Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Brisingr is the third book in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series. It is a young adult fantasy series, very much with the hero's journey type of plot. When I was about 16, totally caught up in Lord of the Rings mania, the first book in the series (Eragon) was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever read. I stumbled upon it when it was still self-published and not remarkably popular and I was crazy about it.

Now, I see why people who are more well-read and critical than I was at 16 did not embrace Paolini's story like I did then. This and the second book of the series, Eldest, did not entertain me much. It's probably worth reading if you liked the first book and don't mind his writing style but I definitely don't recommend going out of your way to read these books.

Paolini's story is somewhat derivative. I feel like most fantasy stories, particularly more traditional ones with elves and dragons and epic journeys are all derivative and tell the same types of stories, so the derivativeness of Inheritance doesn't really stand out. Everything in that genre sort of feels like Lord of the Rings to some extent. There just isn't much in the Inheritance story to set it apart for me now. I think I liked it so much when I was 16 because it was perfect escapist fantasy for me at the time. I was very engaged by the characters, really wanted to have a dragon and bang Murtagh. Now I like to think my tastes have matured.

The one thing that does set Paolini's writing apart is, unfortunately, his writing. It pretty much sounds like a thesaurus exploded all over the pages. It's really, really ridiculous. He uses the most pretentious, obscure words for no apparent reason. Don't get me wrong, I love my pretentious vocabulary, but I do not approve of using uncommon words that are less relevant that common words! His writing is incredibly awkward, and the dialog is really painful.

I sort of want to read Eragon again and see if I still like it at all. Maybe when I am really depressed and lonely so I get the full 15 year old experience. We'll see.

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