Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eragon's Guide to Alagaesia

Eragon's Guide to AlagaesiaEragon's Guide to Alagaesia  by Christopher Paolini, illustrated by Fred Gambino, Larry McDougal, Ian Miller & David Wyatt.  Knopf, 2009. (review copy from publisher)

Teacher's  kids are a poorly served, school population.  Especially, if they are unfortunate enough to attend the same campus where their parental unit works. These poor children, are trapped, trapped likes rats in a maze, on campus while their hard working educator parent strives to wind up the loose ends of the day, prepares for the morrow, attends meetings...and the list goes on.  

Eragon (Inheritance)Alas, these children must resign themselves to doing homework, sleeping, reading or otherwise entertaining themselves until their mother packs up for the day and heads home. One way of coping is to go "visit" other teachers which is how I first heard about Eragon.  One of my students would come by, regularly, to urge me to read this wonderful new book her family had purchased, from the author himself, at a local bookstore.  "It's Eragon," she said. "Aragorn?" I would answer.  "Nooooo, ERAGON!" 

She was one of the readers who found the book when Paolini was still self-publishing it.  Oh, how she LOVED this book. Once I discerned the difference between Aragorn and Eragon, I read the it. I had to push my eyeballs across the page for the first quarter of the book but was able to finish it and could see its appeal though I prefer The Professor myself.  

Brisingr (Inheritance)Eldest (Inheritance)Paolini drew on every fantasy novel he had ever read to write the series. He was just a kid when he wrote Eragon.  It is hardcover fanfiction, essentially.

What has been interesting to me is the following the series  has continued to enjoy. I've had students tell me, earnestly, that Eldest is their favorite.  I personally do not know anyone who actually read Brisingr

Eragon's Guide to Analgaesia is designed in the style of the "Ologies" books (like Pirateology, Dragonology, Wizardology) with maps, fold-outs, mini books, flaps etc. Dragons, weapons, landscapes, abodes and creatures are all rendered as encyclopedic illustrations. 

Illustrators, Gambino et al are no Alan Lee/John Howe, but their fantasy illustrations are lush and detailed. The book had a textured iridescent blue cover that recalls Saphira, the dragon from the first book.  So, are they implying the book is bound in dragon skin?? Yikes!  (I think "my" Dragon just fainted.)
I sent my young friend, who is now in graduate school,  my copy of this book.   She has a new apartment and a new coffee table that needs a coffee table book.  I told her that this book will be no match for the images in HER imagination or HER memories of reading and loving this book but it might be a fun souvenir of that time. 


8 comments:

Juliene said...

ALAgaesia, please :) Unless you are writing homoerotic fanfic...

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

You know.....I saw the images in this post and thought.....really? Then I read the post and understood. I read Eragon, thought it was a good story, if not a bit, umm, borrowed in places. When Eldest came out I read it. Again, I enjoyed the story but thought parts were too long-winded. I was very anxious to know what happened and awaited Brisingr.......and waited.....and waited.....and I still haven't read it even though our library has owned it since it came out. I do know people who have read it, I just haven't made that step yet. I think I will wait until the 4th one is out maybe. We do (at the library) own the Guide to Alegaesia, and have looked at it. It is a pretty book. Not sure about the "dragon skin" look, but it is pretty. Please assure your Dragon that I am positive it is faux dragon skin.

Margaret said...

@Juliene, none of that nonsense, please. D:<

In other news, congratulations on spelling "fanfiction" correctly! Almost no one outside the sphere does that. :D

Camille said...

Thank you Juliene for your proof reading. Maybe I thought I was typing the "Annals of Alagaesia."

Luckymom22 said...

I saw Brisingr laying around here for awhile and I just confirmed with Liana that she read it. However, she says "I don't remember what happened, though".

Camille said...

@LMom22 Thank you Miss Liana. Too funny.

Ms. Yingling said...

My son just read these at the urging of a friend and thought they were heavily influenced by Star Wars as well. Not my favorite, but I have had students read Brisingr.

Becca said...

And your young friend does love her new coffee table book. Thank you so much. It's not exactly what I imagined but it certainly is close.