"A blazing, red-rimmed eye stared down at her, the pupil a black crevice large enough to walk through. The eye filled the sky; it dominated her existence, pinning her in place with palpable force. Then the dragon's mind enveloped her own..."
— Christopher Paolini, The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm
Already the local celebrity, Paolini was on the cusp of hitting the national stage, thanks to another young boy, the son of writer Carl Hiaasen, who had bought a copy to read during his own family's road trip to Yellowstone. Surprised by his son's sudden interest in reading, Hiassen passed it along to his editor at Random House. Fast forward through not one but four #1 New York Times bestsellers and a painfully long, seven-year hiatus, Paolini has returned, finally, to his teenage creation.
The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm is a dazzling constellation of short stories set in the magical world of Alagaësia. Rather than continue linearly from The Inheritance Cycle's ending, the stories sample from all four corners and cultures of the map, delving into Dwarf cave-ins, soaring into Urgal mountaintop myths, trekking the southern terrain via the series' most complex character, and even excerpting from the childhood adventures of our favorite witch. Returning to Alagaësia after so long and spending an afternoon wandering alongside both new and familiar characters made me feel like a kid again and woke in me a deep sense of gratitude for Mr. Paolini and all the real-life magic of that road trip with Dan to Montana. If this one isn't in the cards for you, maybe it's the perfect New Years kick-in-the-pants needed to finally revisit your own stack of childhood favorites. I'll be sure to do the same.
Wherever you land, happy reading and cheers to 2019! [JG]
At the age of fifteen, Christopher Paolini began a story about a farm boy who discovers a dragon egg. At nineteen, he became a #1 New York Times bestselling author with Eragon, and for the next ten years created a series that remains one of my all-time favorites. According to his website, in his spare time Christopher enjoys "sharpening knives, playing video games, lifting heavy things, and searching for the perfect leather-bound notebook." He's also an accomplished illustrator and shares a lot of his work on Instagram. Christopher lives in Paradise Valley, Montana.