The Inheritance Cycle third book: Brisingr

Posted by – 21/10/2008

WARNING: small spoiler ahead

As a Tolkien old-time fan, and Fantasy genre lover, I could not leave unnoticed Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle (formerly Inheritance Trilogy). I read books 1 and 2 (Eragon and Eldest, respectively) and I think both were very good readings (of course, not by far as good as The Professor, but yet…), and I was rather curious about the third book. Once it was out, I ran to the bookshop to get me one… it took me less than a week to read it all.

As Paolini himself said, the story grew since he first envisioned it (thus the need for a fourth book), but I haven’t liked this last one as I have the first two, and I think that may be because of the growth. Is it just me or Brisingr seems, at times, too expensive in words?

One of the main reasons I like Lord of the Rings is that Tolkien was careful enough not to let it become a definition book. By that I mean that the whole legendarium Tolkien depicted is just the canvas over which the story is taking place. The cats of Queen Berúthiel is an example of this: Tolkien never explained it in Lord of the Rings (IIRC not even in the appendices!)… it was left as an expression in common-use by Middle-earth inhabitants, similar to “Prophet’s Beard” to us.

Instead, Paolini seems to be too concerned to explain everything in this third book. He spends too much words on details, leaving little room to reader’s imagination… And that’s the whole point of Fantasy books, isn’t it? The most proeminent of the examples of such being Roran and Katrina’s marriage: he spent half a dozen pages on it, describing the whole ceremony. In Tolkien style, that would become an appendix… maybe not even that!

Please, don’t get me wrong. Brisingr is a great book and I am surely longing for the final (yet not named) book, and surely this is not intended to compare Tolkien and Paolini, but maybe the original project of a Trilogy made more sense. If I understood it correctly, Brisingr was not planned… so maybe in the next book Paolini gets back to the original path.

Either way, I will just have to wait another year…

(BTW, The Birthday Toast is near. I joined the toast in 2003 and 2008)

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