Set in a world of many gods, each god has chosen one people/nation as his/her domain. There are knights, thieves, princesses, and wizards. It's freaking PARADISE for a fantasy-obsessed teen, like myself. The story centers around the conflict over the Orb of Aldur, a stone infused with a living soul created by the god Aldur, and coveted by the dark god Torak. Aldur's disciples try to keep it safe, but the only people who can touch the orb must be innocents. Garion's ancestors were some of those chosen to protect the Orb, so when it's stolen, the quest begins!
I say teen because I think the writing of these novels lends itself to that particular reading level, not because the plot or characters are of that quality. Garion is your average blacksmith's apprentice until he starts seeing this figure in black and his Aunt Polgara and grandfather Belgarath show up (both thousands-of-years-old sorcerers - NBD), whisking him away on an adventure of epic proportions. He is called upon to take up Aldur's orb and fight the dark god Torak, but he also falls in love along the way.
It also has an interesting magic system, based on willpower and language. When a sorcerer wants to accomplish a task, they will it to be so and use vocal commands to channel their energy. Very awesome power interactions come out of this idea, leading to surprising places.
In terms of originality, I'd say this is pretty good at avoiding cliches. It is about a young man's passage into adulthood, and there are some things that just come with the territory, but for what it is, I thought it had some very good stuff going for it that I haven't seen elsewhere.
The series reads a bit more like one book in five parts, rather like Lord of the Rings was meant to be one book, but then Tolkein was forced to divide it. That is why some complain that the first novel, Pawn of Prophecy, is not so good: because it is the first act of five.
I however, was completely taken in by Eddings' magical world, and so it will always have a special place on my bookshelf. It's not the highest fantasy out there, but it is definitely not the lowest. I found it thoroughly enjoyable.
I say Mr. and Mrs. Eddings because David now credits his wife Leigh with a lot of work. Every book published after a certain date has both their names on it. Which is awesome. Together they showed us this totally awesome world, and then created another one in the Elenium and Tamuli trilogies, then the Dreamers....
They've written a lot. And it's all very awesome. Looking for reading material? Also looking for a fantasy quest of epic proportions? Check this series out.