Friday, May 13, 2011

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Eon (Eon #1)
The much-cooler paperback cover
Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye - an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. 

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured. When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic . . . and her life.

 First Look: ***** This book had such an awesome premise. The cover of my edition was just okay, nothing special. I like the other cover better, so I'll post both.

Setting: *****
It was an awesome mix of China, Japan, and Middle Earth.  I loved it, and I really, really want to live there.  The entire time, I felt completely immersed in the land's culture. Wonderfully described, and amazingly rich and beautiful. It was never over-described, but after reading it I felt like I had been there.

Characters: ***** 
With Eon(a) being the insignificant-nobody-turned-hero that she was, I thought she wouldn't be unique and would spend a lot of time feeling sorry for herself.  I was dead wrong.  Yes, she's crippled, but she never pitied herself, not once. That made me love her right away. I don't know how anyone can top her in the strong female character department; I mean, she's masquerading as a boy. And she pulls it off, while beating the boys at swordfighting while she's at it. Mostly, I just liked her for not moping around and actually using her head. The minor characters were all awesome, too. And the villain, Lord Ido, was nicely maniacal.

Plot: ***** 
This is plot done right. Lots of action, but placed in a way that it never wears out the reader. Slower parts never lost my attention, not once. And the magic aspect was just amazing all around. I have to admit, I was expecting more of actual physical dragons, but this is just as awesome. I held my breath the whole way through. None of it was predictable, and I never saw any of the twists (and yeah, there were a lot) coming. Did someone say epic?
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)
The cover I read it with, which is less cool

Uniqueness: *****
This is like no other epic fantasy I've ever read, and trust me, I've read quite a few.

Writing: ****
I liked her writing. I really did. She has such an...er, what word should I use? Her way of writing is subtle, yet packs a punch.  This was a book that could have easily spent fifty pages info-dumping, but never once did Goodman fall into that trap. I did find a typo, though.

Likes:
The whole concept.  I also like how the author examined how gender plays a part in society, both in how we see ourselves, and others.  I liked that aspect.  The dragons were cool.  And besides, I've always liked stories about girls masquerading as boys.  And now I look at those Chinese restaurant place-mat thingers in a whole new way.

Not-so-great:
Lady Dela's...er....manliness...was kind of creepy.  Then again, it fit into the whole gender role thing.  And I liked her/him as a character anyway.

Total Score: *****
I love this.  It's a wonderful combination of high fantasy and Asian mythology.  For once, I actually liked the main character, which is rare.  It was so intense and so many questions were raised that when I wasn't reading, it swirled around it my head and I couldn't wait to get back to it. It's full of twists and turns, and you'll race through it, despite its hefty size. It was so unique, and so completely epic. I have to get the sequel. Now. Even if you don't like high fantasy, this is still definitely worth a shot. Will this make my Top Ten list this year? Most likely.

Reviews of other Eon novels:
Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Eon #2)

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