Author: Alison Goodman
Release: August 1st 2008
Genre: Fantasy, Dragons, YA
#1 in the Eon duology
Sequel: Eona (#2)
Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic,, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. 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 boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. 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.
Sigh, why do I keep being disappointed in all these "dragon" novels? This was another Seraphina case, where I expected something really cool with dragon battles and slaying and epic sword fighting stuff like that, but all I got was court intrigue and political power plays.
However, unlike Seraphina, there was something that kept nagging at me throughout the second half of the novel, starting at approximately page 300. And that was, quite frankly, the main character's pure, complete and utter idiocy. That "plot twist", and I am calling it that VERY lightly, was something I had already seen through somewhere around page 170. And on page, I don't know, 400 I think, it was pulled out like the big reveal which it really was not. At all. And in the meantime, Eona made so many mistakes and moronic decisions, I couldn't help but be annoyed with her. You know that deep, raging frustration when you know what the solution is, and the character just does the complete opposite? Yeah, it was that kind of annoying.
Although, I'll say that up until then, I had really, really enjoyed the novel. I liked its authentic atmosphere, I mean I'm not a Chinese culture expert, but it felt authentic at least, very Mulan-y, and I really appreciated the change of setting. In turn, there wasn't that much in terms of fantasy elements going on, I mean yeah sure the whole thing with the Dragoneyes, but concerning the world building, it seemed more like actual historical China than some fantasy world. Alas, as I said, I still liked it.
The other characters were pretty nicely done too, and I liked Eona's character development towards the end, and how Goodman didn't always make her out to be goodness incarnate. No, she could actually lash out and be bitchy sometimes, and I think that just made her much more realistic. There were lots of signs boldly announcing that Prince Kygo was going to be the love interest here, but I guess that is going to be explored more in the sequel because there wasn't much of that in this novel, and so I am also hoping that with the romance there will also be some more characterization as to his character. So far, he's not entirely likable, which I am not condemning (yet), because even unlikable characters can be good characters. But yeah, I want to know some more stuff about him, since so far, we barely know the guy.
My favorite was probably Lady Dela though, man, she was kickass.
The plot? Yeah well, like I said, not exactly what I imagined when I picked this one up, but ... it was alright, I guess. The last 100 pages were really fast paced and action-packed, so I still have hope that the sequel will fulfill my dreams, but this novel was already quite enjoyable, too, aside from a few irritating things. I will start Eona now in the hopes of it getting better.