Paolini, C. (2003). Eragon. New York: A.E. Knopf
Intended audience: Tweens through mid-teens
From an adult perspective, it is a paint-by-numbers fantasy title. The protagonist is more than a little self-centered, even for a YA book, but there’s nothing to distinguish it from dozens of other titles, from Terry Brooks’ Shannara series to Rick Riordan’s Greek gods series to … well, you name it. There’s not really anything to separate it from pulp fiction published under the Dungeons & Dragons banner. It’s a quest / coming of age book set in a fantasy world with elves, dwarves and dragons. There are no moments of brilliance to elevate it to the level of a classic (moving between worlds via a wardrobe, for instance, or the dragon hatching scene as written by George R.R. Martin). It’s written by a teen, for teens.
So cool beans / awesome / yay as a read for a precocious 10 year-old. I’ll pass on the rest of the series, thanks.
Author facts: Christopher Paolini was 15 when he wrote the first draft of Eragon. He was homeschooled and his family helped get the book self-published. Carl Hiaasen was introduced to the self-published version of the book by his stepson, and then passed it on to his publisher, Knopf.
Related website: http://www.paolini.net