Author: Christopher Paolini
Title: The Fork, the Witch and the Worm
Publisher: Penguin Books
A wanderer and a cursed child. Spells and magic. And dragons, of course.
Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia. It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective. This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon’s own unfolding adventure.
Over ten years ago, I got given a fantasy series that, basically, changed my life. Reading Eragon made me fall in love with the genre, and opened new doors for me. I re-read whenever I need to indulge in fantasy, whenever I want some inspiration for my novel, or just when I want the characters that have made me laugh and cry many times over the subsequent years.
Needless to say, I hit buy pretty quick when I heard The Fork, The Witch and The Worm had been released.
The first thing to say about this book is that it won’t take very long. I read the entire thing on my commute, with a little lunch time reading and half an hour at home thrown in. But I kind of loved that; it was a snapshot back into the world. The book is divided into three stories, with interludes featuring our favourite dragon rider as he too hears about new adventures and old friends.
I loved there were parts from Eragon’s perspective – I didn’t realise there would be. Not only did it bring the stories together, it was honestly just nice to see the way he has grown since the ending of the books and the challenges he now tackles. Who would have guessed that innocent farm-boy would be struggling with balancing a work-load of trying to run a small community?
One day the dragons would no longer consider him an unseasoned whelp, but today was not that day.The Fork, the Witch and the Worm, Christopher Paolini, pg 77-78
To be fair, being re-introduced to him trying to balance everything really resonated with me. Apparently the solution is a dragon though – anyone know where I can get one of those?
Out of the three stories, The Fork was my favourite, although this is probably because I am biased towards the characters involved: Murtagh was always a favourite. Just as Eragon has adapted to a new life, he, too, is coming to terms with a new reality and what it means for him.
The Witch is a snap-shot into Angelina’s life. It still doesn’t give away any of her secrets, only not to mess with her. She is a match even for Elva, and shows that despite being a book of short stories, characters have space for growth and development.
The Worm is the answer to the cover-question: who is the dragon? (Nope, not telling, go and read it!). Despite being the longest of the short-stories (that felt an ironic sentence to write!), it wasn’t my favourite. The characters were good and the story was engaging, but because it was a new character, it didn’t have that buzz of returning to an old, known character.
All three stories were enjoyable. The book, while short, managed to make me laugh, showed some more serious moments and presented the challenges they now face in a relatable way: life isn’t easy despite there not being a bad guy.