I’ve just finished reading the first volume in a fantasy epic trilogy written by a 15-year-old. Goddamnit.

Not that I’m entirely envious; much as there’s a part of me that wants to be a world-class writer, there’s a lot to be said for living a bit more than Mr Paolini (for such is the young prodigy’s name) before I start transforming my experiences, friends, families and relationships into fictional alternates. Or even making new ones up for myself.

Eragon (pronounced, oddly enough, exactly as you’d pronounce ‘Aragorn’, and even less surprisingly, is ‘Dragon’ spelt with an ‘E’) is a deeply conventional book. There’s everything impressive about the fact that its been written by a kid, but there’s a reason that most decent fantasy writers have accrued a few more years; it gives them time to acquire original ideas. Chris Paolini’s book is an entirely unsurprising, frequently too ‘on the nose’, adventure of a young boy who realises he has powers beyond his wildest dreams, and a young dragon to care for, as he strives to revive the legacy of the ‘Dragon Riders’ and rid the kingdom of its oppressive and cruel ruler.

That said, I enjoyed it: Paolini writes well and has a good turn of phrase, for the most part. He’s got some problems with -logue – dialogue and internal monologues – which run improbable courses – but the book’s good light entertainment, and the story, hackneyed in places though it may be, is compelling enough. Anyone who’s interested should click here and buy it.