Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brisingr -- Fantasy Book Review

In a past post I mentioned that I was looking forward to reading Brisingr, the latest installment in a fantasy series called the Inheritance Cycle. I had thought the first two books were fairly clean other than a few objectionable words and some graphic violence. I also had high expectations of this author, because he was homeschooled. In his first two books the characters’ heathen, fictional beliefs were laid out in a rather matter-of-fact sort of way. I wasn’t quite sure of the author’s worldview and was hoping that either he would keep the spiritual stuff at that inactive level or bring things around to a Christian worldview, albeit in a symbolic manner. Unfortunately, he explored religion much more extensively in this book and drew all the wrong conclusions.

I had to wonder if the author, Christopher Paolini, is currently on some sort of personal journey in which he is struggling with the truth about God. My husband went through a similar time when he was in college, even bordering on atheism at one point. Paolini seems to be saying that all religions, even pagan, are basically worshipping the same god. One character has a very moving spiritual experience in which she finds much needed peace by drawing comfort from her idols. A main character rushes marriage so as not to have a child out of wedlock, and no one condemns him for fornication. Later in the book someone mentions that two people who really love each other are basically married. Scripture is very clear on this point, and Paolini’s stand is extremely disappointing at a time when our culture increasingly embraces cohabitation. We certainly don’t need another children’s author on the wrong side of the marriage fence.

As I got further into this book, I became more uncomfortable. I have learned to listen to my conscience, and it seemed to be nagging me. By the time I was two-thirds of the way through, I was ready to quit. I ended up skimming the rest just to see the outcome, but in retrospect, I wish I had not read the book at all. I am disgusted with the entire experience, angry with myself, and irritated with the author. I asked Jesus to forgive me for not listening sooner and have decided that unless I hear the author has undergone a major transformation in his beliefs, I will not read the last book when it comes out.

It is possible that the first two novels would be more objectionable to me if I read them today, as I am sure that I have grown spiritually over the past few years since reading them. But I am certain that this third book made a definite and intentional swipe against the Christian worldview, no doubt reflecting the author's own personal walk down a broad, wide path leading to destruction.


Anonymous said...

Hey, thank you so much for writing this book review. I read the first two Inheritance books and I have been wondering whether or not I should read Brisingr. There were a few things in Eldest that bugged me, and I had this nagging suspicion that book 3 would be worse. You have confirmed that for me. I have been having the hardest time finding honest Christian book reviews of Brisingr, and I am so glad that I found your review. Thank you for writing it!!!

~Cherise, age 14

Anonymous said...

My dd read the first two books in this series, but decided on her own that she did not want to read the 3rd. I have never read any of them, so I am pleased to read the review and see that she made a wise decision on her own.

Karla Cook @ Roads to Everywhere said...

How disappointing! Don't you just hate that?

I have presented you with a blog award at Another Road to Ramble. Stop by any time to pick it up!

lauralavon said...

I haven't read the books, but just wanted to say, I appreciate the careful, thoughtful way you live your life. I do sense a kindred spirit! Blessings!

Unknown said...

I am so glad you wrote about this book! I have read the other two and was REALLY looking forward to the next one - and now I know I am not going to be purchasing it! Thank you so much for your thoughts about this! I appreciate it! Have a beautiful day!

Shawnee said...

Farrah, I enjoyed reading your book review. I was interested in reading these books but after your review have decided not to. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with all of us!


Marcus said...

I am grateful for your objective and honest review. We need to guard what we are feeding our minds.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone out there read InkDeath? If so, what was your opinion on it? My 15 year old son would like to read it and I had heard someone use the discription "bloody mutilation" so you can imagine my thoughts on that.

Farrah said...

I wish I could help you out! I have heard of InkDeath but not read it and know very little about it. Hope you can find some good info!

Unknown said...

I completely agree with your review, and after reading the first chapter and a half, I had suspicions. I did not read all the gory detail of the Ra'zac cult (disgusting). I have five children 16 down to 8 years of age. That night my 14 year old son had a nightmare! And sitting in our Sunday evening church service the next day, I had pretty much decided not to read further. Then I read your review--I completely agree.

I found the second book objectionable when Eragon was told matter-of-factly by the Elves that there is no true religion, but reason itself. Since the Elves are believable characters in the story, and listening to the approving narrative voice, I became very suspicious and disappointed in the author.

So, I would not recommend even starting the series.

BTW, I hold two masters degrees, and a Ph.D. in Biblical studies, and come at this with a critical eye.

Farrah said...

Mr. Long,

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Though I am not currently blogging, I am glad if my review is able to occasionally help Christians make an informed decision about this book. Comments such as yours are encouraging. May the Lord bless you in your efforts to bring good literature to your children. It's not an easy undertaking! I often read fantasy series to our son aloud when in doubt. We've also returned a few books to the library after the first chapter or two!

Kind regards,