Does the latest book in the Inheritance Cycle live up to its predecessors? And if it does, is that necessarily a good thing?

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Summary

After rescuing Roran’s betrothed, Eragon and Saphira embark on a series of missions to help shore up the Varden both internally and externally.

Along the way, certain revelations are given to Eragon about his past and how he can defeat the evil king Galbatorix.

High Point

I’m finding Roran’s storyline to be far more interesting than Eragon’s.  He’s got no power, no authority, but he’s leading men and kicking butt.

Low Points

  • The…pace…is…killing…me. For an epic fantasy, it’s surely lacking in the EPIC.
  • The revealtion about Eragon’s past is neither surprising nor interesting.
  • Eragon’s an idiot. He swears unbreakable oaths at the drop of a hat. Makes stupid decisions and, despite being super-powerful, still acts like a lost, wounded child. Man up!

The Scores

This entire series has always been handicapped in terms of originality. Borrowing HEAVILY from the Hero’s Journey motiff and other, better fantasy epics, it’s always been predictable. Sometimes it’s comforting, but by Book 3, it’s a little tired. 1/6

The story, or what there is of it, is thin. It’s filler material and errand-boy missions to pad the length. Get to the final, epic battle already! 2/6

The imagery is decent, but not spectacular. There’s very little detail by way of scenery or action. Emotions and feelings are well-done, however. 3/6

The characterization is uneven. Eragon and Saphira are pretty dull and cliche. Supporting characters like Roran, Nassuada, and others are far more interesting. 3/6

If the emotional response was frustration, mission accomplished. Get moving! 2/6

The editing is decent, but I feel a better editor would have told Paolini that there will be no fourth book, just trim out the B.S. in Book three and get to the endgame. 3/6

Overall, it’s a decent book, but it’s the third act and things should be coming to a head. Instead, I feel like we just repeated Act Two. No ground gained, and just a few plot points moved forward. He could added some to Book two, taken a few key chapters from this book and merged them into the actual finale of the series. 3/6