New Books For December I Oxford Open Learning

    New books

    New Books For December

    New Books recommended last month were in the Science Fiction genre. This time around, it’s fantasy. Firstly, for the reluctant reader, it’s the brilliant—and still ongoing—Beast Quest series, and for those looking to challenge themselves: Eragon; a deep and epic tale in a world rich with detail and lore.

    Beast Quest

    Beast Quest is a popular fantasy book series written by Adam Blade, the pen name for a collective group of authors. The series, aimed at young readers, follows the adventures of Tom, a brave young hero, and his loyal companion Elenna, as they embark on a quest to save the mythical land of Avantia from an ancient curse.

    The story begins with Tom receiving a magical quest from the good wizard Aduro. In order to break the curse that has been cast upon the land, Tom must travel across Avantia and defeat a series of powerful and malevolent Beasts. These creatures, once noble protectors of the realm, have been corrupted by the evil wizard Malvel and now pose a great threat to the kingdom.

    Each book in the series focuses on Tom and Elenna facing a different Beast, showcasing unique abilities and characteristics. To succeed, Tom must use his courage, intelligence, and the magical weapons he acquires along the way. The dynamic duo encounter various challenges, tests of friendship, and moral dilemmas throughout their quest. The series not only provides a thrilling adventure filled with action and suspense but also incorporates themes of bravery, friendship, and the triumph of good over evil. With over a hundred and fifty books in the series, Beast Quest has captivated readers around the world, becoming a staple in children’s literature. But how?

    The language used in the series is tailored to be accessible to young readers, removing the challenge vocabulary can be for some readers. The books are often of moderate length, with chapters that are well-segmented. This helps to prevent reader fatigue and makes it easier for young readers to digest the content. Not only that, but these stories are non-stop action and adventure, so those pages will keep turning!

    The Beast Quest series is a great option for readers who aren’t the most confident. The language isn’t too taxing, they’re short and most importantly, they’re fun. A box set of new books could make a great stocking filler this Christmas (Though all 150+ might be a bit of a tight squeeze).


    Eragon, by Christopher Paolini, is an exciting fantasy story perfect for readers looking for something a little more challenging. Paolini wrote this tale during his teenage years, creating a story that speaks to the imagination of older teens with its captivating storytelling and well-crafted fantasy world. It’s not short either, weighing in at a hefty 500 pages, so it will keep you going for a while.

    Eragon, a simple farm boy, discovers a magical dragon egg in the untamed Spine mountains, launching him into a world of magic, destiny, and ancient prophecies. His transformation from a regular farmhand to a Dragon Rider on a mission to save his homeland unfolds as a classic hero’s journey, skilfully told by Paolini.

    The appeal of Eragon lies in its vivid world-building in Alagaësia, a realm filled with diverse wonders. From the expansive plains of Palancar Valley to the awe-inspiring city of Tronjheim nestled in the Beor Mountains, readers are immersed in an enchanting world full of danger. Magical elements, like the ancient language of the elves and the intricacies of dragon riding, add layers to the story, sparking the imagination of young readers eager for fantastical adventures. Paolini takes his time to add plenty of depth to his world, and the story is a much slower one as a result and more comparable to fantasy geared at adults.

    Moreover, Eragon stands out for its mature themes and intricate plot, delving into political intrigue, ancient conspiracies, and the ongoing battle between good and evil. The narrative bravely explores complex issues like power, responsibility, and the consequences of choices, providing opportunities for young readers to reflect and think critically. There’s plenty to read in between the lines, here.

    Eragon strikes a good balance between being easy to understand and thought-provoking. Paolini’s language is stimulating without being overwhelming, expanding vocabulary and offering a captivating plot that keeps readers engaged.

    It’s a great option for any reader looking for something more challenging and complicated, offering strong character development, an immersive fantasy world, mature themes, and an overall sense of wonder. As the first book in the “Inheritance Cycle,” it sets the stage for an exciting fantasy series, making it a highly recommended read for young minds ready to explore magical worlds with dragons and heroism.

    I would steer clear of the film adaption though. Not even Jeremy Irons could save that one.

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