I finished Brisingr (twice) and I liked it. I was initially disappointed when Paolini announced he intended to write a book 4, instead of his originally planned trilogy. I was anxious to find out what happens with the characters and the storyline. This book satisfied some of my curiosity, but it does leave me wanting book 4. I hope he finishes it soon! (though I think it’s still going to be a couple of years …)
Some general observations, free of specific spoilers:
• Paolini’s writing has improved. Obviously, he’s no longer 15 years old, as he was when he wrote Eragon. Thus, he’s matured, and consequently, so has his writing. Though he is still very descriptive – lots and lots of details.
• The characters in the book also mature. Eragon matures quite a bit, as does Roran, Arya, and Saphira.
• The book is bloodier than the first 2. There’s more fighting and more bloodshed as the armies of the Varden and Galbatorix collide. Innocent men, forced into serving Galbatorix, are hewn down. The whole of Alagaesia is thrown into an all-out war.
• Paolini is finding his own style – he still borrows from other well-known fantasy novels, but I feel like this one is more his own. He comes up with a couple of things that are quite unique to this book (can’t say more, it would spoil the book).
All in all, The Inheritance Series is one I would recommend to other people, for their reading pleasure … esp if they like fantasy, but even if they don’t like fantasy (like me).
Now for some specific spoilers, so stop reading if you haven’t read the book (or its predecessors):
• Agh! Oromis and Glaedr die! So sad! When the 4 of them departed Ellesmera together, I expected that Oromis and Glaedr would die eventually … but I was not expecting it to be so soon! I figured they would be killed in book 4 … not so soon after they all parted! And to be killed in such an underhanded, sneaky way upset me. I mean, I know it was in battle … but ugh, I’m still upset. Aaah, it made me very sad to see them die! And they didn’t even finish off Murtagh and Thorn. Grrr!
• Ergaon & Arya’s relationship. Arya has started to open up to Eragon; she's becoming open to the idea that she could potentially love him. I think she is uncertain of her feelings for him, or perhaps unsure of the depth of her feelings for him. She is definitely fond of him and has some affection for him. I don't think she actually loves (let's have children together and all) him yet, but she is developing a rather deep affection … an affection that will be love in book 4?? I think so.
• And what about Sloan? Was Eragon right not to kill him? I felt so bad for him; I almost think Eragon should have killed him … but it wasn’t his place to meet out a punishment.
• I thought it was a little slow in the middle. Sending Eragon to Farthen Dur (sp??) to sway the dwarves’ vote (though YEA for King Orik!) … the long and detailed description of how Eragon’s new blade was made (though it turned out to be kick-butt … I just didn’t want all the forging details) …
Predictions for book 4:
• Well, Eragon and Saphira are going to kill Galbatorix. Duh! It’s not going to be easy, somehow they will have to separate him from all his dragon hearts … but it’s going to happen. I have a feeling Elva will somehow play a role …
• The last dragon egg will hatch, mature, and will eventually become Saphira’s mate.
• The last dragon egg will hatch for Arya, making her the last Rider.
• I’m undecided on this one – but I think that possibly the Dragon Riders will be no more. Eragon, Saphira, Saphira’s mate/Arya’s dragon will all leave Alagaesia. You know, it will be the classic "humans have risen above the need for supernatural heroes, now the average man will have to become a hero …" with the average man represented by Roran.
• Arya and Eragon will wed … or maybe not wed, but fall in love and sail off together, leaving Alagaesia forever. This fulfills the last part of Angela’s prophesy about Eragon’s future.
• Roran and Katrina can finally go home and settle without fear of the empire. It would be extremely heartless if Paolini killed them off in book 4. Man, I would be so upset … although, maybe Roran will die (or Katrina?) and “when all seems lost” Eragon will go to the Vault of Souls and retrieve Roran’s soul? Somehow that last part of Solembum’s prediction is going to have to come true. Or … maybe Arya will die and Eragon will go retrieve her soul??