Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brisingr - Christopher Paolini

I finally managed to get my hands on the latest of the Inheritance series ( or cycle; as the Mr. Paolini prefers to call it ) of books and as with his previous efforts, the book impresses and so does Paolini.

A brief summary of the previous books in the cycle namely 'Eragon' followed by 'Eldest' is provided but it is by no means means that anyone will follow the book without reading the above two. 'Brisingr' is very much a continuation and reading 'Eragon' and 'Eldest' is a must.

'Brisingr' starts of exactly (or maybe a few days after) where 'Eldest' was left of. Eragon and his cousin Roran are at Helgrind out to rescue Roran's love Katrina who was captured by the Razac. An inevitable encounter follows with Eragon and Roran fight the Razac after Saphira had somehow found a way to enter the fortress. Eragon along with Saphira manage to defeat one Razac and injure the other as Roran rescues Katrina. Eragon later finds Sloan alive but refrains from telling that to the couple. He convinces Saphira to fly Roran and Saphira back to the Varden while he himself had to stay back to finish some unfinished buisness. (This is a very very crude version of what happens...plz read the book). Eragon defeats the other Razac and punishes the blind Sloan instead of killing him and forces him to travel to Du Waldervarden (the land of the elves) by himself. The concept of 'you cannot break the oath you took in the ancient language' is really appealing. If only something like it really existed.

Once that was out of the way, Eragon accompanied by Arya (who was sent by Nasauda to look for him) reached Surda. There is a nice little scene where Eragon and Arya spend the night just talking when they are visited by the travelling spirits. However there really seems to be developing something between them and it should be interesting to see what develops there in the fourth book. Back at Surda meanwhile Nasauda has to prove herself as the undoubted leader of her own tribe at the Trial of the Long Knives where she defeates Fadawar. Islanzadi the queen and leader of the elves is fighting at Ceunon.

Once back Eragon spends sometime bonding with Saphira, explaining himself to Nasauda and Orin, clearing up some old debts, getting hold of a falchion as his temp sword and continuing his quest to know more about his and Brom's past chatting with Jeod. There is also the case of Elva whom Eragon tries to 'cure' or correct the mistake he had made by 'blessing' her, but to no avail. His counter-spell has little or no effect. But Elva seems pleased by the fact has she can actually ignore some of the minor pains. Eragon also now has 12 elves as bodyguards.

The chapter 'Fire in the Sky' at halfway point in the book gives us the mouthwatering action we had been waiting for. Thorn and Murtagh show at the Varden camp along with Urgals that simply feel no pain. No matter how much they are chopped they simply dust themselves off and get back to the fight. The Varden warriors obviously unaware of their 'quality' are slaughter however they overcome them in the end, but many men are lost. Meanwhile Murtagh and Thorn seem as strong as ever. This time however Eragon and Saphira defeat them with the help of the elves but Murtagh and Thorn manage to escape. Eragon marries Roran and Katrina the same day.

Next up, Eragon is sent on a mission by Nasauda to oversee the Dwarves voting of their new king at Farthen Dur and hopefully get someone in favour of the Varden to the throne. Accompaning for the forward journey is a kull, Garzhvog. Once there, Eragon is under Orik's company where he see's the forest of stone. The quabbling for the votes frustrates Eragon and he decides to venture out. It is then that Eragon is attacked from who are seemingly people of one of Oriks opponents. Eragon has a tough time defeated them since theyare faster and more skilled then most dwarves. Orik is incenssed and gets to the bottom of the attack. He very smoothly declares the event in the hall and gets his opponent and his clan bannished from among the dwarves. Next comes the voting and Orik wins. Next comes the ceremony which even Saphira is called to attend and Orik is sworn as king of the dwarves. Saphira also 'repairs' the Isidar Mithrim - the pride of the dwarves.

Meanwhile Roran is reproving himself as 'Stronghammer'. He seems unbeatable as he outrageously flirts with danger but manages to overcome his enemies. In one fight he kills over 200 soldiers single-handed. But he 'rightly' disobeys the orders given to him by his commander and hence when he returns he is punished by Nasauda with 50 lashes by the whip. You might think that that would tame him. You would think wrong. He is off again the day after this time as commander of and army of 50% humans and 50% urgals. An inevitable disturbance follows. One of the urgals challenges Rorans leadership. They duel and guess what Roran prevails. One has to say that Roran is either incredibly lucky or he is Paolini's favourite character in the book.

Eragon and Saphira then travels to Du Waldervarden to complete his training with Oromis and Glaedr. Thats just an excuse though. He ends up as one would have guessed finding about his past and ofcourse getting his own riders sword. What does he name it you ask. He calls it Brisingr and spicing it up when he utters the name Brisingr the sword bursts into flames. Hmm. Anyway, Eragon seems shocked to find out that Brom was actually his father and that Saphira actually knew that. He also finds out about dragons heart of hearts - the Eldunari and how Galbatorix uses them to become as powerful as he is. Morover Glaedr gives Eragon his Eldunari and Oromis and his dragon decide to goto war.

The climax of the book is at the battle of Feinster. This battle is completely reminiscent of the Two Towers of the Lord of the Rings with some Paolini tweaks. Eragon, Arya and Saphira slay 3 spellcasters who still manage to conjure a Shade stronger than Durza. Eragon and Saphira are simulataneously haunted by what Oromis and Glaedr are upto and they happen to be fighting Thorn and Murtagh at Gilead. Galbatorix finally shows up through Murtagh resulting in the death of both the rider and later his dragon. Eragon and Saphira are devastated. However gathers himself toghethr and manges to fight the Shade - mind-fighting that is. Arya recovers after nearly being choked to death and slays the Shade. Thus comes forth Arya Shadeslayer. Yes now theres two of them.

Thus the Varden captures Feinster and then Eragon tells Arya and Nasauda what happened at Ellesmera with Rhunon, Oromis and Glaedr. Thus the book ends...but not the cycle.

I cannot wait for the next and what looks like the final installment of the Inheritance cycle.

Take a bow Christopher Paolini.

No comments: