Science fiction and fantasy
by Christopher Paolini
"Roran was watching him with the expression of a starving wolf. His gray eyes burned with a mixture of anger, hope, and despair that was so great, it seemed as if his emotions might burst forth and incinerate everything in sight in a blaze of unimaginable intensity, melting the very rocks themselves."
Faced with that kind of thing on page 7, most readers could be forgiven for making their own blazes of unimaginable intensity. Reading the first few chapters of this novel is like wading through treacle, whilst Paolini goes to town with some ridiculously overblown descriptions.
Luckily things do improve. Around a quarter of the way in the writing gets tighter and the pace quickens somewhat, making it easier to concentrate on the story.
Eragon and Saphira are reunited with Roran, and the three of them set off to rescue Katrina, Roran's betrothed, from Helgrind. In the course of Eragon's adventures both he and Saphira have accumulated a lot of unfinished business, and they made promises to right various wrongs. Brisingr is concerned with their efforts to set these matters straight. Galbatorix and Murtagh are an ever-present threat, and as the war rages it looks increasingly likely that Eragon and Saphira will not get another chance to keep their word.
These tasks that Eragon and Saphira undertake may not always result in fierce battles, but that's not to say that Brisingr lacks for action. As the conflict with Galbatorix escalates Eragon and Roran grow increasingly troubled by the body count they leave behind. They may both be battle-hardened warriors by this stage, but that doesn't prevent them from feeling guilty about it. It might have been endearing, if the battles weren't so very over the top. Characters do things like battle it out over hills of slain enemies, hacking their way through hundreds of opponents. It's that matter of restraint once more.
Although he was born human and looks like an elf, Eragon nevertheless has strong ties to the dwarves. As they begin the tortuous process of appointing a new leader he struggles to persuade them to select someone who is friendly towards the Varden. The alliance of free people opposed to Galbatorix is on the verge of breaking up, unless Eragon can master dwarven politics. But his problems don't end there. He must return to the lands of the elves in order to complete his training if he's ever going to find out more about the source of Galbatorix's vast power.
With every journey Paolini introduces newer and stranger elements into the world of
If you like this, try:Dragon's Time by Anne and Todd McCaffrey
Will time travel provide the answer for the dragons and dragonriders of Pern in their continuing battle against Thread?
Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Christopher Paolini
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