In Eragon, you meet the title character, who finds a strange rock in the middle of The Spine (a forest in which many from the village are scared of). Being poor, he hopes that it will actually bring his family, which consists of his uncle and cousin, some money to buy food. Come to find out, it is actually a dragon egg, and the dragon inside has chosen Eragon to be his rider! The book tells of his journeys and lessons as well as his hardships as he rides to defeat the evil Empire.
Eldest is the second in the series and expands on the characters and plot quite extensively. Eragon and Saphira (the dragon) go to live with the elves, where they are both trained in the ancient ways, both rider and dragon alike. We also learn more about Roran, Eragon's cousin, and his own journeys and battles with the Empire. Many surprises are revealed in the book, with the most surprising (at least for me) concerning Murtagh. I was totally NOT expecting that, though conversations with friends made me feel that I was the ONLY one not expecting it!!
I can't wait for the third and final book in the trilogy, but I have yet to hear the release date. According to www.shurtugal.com, the best guess is Summer of 2008. Some interesting little facts, Book III will be an emerald green cover with a green dragon on the front. Who the dragon is or its rider, we don't know, but I can't wait to find out! Also, Paolini currently lives in Montana . . . the inspiration for Alagaesia. Why does this not surprise me? Montana is truly a beautiful place (and I swear I'm not biased)!!
Overall, this series is such a fun read! I would recommend them to everyone . . . even those not in to the fantasy genre (the category where I often place myself)! And, if you want to learn more about the books or the author, check out www.alagaesia.com.