TeenLit Book Reviews

January 2005


Christopher Paolini

Rating: 2 Eragon takes place in the medieval times in a fantasy land called Alagaesia. The story begins when Eragon, a fifteen-year-old farm boy, finds a beautiful blue stone. After shopkeepers refuse to take the stone instead of money, he sets it aside, and the rock hatches into a dragon. Though he keeps the dragon a secret, its presence is known by Ra'zac soldiers, who believe that Eragon and his dragon could fulfill a prophecy that would bring Alagaesia peace and destroy the Ra'zac forever. In a surprise attack, the Ra'zac manage to kill Eragon's uncle; thus Eragon goes out to find the soldiers and get his revenge. With the local storyteller and his dragon along, he travels through Alagaesia, with the fate of the Empire in his hands. When I picked up Eragon, I was expecting something great. All my friends had told me that they couldn't put the book down, it was just that brilliant. Unfortunately, I could not see what was so great about this book. The whole fantasy world was just too foreign for me to be able to easily relate to it. In addition, I felt the book dragged a bit much, and lacked enough buildup and direction, though it wasn't outright boring. However, if you really liked Lord of the Rings (the book), I am sure that you will fall in love with Eragon. I obviously don't hold the majority opinion, so give this book a chance if you're a fantasy fan. Kelly Palto Alto, CA
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Stephanie Spinner

Rating: 3 (1-4, 4 being the best) This book is appropriate for students in middle school. The vocabulary used in this book is not difficult and the storyline is easy to understand. Although this book is on a topic involving mythology, you don’t have to have an interest in ancient history to enjoy the story. Quiver is set in Ancient Greece around the year 200 B.C.E. Atalanta, the abandoned princess of Arcadia, has advanced warrior skills. She can shoot a bow better than Jason, the leader of the Argonauts. She can run faster than any mortal. How does all this good fortune come to Atalanta? The Greek goddess, Artemis, goddess of the hunt, wild animals, the moon, and pregnant women, gave Atalanta these skills. Meleager is the prince of Calydon and the leader the Great Hunt of Calydon. He is one of Atalanta’s only true friends. Castor is Atalanta’s mentor, and he is also a very skilled hunter. The final minor character is King Iasis, father of Atalanta. He abandoned her in the forest where she was raised by a bear. The story starts off during the hunt at Calydon. The giant boar is still loose, but Atalanta is close on its trail. Atalanta hits the boar with one of her arrows and lets Meleager kill it. Meleager gives the boar to Atalanta as a trophy, which causes havoc in the hunting party and ultimately leads to the death of three people, including Meleager. Upon the death of her closest friend, Atalanta returns home to her village in Arcadia. There she receives news that she is the daughter of King Iasus, and is escorted to the palace. Her father turns out to be a drunk. He is also very sickly and is going to die in the next couple of weeks, and he needs a male heir. He orders Atalanta to marry and provide him with an heir. This is all well, except for the fact athat Atalanta promised Artemis that she would never marry. I like this story- it is full of surprises. The author does a good job of telling a story in very few words, but it leaves the reader with many questions unanswered about the minor characters. Their stories aren’t as important as Atalanta’s, but I need more detail to understand what makes them act the way they do. The author also thought that having the gods conversing among themselves at the end of every chapter would add something to the story, but in my opinion it didn’t. Overall this book is still worth reading. By, Joseph Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
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