingr becomes a significant part of Eragon’s arsenal (I won’t spoil it, you’ll have to read to find out.)
I question Paolini’s decision to break into four novels. Why? Because Brisingr is very slow in places and sometimes seems to just drag on, particularly towards the middle. It could have easily been cut down by deleting a lot of the unnecessary political stuff–this was written for kids right? I can see them easily getting bored with those parts.
As mentioned in my review of the last book, Roran’s fiancé, Katrina, was captured. Brisingr starts out with Eragon and Roran infiltrating the Ra’zac’s fortress. After rescuing her and killing every last creature, Eragon is faced with determining the fate of Katrina’s father, who had who betrayed Carvahall.
Arya eventually meets up with Eragon (who was separated from Saphira (his dragon)). They return to the Varden where he reunites with Saphira, attempts to restore the curse on Elva, and tries to locate a new sword. After fighting off Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn, the Varden learn that the enemy is using an army that does not feel pain–A trick of Galbatorix. After the wedding of Roran and Katrina, Nasuada (the Varden leader) sends Eragon off on a mission of diplomacy to assist in choosing a new dwarf king, who is hopefully sympathetic to the Varden’s cause.
Eragon then goes with Saphira to Ellesméra to extend his training from Oromis and Glaedr. He learns the fate of his father, obtains a new sword, and rushes out to meet up with the Varden–whom Roran has been fighting with all this time–as they lay siege to a city that is under the control of Galbatorix. A new Shade arises in his path while his master fights a distant battle, and in the end, those left standing prepare to march to Belatona and from there the next city until they come to the fortress of Galbatorix.
Where I lost some appeal for the series between Eragon and Eldest, I lost a bit more between Eldest and Brisingr, but not enough to dissuade me from reading the fourth book when it comes out. I actually liked some of the slow political stuff, but as I said, it’s probably not so appealing to a younger crowd. There were times when I felt like giving up, and the beginning took me some time before I got into the story, but I forced my way through the thick waters just long enough for it to take shape. I liked seeing how the relationship between Arya and Eragon starts to take on a different shape, and how there still seems to be some redeeming hope for Murtagh.
Things to consider:
If you’ve read Eldest, then you may think that Paolini insists on having Eragon become an atheist like the elves. However, Eragon is exposed to the culture of the dwarfs and sees some amazing things. The thought of a deity becomes a possibility in his mind. I don’t know how this will end, but it seems that there is some hope. Like the first two books I rate this for pre-teens +, with it leaning more towards boys. Lots of violence, but little to no swearing or sexual situations. The “Trial of Long Knives” may be a bit too disturbing for some kids.
Opportunities for discussion:
Talk to your kids about free will. In this story, if a person possesses another’s true name, then they have control over them to make them do whatever they want. Murtagh, for example, is doing the bidding of Galbatorix by these means. Many people think that this is what Christianity is about, but it’s quite the opposite. God gave mankind a free will, free to follow or free to walk away. God wants us to chose to love and chose to follow, he is not a tyrant like Galbatorix that forces an unwilling heart. Share with your kids this type of freedom.
Past reviews in this series: