Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Eona by Alison Goodman


Author: Alison Goodman
Release: April 19th 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Dragons, YA
#2 in the Eon duology
Prequel: Eon (#1)


Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon's army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona's power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled "Emperor" Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power - and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans. . . .

Eona, with its pulse-pounding drama and romance, its unforgettable fight scenes, and its surprises, is the conclusion to an epic story only Alison Goodman can create..


I'm still not sure what to think. But let's lay it all out in a review, maybe then I'll know what my thoughts are on this book.

First up, did my expectations and hopes become true? No, no they didn't. There still weren't lots of epic battles and sword fighting, some, yes, but not a lot of it. At least not on Eona's part.
However, there was still lots of action, more so than in the last novel, which was one of my complaints back then. This sequel was extremely fast-paced and thrilling, making me turn page after page way past my bedtime, telling myself "One more chapter. Just one."

In terms of character development, well ... I did grow fonder of Eona. I think that her struggle between thirst for power, duty and personal feelings was very raw and real, which truly made my heart ache for her. I'm a fan of making characters not always the most likable, and sometimes along the lines I was truly appalled by her actions. Which was very good, at least I thought so. So, enormously well done character development for her. Also for Ido, if I do say so myself. He was believable yet still disgusting and at the same time also quite charming. On the one side, I can minimally understand Eona on how she felt about him during the course of the book, but mostly, I still didn't hugely like him.

The other, more secondary characters didn't really get any development anymore. Ryko does in a way, yes, but he's mostly overlooked as well and only has two sides to show: either anger at Eona for doing, erm, something which, in his eyes, is wrong, or having a small moment of faith and forgiveness in between for her. No, wait, there's a third option: pity for himself. Yeah. He could actually be annoying sometimes, playing the victim and/or the saint. Aside from him and possibly Yuso at the end, there's not much in store for other characters. Maybe Vida, yes, but very minor and only in relation to Eona as well. Her only character development consists of her slowly starting to thaw towards Eona and forgive her for something that happened early on in the book. Not much else. I was also kind of disappointed that these are all relationships that are pushed mainly to the sidelines in favor of other things, mainly the key love triangle. Yeah, Ryko and Eona's deteriorating friendship was also in the spotlight, but like I said, it was actually kind of annoying after a while, because it was always the same. I would have rather seen how Vida and Eona's relationship played out, or Eona and Dela's friendship, which we didn't see that much of anymore, or hell, what about Eona and her mother? There's so little on them, I am beginning to question why her mother was brought into the picture in the first place. It didn't help further along the storyline, didn't have that much impact on Eona's character arc...

And then lastly, there's Kygo. Well. He was a constant inconsistency throughout the book. He, too, was not always likable, but I think Goodman made a few wrong calculations along the way. Because unlike Eona, his mood swings and sudden demeanor changes just felt like he was bipolar or something and had some kind of serious problem, needless to say, I was not his biggest fan. I still kind of liked the guy (most times, at least), why though is beyond me. I think he really redeemed himself towards the end, that's why.

Finally, my main point of criticism: that damned love triangle, or whatever you want to call it because I'm almost doubting that's what it is. Goodman has created not only one, but two abusive relationships here. Kind of astounding, really. Kygo's bipolarity driving him to both treat Eona as his equal one moment, and the next publicly questioning her loyalty, her emotions and basically physically manipulating her as well as just ... not treating her as his equal. Apparently, His Majesty couldn't make up his own mind, pushing Eona away sometimes, if he felt like it, because she was just a woman and should respect him more, and other times telling her she was his other half and similar romantic nonsense. Ridiculous. 
Just as toxic, actually, even more toxic was her "relationship" with Ido. It's illustrated as being the "better fit", since Ido can understand all of her Dragoneye-ness and teach her everything, but honestly, I was baffled when it first became apparent he was going to be the second love interest. No way. No fucking way. But yeah, Goodman totally went there, and to be honest, while their attraction did appeal to me for one second, that was all. Before and after that second, I was not at all impressed with their flirtation. How can you make Lord Ido, who is a traitor to the nation, murdered all of the other ten Dragoneyes, poisoned Eona's former master whom she more or less cared for and looked up to, who physically as well as mentally abused her, an actual love interest?! No. That's all I can say about it: No.

Ultimately, I immensely enjoyed this book, far more than I did the first installment and really was leagues better. The ending was a little abrupt and I would have liked to have an epilogue, but I thought it was a fitting ending. Not too happy and sunshine-y, but also leaving us with enough hope towards the future of that fantasy world I have come to admire while reading, knowing it's all going to be alright in the end. All in all: satisfying, basically. I really enjoyed this duology, although I'll have to say I did expect a little more. Whatever. It's still two very good books.

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