Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
December 26, 2008; Viking Children's Books


Summary

Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragon-eye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. After a dazzling sword ceremony, Eon's affinity with the twelve dragons catapults him into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where he makes a powerful enemy, Lord Ido. As tension builds and Eon's desperate lie comes to light, readers won't be able to stop turning the pages...(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

As someone who is fascinated by Asian culture, history, and myths, Eon was a fabulous read. It draws upon Chinese and Japanese legends to create a fantasy world. It was so realistic that I often thought of it as historical fiction, forgetting that dragons and dragoneyes aren't real.

Eon is a 12 year old boy who has been training for the past few years to become a dragon eye, one of twelve men who connect and control the energy of the spirit dragons. Eon is unusual in that he can see all of the dragons. Usually trainees struggle to see anything. But Eon lags behind the other boys in fighting skill, because he is lame. That is enough of a handicap, but what only Eon's master knows is the Eon is really Eona, a 16 year old girl. It is unheard of for a girl to be a dragoneye and would be considered a crime punishable by death.

Eon is action packed. Alison (awesome name by the way - and even spelled right!) does a fabulous job pacing the book so that it flows perfectly. Big, surprising action scenes are interspersed throughout the novel. The action scenes aren't just thrown in there - they all move the plot along. In between the action, the book sets up a complex world of court politics where the line between friends and enemies sometimes is very clear and sometimes is not at all clear. The prose is complex and somewhat wordy, but there were only a few times where I felt things started to drag. Mostly the plot carries the detailed writing well.

Eona was a great character. Brave and determined yet also frightened and unsure. She had to learn to rely upon herself over the course of the book. The side characters were also fabulous. I loved Lady Dela, a lady's maid who is actually a man. She was wonderful at introducing Eona into the court world and also at protecting her despite the costs. Eona's Master was also an intriguing character. He came off as cruel and insensitive at first, but I felt I understood him better as the book went on.

Much of this book is about exploring what it means to be female versus male. Specifically whether being female is a good or bad thing - relevant in Asian traditions where females are devalued. Much of the book's themes and conclusions were predictable. Eona wasn't too bright for almost the entire book. It's my greatest criticism of the book and kept me from loving it as much as many others. However, the path it traveled to get toward the expected ending was not at all predicable. The story ends at a shocking point and sends the reader running to grab the sequel.

If you are at all interested in Asian culture, you must read Eon. If you like fantasy, you must read Eon. If you love Asian food, you must read Eon.

Rating: 4 / 5

15 comments :

  1. I definitely need to read these books sometime soon. I love asian culture and dragons, and the female vs. male dilemma sounds intriguing. I don't know how much it will annoy me if the main character is "not too bright" as you say, though! Great review, Alison!

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  2. I like the idea of a girl masquerading as a boy to become an apprentice. I wonder if being "not too bright" was done deliberately to differentiate Eona from her portrayal of Eon. Just a guess.

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  3. This is the second glowing review I've read of this book in the last two days. It looks like something I'd enjoy. I'll give it a whirl! Thanks for the review!

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  4. Your review means it was fate for me to go to the library yesterday, because I borrowed EON! :D I hope I like it, I'm majoring in Korean, so all the Asian references make me happy.

    Thanks for the review!

    Agnieszka @ Nook of Books

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  5. Omg I've had this one on my wishlist for like a year it sounds so good I almost forgot about it. Shame on me! Haha. Love the review though you really remind me why I wanted to read it in the first place! <3

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  6. Ok I feel really stupid right now. I had absolutely no idea that the Eon books were based off of Asian culture. I don't know how I missed that- maybe with a strong focus on the dragon fantasy? After reading your review, I'm putting it on my tbr pile. Thanks!

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  7. Clearly you need to have book 2 on hand when you finish this one, that ending sounds intense! I've heard good things about this series, and I think the Asian culture aspect would be extremely fascinating. Really wonderful review Alison!

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  8. I've heard a ton of good things about this series, and you just make me want to read it more. I had no idea it had anything to do with Asian culture though!

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  9. I hadn't heard of this book before, but it must be pretty good if you were able to like the character even if she wasn't too bright. Gives me hope that if we ever met in RL, you'd like me too! ;)

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  10. I've heard a ton of good things about this series and i hope 2 read it soon
    rad review

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  11. I need to read this series! I have heard lots of good things about it. Nice review!

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  12. So realistic it came off as histfic? Sold. That sounds amazing! It's strange that this one has passed under my radar for so long because it sounds right up my alley! I love Asian food.

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  13. I didn't know this book blended Asian cultures into it. That is awesome! I must read this book. Your review convinces me that I should because I pass all 3 of your criteria at the end. How cool is it that Eon is really a 16-year-old girl....

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  14. I've wanted to read this one for SO long! I'm happy to hear its great and now I need to work on getting my hands on it. Must. Read!

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  15. I really loved Eon-though a massive book, I flew through it, caught up in everything that was happening and especially enjoying its treatment of gender.

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