Man, it sucks being sick. I've had some form of cold/flu that has been running around my school like a rumor for the past week.
A student recently got me to read the book Eragon. Now, I like fantasy as much as the next math teacher (which is surprisingly a lot), and I enjoyed the Harry Potter series, so I read Eragon. It was a decent book, a little simple, but likable nonetheless. Then I saw the movie and I was definitely "meh" about the whole thing.
Two weeks ago the same student then asked me to read the sequel, Eldest. I decided to read it, as much to find a point of commonality with the student as anything else.
By the stars, that was a good book! Much better than Eragon. And while I suspected that the author, Paolini was trying to make some sort of secular statement in the first book, it was a blatant underlying message in Eldest.
Yes, there is plenty of magic and dragons and elves and dwarves, but Paolini's main character, Eragon, finds himself quite skeptical of all legends and religious practices. One of his tutors goes so far as to basically give an atheist worldview for Eragon's education. It was a quite remarkable move.
Nobody really seems to have noticed this yet, as only two books in the series have come out, but if they plan on making a movie out of Eldest, it will be interesting to see how they handle that.