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*Brisingr (Inheritance, Book 3)* by Christopher Paolini- young adult book review  
Brisingr (Inheritance, Book 3)
by Christopher Paolini
Grades 7+ 763 pages Knopf September 2008 Hardcover    

Christopher Paolini writes in such a way that a simple beginning spirals out more and more grandly to eventually create a fully, vibrantly believable world. In the newest installment of the ďInheritanceĒ saga, Brisingr, the spirals are a little too slow and gradual, however, so as to carry the reader along in a gently swaying little rowboat. A few more rapids tossed into Eragonís path might have been appreciated. Overall, the current inevitably leads to revelations, more secrets and wars, but even so, it is a quiet, comfortable sort of a story.

In part three of the epic, rambling story of Eragon, the boy who would be hero to his world alongside his dragon partner, many peoples are joined together by a common enemy: the infamous and seemingly evil-to-the-core Galbatorix. In preparations for the coming war, the elves finally emerge from their forests, as do the dwarves from their caves and tunnels. The Varden come from behind their walls to unify the farmers of the land with the merchants of the seas - even a particular group who have been solid enemies from the beginning of time reluctantly battle for the humans, elves and dwarves against the Empire. Eragon now serves as a figurehead under whose name they all unite, trying fiercely to win their freedom by bringing down the man who was the end of the dragon riders. The young heroís promises and oaths keep him entangled, while his constant mistakes and necessary lessons keep him running around endlessly.

Paolini has a happy knack for humanizing even what appear to be the most horrendous of enemies, while not always taking the time to flesh out some of the most-seen comrades. It is an interesting contrast. The figures surrounding him are often quite real and interesting, though. Worry and care for the characters is one of the strongest pulls this series has to offer - they are written with believable flair. Eragon himself is easy to relate to, from his few strengths to his many flaws and fears. Saphira, as his constant companion and conscience, offers both amusement and wisdom to balance the sometimes whiny and inexperienced hero.

Little asides in long, rambling dialogues serve to enhance rather than detract from the story as a whole. Dialogues are often used, in the Eragon world, to further develop characters or history. In this volume, Bromís life is explained in more depth. Orik and Arya both return, as does Eragonís foster brother. Angela the herbalist joins the cause, her quietly outspoken manner overseeing the chaos. The return of Murtagh shocks poor young Eragon, only serving to make him all the more eager to face his nemesis once and for all. Things that are perhaps meant to be a shock are often not. If the reader listens to all the stories, and all of the history, as it is all laid out, the revelations simply allow things to fall into little neat rows of tidbits ripe for the picking.

The ridiculous length in some parts seems to be a tool for helping the reader feel that time is passing agonizingly slowly. Still, understanding that length might be a method of the writer, there are parts that could have been much better for the tightening strokes of a strongly wielded red pen. By the time the very long awaited climax finally appears, the bleary eyes of the reader are simply ready for the end. However, it is high fantasy; Paolini follows a long-established trend and fits right in with the masters before him.

While it is admittedly very long, Brisingr fleshes out the politics, history and characters in Eragonís messy, war-torn world. As a reader, my biggest complaint is not endless stretch of admittedly skillful writing; instead, it is that book three did not complete the series as expected. There is a book four in the works. I would have given a dragonís egg to have book three be the conclusion - call it impatience, perhaps, that Iíve now existed in his world long enough to want to see resolution, rather than being forced to just wait and see again. And while Brisingr is not nearly as engaging or as exciting as Eldest was, it is good enough that book four will likely be sought out by any fans who have read through all three volumes.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Carolynn Evans/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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