Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 3 Book Poster Image

Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 3

Overlong but exciting; gorier than the first two.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters will go to any lengths to protect those they love and defeat evil. The society in this world has clearly defined gender roles, but they don't preclude women from fighting.


Lots. Many bloody battles, with large numbers of deaths (including that of a major character) and injuries (including some that are self-inflicted), many described: beheadings, disembowelments, snapping of necks and spines, limbs lopped off, pecking out of eyes, whipping, piles of bodies, spurting blood, drinking of blood, chunks of flesh (several times described as "meat") and brain matter, and more. Some of this is described using very graphic metaphors: "his skin split like an overripe berry," etc.


A mention of groping a maid; intercourse is implied in several scenes; some kissing; an oblique, bawdy joke about a bridegroom.


The term "bastard" is used correctly.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking of mead and wine; pipe smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the gore factor is very high and frequent here, even higher than the previous books in the series. Expect piles of bodies and graphic descriptions of things like beheadings and disembowelment amidst the many battles. There is also some mild sexual innuendo.

What's the story?

Eragon and Saphira struggle to fulfill the promises they have made: to help Roran rescue Katrina from the Ra'zac, to keep the Varden united and obey Nasuada, to complete their training with the elves, to repair the Dwarves' star sapphire, to undo their spell on Elva, to support Orik, and to avenge Hrothgar, Garrow, and Kvistor.

Is it any good?


Young author Christopher Paolini continues to grow as a writer, and his story has an ability to capture and hold his readers' attentions even over the far-too-long expanse of his longest novel yet. His characters, settings, and action set-pieces are vivid and continue to thrill, and there is no doubt that this third book in what is now planned to be a four-book series will sell well and please many of his fans.

But his decision, presumably approved by his editors, to extend the trilogy to four books has given his propensity for self-indulgence free rein. The actual plot here warrants perhaps 250-300 pages. The rest is spent in what can only be described as showing off. He loves flaunting his vocabulary in lengthy, unnecessary descriptions: in one scene, for instance, where a bunch of men are ringing bells, he divides them in two just so that he can describe half of them "producing a dolorous cacophony of notes" while the other half "cause iron tongues to crash against iron throats and emit a mournful clamor." He continues to include sophomoric bull-sessions that run to dozens of pages, and he seems incapable of doing a bit of research without foisting it all on the reader: for example, his description of the forging of a sword takes up an entire 16-page chapter. Paolini is a very good writer, and has the talent to be a great one -- all he needs is the discipline.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of promises. Why do we make promises? What purpose do they serve? When is it acceptable to break a promise? What should we do when promises conflict? Why does Eragon make so many promises?

Book details

Author:Christopher Paolini
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date:September 20, 2008
Number of pages:763
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14

This review of Brisingr: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 3 was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written byWitrin January 2, 2010

Don't waste your time.

In a nutshell, this book is turgid, bloated, and unrewarding. The protagonist, Eragon, is the textbook definition of psychopathic, murdering innocent coerced soldiers without any regret. He seems to delight in doing so. Roran is unbelievable and boring. He kills over two hundred people with a hammer and then stands on the pile of bodies. Nasuada seems to think that the best way to convince her enemies how strong she is would be self-harm. Huh. The plot does not warrant the page count and could have been written in under 70 pages, not 750. Don't believe me? Fact: there are only 5 plot points. The decision for a fourth book is only to get more money. Paolini is obviously worried that when Inheritance is finished, no publisher will want to touch his books. He should be worried. Brisingr doesn't even look as if it's been edited. Christopher Paolini cannot write. He does not know how to use a simile. The purpose of a simile is to compare two things, describing the former of the two, something unfamiliar to the reader, by comparing it with something the reader is familiar with. The are not for comparing two things that both need separate similes. They are not for boosting word counts. I won't go on any more, except to mention the plagiarism, for which there is documented proof, and the language Paolini claims to have invented (It's actually Old Norse, and he butchered it.) Paolini is not a Tolkien. Prof. Tolkien was a linguist. Paolini isn't. End of Story. (I wish.)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bylogan.malf22 March 29, 2010

OK for twelve and up, but to see the important parts of the story requires more maturity.

Not as much sexual content as the last on, mostly just violence. A very enjoyable book for young teens, but some of the harder to notice topics require more maturity to realize and understand. I would recommend it to anyone over twelve.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byMoeluver February 17, 2011

Very good book dissapointing author

Lots of politics (i skip them when i reread) lots of gore (the book would be dull without it) Long descriptions (i skip the sword making part too) But a really good book. But perhaps we should not have put our trust in such a young author, Brisingr's copyrite date is 2008 and its now 2011,mabye im impaitient but lhe left at a kinda cliffhanger, there isn't a release date or even a title floating around. Perhaps an older author would do better, i think so in the finishing writing the area.
What other families should know
Too much violence