Eragon by Christopher Paolini (0-375-82668-8)
I just finished this and wowza what a book! The first in a trilogy, this epic tale is filled with elves, dwarves, dragons, an evil ruler, people who are not what they seem, and peril at every turn. Though it represents a return to classic fantasy, there is something wonderfully clean about the writing that draws the reader in immediately. The 500 pages melted away and I was saddened when I turned the last page and had to leave the detailed world behind.
Recommend this to any older child or teen who can handle the length and the vivid battle scenes. Boys will enjoy this book, and girls will be impressed by the handful of strong female characters who are pivotal to the plot.
A winner the whole way through! Now just to wait for the next book in the trilogy to be released.