Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Like many people (including many of my students), I liked Eragon well enough, but Eldest gave me some problems.

I was intrigued, though, to read Brisingr and to see how Christopher Paolini had grown as an author. I actually squealed when my copy came from Random House on September 20th, and I’ve been reading it off and on since then. (I did not get a lot read in October in general, and then a bunch of books I had been waiting for came in from the library in November, so Brisingr got pushed back once again.) But don’t let the fact that it took me so long make you think that I didn’t like it, because I did. I think I might have liked it more than Eragon.

Brisingr picks up where Eldest left off, with Eragon dealing with the shocking news that Morzan is his father and Murtagh is his brother. It took me a bit of time to reorient myself to the world of Alagaësia, but the story moves on at a decent pace. I felt again this time that the story could have used a bit more editing, and that Paolini described events in a bit too much depth (some of the scenes with the dwarves and the sword-forging scene come to mind). It’s interesting, though, because in doing that, he is trying to show rather than tell, and that’s something I approve of in general. The series was originally planned to be three books, and after it is all over, I will be interested to see how some of the overall plays out. There is a pretty big reveal at the end of Brisingr as well, and I wondered how it would have worked for Eldest to have been shorter and for some of that information to have been in the second book.

I liked Eragon as a character in this book. He has progressed in his maturity, and that made for a more enjoyable read as far as I was concerned. Overall, I was pretty pleased with Brisingr, and my students who have read it have said good things as well. I look forward to hearing how the story ends.

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