Christopher’s Book Recommendations: Realms, The Peculiar, The Dragons of Ordinary Farm, and Spectrum

Christopher loves to read and, when he gets the opportunity, blurb some of his favorite finds. Sometimes he even writes a foreward or introduction! This month, we share four recommendations, along with his comments.

Realms – Tony DiTerlizzi


Realms The Roleplaying Art of Tony DiTerlizzi

New York Times bestselling creator Tony DiTerlizzi is known for his distinctive style depicting fantastical creatures, horrific monsters, and courageous heroes. His illustrations reshaped and defined the worlds of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Planescape, and Magic: The Gathering in the imaginations of legions of devoted roleplaying gamers during the 1990s, before he transitioned to mainstream success with The Spiderwick Chronicles and The Search for WondLa. Collected here for the first time, this book features never-before-seen artwork and photographs, in addition to showcasing DiTerlizzi’s most iconic roleplaying work with commentary by the artist. Introduction by Christopher Paolini (Eragon) and featuring appreciations by Guillermo del Toro, Brom, Jane Yolen, Holly Black, Zeb Cook, Jeff Easley, and Donato Giancola, among others!

“There’s a sense of fun to Tony’s art—a lightness of line and expression—that manifests itself regardless of subject material. Oh, he can do dark and creepy as well as anyone, but no matter how unsettling the image, I always feel as if he was grinning when he made it.

Plus, Tony draws and paints some of the best dragons around, which is a lot harder than you might think. His dragons have personality; you can easily imagine getting into a conversation with them (and I’m sure they’d have a lot to say).”

~ Christopher Paolini

The Peculiar – Stefan Bachmann


The Peculiar, Stefan Bachmann

The international bestseller and debut novel by teenage author and classical musician Stefan Bachmann is part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part clockwork adventure.

Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged. In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew and his little sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are Peculiars, and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them. But when Peculiars start showing up in London murdered and covered with red tattoos, Bartholomew breaks all the rules and gets himself noticed. Full of magic, dazzling inventions, and intriguing characters such as Mr. Jelliby and Lord Lickerish. The Peculiar ends with a spectacular cliff-hanger, and the story concludes in The Whatnot.

Stefan Bachmann can write. His prose is beautiful, and his story is swift, strong, and entertaining. That’s an accomplishment at any age, but especially at eighteen. I thoroughly enjoyed The Peculiar, and I can’t wait to see what Bachmann has in store for us next. He’s got a promising career ahead of him.”

~ Christopher Paolini

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm – Tad Williams & Deborah Beale


The Dragons of Ordinary Farm, Tad Williams & Deborah BealeTyler and Lucinda have to spend summer vacation with their ancient uncle Gideon, a farmer. They think they’re in for six weeks of cows, sheep, horses, and pigs. But when they arrive in deserted Standard Valley, California, they discover that Ordinary Farm is, well, no ordinary farm.

The bellowing in the barn comes not from a cow but from a dragon. The thundering herd in the valley? Unicorns. Uncle Gideon’s sprawling farmhouse never looks the same twice. Plus, there’s a flying monkey, a demon squirrel, and a barnload of unlikely farmhands with strange accents and even stranger powers.

At first, the whole place seems like a crazy adventure. But when darker secrets begin to surface and Uncle Gideon and his fabulous creatures are threatened, Lucinda and Tyler have to pull together to take action. Will two ordinary kids be able to save the dragons, the farm—and themselves?

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm is an exciting beginning to a new series. The plot is clever, the characters interesting and mysterious, and best of all it has dragons! I’ve long been a fan of Tad Williams, so I was delighted to learn that he and his wife, Deborah Beal, now have a book for young adults. I can hardly wait for their next page-turning adventure.

Tad Williams is a huge inspiration for me. He’s one of the main reasons I started writing fantasy. His books are epic, exciting, and filled with fascinating characters. When it comes to inventing imaginary worlds, he’s as skilled as J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert.”

~ Christopher Paolini

Spectrum – John Fleskes


spectrum 21, john fleskesThe best-selling Spectrum series offers twenty-one lavishly produced annuals. Challenging, controversial, educational, and irreverent, the award-winning Spectrum series reinforces both the importance and prevalence of fantastic art in today’s culture. With exceptional images by extraordinary creators, this elegant full-color collection showcases an international cadre of creators working in every style and medium, both traditional and digital. The best artists from the United States, Europe, China, Australia, South America and beyond have gathered into the only annual devoted exclusively to works of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the surreal, making Spectrum one of the year’s highly most anticipated books.

Its latest edition, SPECTRUM 21, includes over 300 diverse visionaries, many of them world-renowned, including Paul Bonner, Donato Giancola, James Gurney, Iain McCaig, Shaun Tan, Sam Weber, Allen Williams. With art from books, graphic novels, video games, films, galleries, advertising and the fine arts, Spectrum is both an electrifying art book for fans and an invaluable resource for clients looking for bright new talent. The entire field is discussed in an invaluable, found-nowhere-else Year In Review.

Spectrum is a compendium of wonders—a treasure-hoard of incalculable value. Over the years, these books have provided me with an enormous amount of inspiration: fantastical images that have suggested and enriched my stories. I can’t recommend Spectrum enough. Buy this book now and revel in the dreams within.”

~ Christopher Paolini

Mike Macauley

Mike Macauley is the founder of, editor in chief of, and author of The Inheritance Almanac. Mike can be found on Twitter at @mikemacauley.