Two professional Brisingr reviews have now been released. One by the Washington Post and one by Salt Lake Tribune.

Washington Post

Salt Lake Tribune

So, one review is way better than the other. The Washington Post review tries really hard to say nice things about the book.

As an adult, I read “Brisingr” with a mixture of admiration for Paolini’s accomplishments and an awareness of the book’s flaws, which prevented me from being fully won over. But that’s hardly a slight. Had I read this novel when I was 13, it would have kept me up straight through the night. For that matter, I might have even stolen a few bits from it for D&D. And that’s a compliment.

Through out the review he talks about irrelevant stuff like D&D instead of actually focusing on the book. He mentions flaws, but never details what they are. What was the point of the professional reviewer again? Thanks for educating us on this book. Instead of being an actual review, this ends up as a glorified advertisement and plot summary. The author desperately wants to say this book is bad, I get the feeling, but he doesn’t.

So I feel a certain kinship with Christopher Paolini, whose first novel, “Eragon,” about a 15-year-old boy who discovers a dragon egg, may have had a similar genesis. While young readers devoured the novel, some adult readers cried foul. The teenage author, they argued, had stolen from fantasy greats like J.R.R. Tolkien and Anne McCaffrey, and even borrowed from “Star Wars.” Worse, much of the book was awkwardly overwritten.

Adult Readers? Excuse me, lots of young readers called foul too. It’s sort of fishy how this review doesn’t come down harder. But them, the author of the review wrote a book entitled Acacia: The War With the Mein which was published by The Doubleday Publishing Group a division of Random House. Guess you wouldn’t want to ruin your relationship with your publishing house by saying rude things about one of their most lucrative and badly written franchises, now would you?

The Salt Lake Tribune review, on the other hand, is not only shorter but more relevant. She is right on the money here:

Throughout “Brisingr,” the third book in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle, characters are bone-tired from meandering through Alagaesia, frustrated at inaction and resigned to a fate not within their control.

As a reader, unfortunately, it’s easy to feel the same way.

Brisingr was originally slated to be the final book in Paolini’s trilogy; instead the story was chopped into two novels because Paolini thought he needed to wrap up too many plot lines to do justice to the story in one book.

If Paolini’s editors had been paying attention, they would have ripped out two-thirds of the story and used this volume to finish the series.

And also:

In the decade since the young author first penned a draft of “Eragon,” he hasn’t learned how to create characters that readers can relate to, or improved his awkward diction.

Yikes. Props to you Sheena McFarland. I think the Washington Post would do well to learn from the Salt Lake Tribune here.


  1. Mlarg on 7 October 2008, 00:18 said:

    Well, Utah has always been cooler than Washington. I would have thought you to know this :P

  2. GC on 7 October 2008, 05:54 said:

    Only two professional reviews released so far? That’s… unexpected.

  3. CWB on 7 October 2008, 11:48 said:

    Being (somewhat) close to the publishing industry I’m certain that nobody at Random House or Knopf is happy about Paolini or Brisingr. It was (probably) easy for the editors to overlook CP’s flaws and lack of talent since it was basically just a children’s book written by a teenager (and the initial sales helped offset their initial doubts).

    But I can’t imagine what’s going on over there since Eldest and Brisingr have been published. I can’t imagine what it was like when they got a first look at the draft of Eldest.

    Editors and Publishers are people who love to read books as much as writers love to write. Editors know they have to publish the guaranteed sellers like celebrity memoirs or unauthorized biographies to stay in business… but what these people typically want to edit, work on, and spend their time around, are great works of fiction. The type of books that keep them turning the pages and that stick in their minds for months and even years afterwards. To think they’re proud of Paolini is ridiculous. They’re not proud, and they’re not happy Inheritance sells as well as it does, I can assure you.

    The sales don’t offset the shame the Knopf editors feel amongst their cohorts for having published such drivel, either. This was a children’s book thrown in their laps by their publisher and they weren’t given much choice. The proof of their dislike for Inheritance’s success is how obvious it is that Knopf’s editors no longer care to edit CP’s manuscripts.

    After the disaster that was Eldest still sold a bazillion copies, the editors know his “cycle” will sell whether they try to carve a halfway decent book out of his submitted garbage or not.

    Knopf’s editors are hoping CP will wrap up the Inheritance Cycle and never darken their doorstep again… after all, can anybody imagine what this idiot’s capable of writing beyond Inheritance? Other than Lord of the Rings set in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, of course.

    Froodoo Skywalker and his three ewok friends travel with a bounty hunter, a wookie, and an old Jedi to the planet Mordurr to throw Froodoo’s lightsaber into the lava pits of Mount Dume and save the Galaxy!


  4. Snow White Queen on 8 October 2008, 21:16 said:


    i never thought about his poor editors! i would feel really frustrated too if i had to read through all that junk, probably several times too.

  5. Mr. Wednesday on 8 October 2008, 22:00 said:

    About time that some reviews got released. But still, I expected more.

  6. Eva on 9 October 2008, 05:33 said:

    I disagree with the Washington Post review, specifically about one thing (although I agree it praised the book far too much).

    It said that Elva was completely original. Now, I might be wrong here, but Paolini has cited Dune as one of the books that has inspired him. Doesn’t Elva remind anyone a little of the “Abomination” children (Alia, Leto, Ghanima) in the Dune Series?

  7. GC on 9 October 2008, 05:58 said:

    Someone here is an American Gods fan. XP

  8. SlyShy on 9 October 2008, 09:04 said:


    Yes, among the anti-fans community Eva has been thought of as a less than original characters for basicly ever. I guess I couldn’t fault the reviewer for being as well read as a forum of teenagers… wait, I totally could. Seriously, I expect reviewers to have read a lot of books for comparison, and to have done some research on the books.

  9. INT on 6 April 2009, 19:16 said:

    dont you think you guys are being a bit rational, ecpecially you SlyShy you guys dont look at what the reviews are saying and comment on that, youre looking at the review and posting your comments on how the reviews cudve been altered and , y not discuss the issues mentioned in the reviews instead of “Yikes. Props to you Sheena McFarland. I think the Washington Post would do well to learn from the Salt Lake Tribune here.”

  10. Legion on 6 April 2009, 19:26 said:

    @INT: Your post is an incoherant jumble of almost-words mashed together. I have no idea what you’re trying to say or why you’re even bothering to say anything at all. You make no sense and I can’t be bothered to make sense of you.

    But I did lol at your complete and utter lack of ability to articulate yourself in written Engrish as I facepalmed. A+ troll, would read again. =D

  11. scary_viking on 6 April 2009, 20:25 said:

    dont you think you guys are being a bit rational
    Eh, that’s technically a comment. I’m not entirely sure what the point is other than that we need better analysis methods, or something.

  12. SlyShy on 6 April 2009, 22:17 said:

    y not discuss the issues mentioned in the reviews instead of “Yikes. Props to you Sheena McFarland. I think the Washington Post would do well to learn from the Salt Lake Tribune here.”

    Because… that’s sort of what we do. Didn’t bother reading the rest of the site, I take it.

  13. Flintier on 19 April 2009, 23:54 said:

    So… That last post was a response to a response of someone’s review of a review?


    And CWB was on the money, Nuff said.

  14. Argh on 26 May 2009, 20:47 said:

    For the last time, reviewers, HE’S NOT 15 ANY MORE! HE’S 25 FRIGGING YEARS OLD!

    Am I the ONLY person who thinks it’s time they stopped giving him a free pass like this? For god’s sake, he’s not stuck in some sort of stasis field that keeps him a “kid” for his entire life!

  15. Cachondo!! on 25 March 2010, 06:41 said:

    I thought it was a great book!