Though not likely to lure in any new fans, Paolini’s readers will likely enjoy revisiting the characters and world.

THE FORK, THE WITCH, AND THE WORM

TALES FROM ALAGAËSIA

From the Tales from Alagaësia series , Vol. 1

Paolini (Inheritance, 2011, etc.) revisits Eragon and Alagaësia with three stories.

Busy with the endless tasks involved in setting up the Academy and Dragon Riders’ home at the base of Mount Arngor, Eragon suffers from terrible burnout and seeks diversion. Eragon functions as a framing device, and the three stories in this small (for Paolini) volume provide him relief. In the first story, the dragon minds of the Eldunarí show Eragon a vision to give him perspective. That vision is of young Essie, coerced into bullying by a bully and wishing to run away to avoid the fallout; she sees things in a new light after an encounter with a mysterious traveler. In the second story, Angela the herbalist shows up, with accidentally cursed Elva in tow, presenting Eragon with some out-of-order chapters of the autobiography she’s working on (the book in a book penned by Paolini’s sister and the character’s inspiration, Angela). The final, longest, and most complete tale is told by an Urgal, about Ilgra’s quest for vengeance against a cruel dragon that terrorized her people. The first story drops hints for more stories (and more volumes); the second gives readers additional glimpses of characters likely to intrigue fans; and the third stands alone and carries the most thematic weight. Human characters seem to default to white.

Though not likely to lure in any new fans, Paolini’s readers will likely enjoy revisiting the characters and world. (pronunciation guide) (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984894-86-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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