Friday, 6 September 2013

Review - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Series: Eon #1
Published by Viking Juveline on Dec 26 2008
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 531
Rating: 4/5 stars

Swordplay, dragon magic--and a hero with a desperate secret
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.

I’ve been humming and hawing over this review for weeks and I still don’t know what to write. I was really excited to read Eon when I drew it as my next book to read (I randomly select books so that I don’t have to choose!). I’d been meaning to read it for years and hadn’t gotten around to it yet and had seen that lots of my GR friends had given it really high ratings.

I loved the setting of Eon. Fantasy books in non-traditional fantasy settings (ie. Medieval England) are like crack to me. I can’t get enough of them. That said, I haven’t read many of them. The world-building and sheer research Alison Goodman put into Eon is phenomenal. I was so impressed with the detail of her creation, from the clothing to etiquette to food. Everything felt completely appropriate.

My favourite thing about Eon: Dragoneye Reborn is it’s complete lack of romantic plot! I love a good romance as much as the next girl, but I really wish YA would lay off on them a little bit. I don’t need romance in every single book that I read. Sometimes there really are more important things to worry about than a boy. That is particularly true when you have a conspiracy against your life. It also makes me feel slightly less pathetic about my perennial single-ness. Unfortunately, I’ve read some spoilers about Eona that say that this is, sadly, not the case in book 2. As much as I liked Eon, that actually made me far less inclined to pick up Eona.

By far my favourite character was Lady Dela. From the moment she was introduced she stole every scene she was in. I really appreciated how her gender was handled in the text (Lady Dela is a MTF trans lady). I was a little disappointed in the gender relations of the culture, as everyone (even Eona herself) is very misogynistic. I would really love to see a more liberated society in fantasy – it seems like every fantasy novel I’ve read (with the exception of Jacqueline Carey’s books) takes place in very misogynistic or backwards settings.

Oh Eona. Why are you so dense?? It was painfully obvious from the first moment what the secret of the mirror dragon was (and that she would be chosen by said dragon in the first place). The only turn in the book that truly surprised me was the change in Ido at the end.

In retrospect, it wasn’t the greatest book I’ve read nor was it terrible. It was well-paced and the writing left little to be desired. The characters and plot were overall engaging and kept me reading, which is really the most important thing right? I’m not sure if I’ll be reading Eona, but I do think that it is a story that will stick in my memory for a while, or at least parts of it.

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