I've been meaning to read Eragon for a while, because I was curious if it was any good. It seemed to be one of those books that, if you ask someone about it, you could get any number of opinions. I've heard it's great, and I've heard there's too much magic. In such cases (another example is Harry Potter), I like to read the book for myself.
I found Eragon to be very well-written, and I loved the characters. Christopher Paolini did an excellent job, in my humble opinion. The story wasn't rushed, which in turn meant the characters didn't seem shallow. I loved the story line as well. I liked seeing how Eragon changed throughout the story, and even with Saphira being a dragon (I'm not a fan of animal stories), she was likable.
Content-wise, I didn't have too many problems with Eragon. The communication between Eragon and Saphira is done through thought, since Saphira cannot speak as people do. In this context it actually didn't feel out-of-place, or odd. There was magic, of course, but it wasn't over-the-top weird, though the barriers in Saphira's mind and around his trying to use magic were unusual. The main thing that made me uneasy was the witch Angela and her werecat Solembum. Thankfully she was only mentioned in a chapter or so that I remember.
Eragon actually seemed to have a nice ending, and didn't leave anything *too* open, but I still wanted to find out what happened in Eldest. I began reading it as soon as I finished with Eragon.
I really liked how Eldest focused on Eragon's cousin Roran as well as continuing Eragon's story. However, Eldest has more issues content-wise.
In this book, Eragon is with the elves learning to use magic, and training as a Dragon Rider, in preparation for an inevitable battle with the King Galbatorix. His training bothered me in that he was pretty much told to be one with nature. The idea was to try to focus on the minds of all the animals around him, so he could learn to be aware of people around him and know their intentions, in order to avoid being attacked. There was something else about his training that bothered me, but I don't remember what it was. Regardless, I highly disliked the magic and the amount of it in Eldest. Angela also played a much larger part in the story.
There was also a child that Eragon blessed in the ancient tongue, but because of a mistake in grammar, the blessing had a different effect than he had intended. That whole thing was weird to me... the child apparently making herself older so she could talk; I don't remember what else, but I didn't like it.
Overall, I liked Roran's part of the story in Eldest, but I didn't care much for most of the rest. However, I did like the ending, and it makes me want to continue. There's an interesting plot twist, and I would love to see how that turns out.