A QUICK REHASH OF EVENTS (hopefully not too spoilery):
❊ In Eragon, after a dragon hatches from what our titular hero had thought was a stone, his life is turned upside down as he becomes a Dragon Rider and the last hope for the country of Alagaesia in overthrowing the evil King Galbatorix. Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, must travel across Alagaesia to join up with the rebel forces of the Varden, on his way he learns the magic that is part of being a Rider, and fights the evil forces of the king. Upon reaching the Varden, Eragon and Saphira are pitched into a final battle with Galbatorix’s army.
❊ Following the battle, in Eldest Eragon and Saphira make their way to the elven stronghold of Du Weldenvarden, where they must complete their training as dragon and rider. Meanwhile, the Varden are making their way to Surda – a country south of the Empire, that is independent from Galbatorix – in anticipation of another strike against them by Galabatorix. We are introduced to some new characters as well as seeing the development of some relatively minor characters from Eragon. This book also ends in a pretty epic battle, and sets things up in an interesting way for Brisingr, as Eragon learns new information about his own past.
In Brisingr, Eragon’s mission against Galbatorix has become much more personal, thus adding to the already monumental problem of how to overpower the king. Compounding this is the demand upon him to remain impartial to all, as is expected of a Rider, which causes his loyalties and friendships to be tested. There’s also a lot more of an inner struggle to be seen in Eragon this time around, as he attempts to come to terms with the knowledge about his past, brought to light in the final pages of Eldest. Then there’s another big battle.
I’ll start by saying that I really wanted to like this book – mostly because out of all the covers in the series, this one is the most beautiful. After reading Eldest (book 2 in the series – you can read my review here) and feeling all kinds of crazy at it’s conclusion, I had high hopes for Brisingr. But sadly for me, it drifted back into the somewhat slow narrative realms of book 1 in the series, Eragon (review for that one here). While I was able to look past the slowness of Eragon for the sake of setting up the story, I couldn’t do the same for this one. There were some parts of it that were drawn out, with one plot point in particular not really having too great of an impact on where the story was going but which regardless took up a large portion of the story.
Having said that, I didn’t hate it. There was enough happening to keep me wanting to read through to the last book in the series, but I think if I wasn’t me and therefore not a person who absolutely must finish a series once they’ve started it, then I may have given up. I persevered however, and after I got through the bulk of the book, things began to pick up in the closing chapters and it finished on a bit of a high, thereby hooking me into reading the last book (as if I wasn’t going to do that anyway). What also saved it was the moving around of the narrative – once the narrative had followed one character around for a little while, something earth shattering would almost happen, and then it would move on to another character. So naturally I had to push through to get back to that previous character, and find out what was going to happen. Having that to look forward to made it easy to get through some of the more tedious bits.
Overall, to me Brisingr wasn’t easy to enjoy, but it was really difficult to dislike. I appreciate that there was a need to provide some more background history on certain things, but I think it just made the book drag on a bit. As I said, there was one part of the story that was given a lot of page space, but realistically could have been left out all together without it affecting the rest of the story (although it would have meant changing one thing at the end of Eldest), and it also would have got rid of a lot of pages.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – Um, I guess Eragon again, but the main characters were starting to get a little bit grating. Especially since there was still not enough of the character I’d loved so much from the first book.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – Obviously those of you who have read the first two books in the series.
FAVOURITE QUOTE – I actually had no quotes that stood out in this one. Usually if I come across a line I like I’ll fold up the bottom corner of the page it’s on and then go back to it later. But there were no folded pages this time around.