I've never read McCaffery, but Star Wars was derivative too...so much so most early critics thought it was a deliberate homage piece. Almost everyone commented on how it reminded them of earlier films (many scenes almost lifted out directly and transplanted...the Greedo scene from Fistful of Dollars -a film which itself was plagiarized - and the scene with the burnt homestead from the Searchers - also in Paolini - for example). They were, by and large, not intentional winks...that was how Lucas constructed his story. He borrowed a bit from here and there and deftly stitched it together.
Paolini is still a thief in my eyes, but guilty only by degree. He did what plenty of storytellers do, and are (rightly) never shamed for. The only difference was nabbing too much from one source (Star Wars). Even Terry Brooks never stole from The Lord of the Rings to that degree. He steals freely elsewhere in his work, but from so many places it basically becomes its own unique story, like Star Wars did. Not an outstanding one, but a good one. I will say that scene where Brom cuts the bridgeman's purse is out-and-out plagiarism, not just a ripoff like the Star Wars derrivation, since it's the exact same situation with only little tweaks in dialogue.
It has said to be that this book angerd fans of Mcafry to the limit because of it similer fetures of dragonriders and telpathic connection of the the rider and their dragons. Did you hate this book? Or did you see it as an acplistiment for a young boy who started writing at 15 and published it by 17.?
I am reading this book at present & I can see the similarity with Anne McCaffrey's Dragon books. But it isn't bothering me. It's a totally different type of book & yes, for a person of that age it's an amazing book.
I saw the film Eragon first, but had, until now, never read the books before. I also have Eldest in the same volume.