The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm
Author: Christopher Paolini
Details: £7.79, hardback, 320pp
Paolini’s latest novel starts with a tired, overworked Eragon being chastised by Saphira, his dragon, for not taking time to enjoy himself and have fun any more. She pushes him to leave the papers on his desk behind and go out and lose himself in the company and stories of others. I felt a strange likeness with Eragon in that first chapter and, as I read on, I found Paolini’s The Fork, the Witch and the Worm the perfect escapism from the papers on my own desk.
The novel itself contains three short stories from around the magical lands of Alagaësia. I found each one captivating with a moral for young people and adults alike to take away – never judge a book by its cover, give people a second chance, fight for what you believe in, stand together with the people who need you most.
I enjoyed Paolini’s vivid description of Eragon’s new dragonhold, where different races and cultures have come together as a new generation of Dragon Riders. Despite the obvious cultural clashes at times and almost inevitable misunderstandings, the dragonhold – named "Hope" in the ancient language – was a perfect example of how we must overcome the sometimes divisive nature of society to work towards creating a new, unified land full of hope for the future.
Annie Karatzenis is an English teacher at Ponteland High School, Northumberland
Pupil reviews: ‘Incredible characters with magical settings’
Each story within the novel has its own unique and captivating setting as Paolini creates a magical, fantastical world. As the reader journeys from one place to another with each new plot, I felt I could lose myself in the made-up places and feel as though I was there with the characters.
My personal favourite setting and story from the book was the second short story, The Worm, because of the interesting storyline which showed that anyone can fulfil their ambitions if they want to. I also loved the fact it was set in the mountains and a small village, as this is a less common setting and really captured the magic of Alagaësia and beyond.
I would recommend this book for people aged 15 and over as I think it is quite challenging to stay on track with the different complicated names throughout.
Grace, aged 14
This book personally did not appeal to me as I love science fiction reads and found this to be too slow and too weird. I did enjoy the fight scenes and some elements but I still thought they were too long and too drawn out.
I did appreciate the formation of the book, though, and enjoyed the three shorter stories within the main one. This is very effective as it gives a small insight into how the different riders and Eragon have got on since the last book. However, as a main character Eragon is not mentioned enough in all three stories. After reading reviews about the original series, I found this follow-up quite disappointing.
Ollie, aged 14
Although the plot could be confusing at times as it jumped from story to story, the ideas were exciting and each new character was interesting.
I particularly enjoyed the plot of The Worm and I thought The Fork had incredible tension during the battle scene in the pub – it left me on the edge of my seat! I didn’t enjoy The Witch as much as I found it really confusing as the chronology jumped about and was difficult to follow. However, the confusing chronology of the story did reveal how the witch’s mind works and it did help us learn about the character: I really liked how the characters link in with the storylines of the short stories in this book and also the characters from Paolini’s previous novels.
I like the concept of this story and think it would be suitable for Year 9 and above because the plot was hard to follow at times.
Katie, aged 13
I enjoyed having new settings and characters three times in the book. However, to younger or more inexperienced readers, these sudden changes could be seen as confusing, especially with some vague areas at the start of each part.
Although the twists were compelling and interesting, at times they switched too quickly and I was left confused. This took away from the enjoyment of the magical land and characters and I would have liked more time to focus on each story in turn.
Naeve, aged 14
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