Saturday, August 6, 2011
Review: Eon by Alison Goodman
Eon has trained four years for a chance to be picked as the new Rat Dragoneye apprentice, one of eleven whose powerful spiritual connection with the dragons is used to keep the nation prospering. Eon believes he has a chance, despite being a cripple: he has the rare ability to enter the energy world and “see” all the dragons.
However, Eon is actually Eona, a teenage girl. Females are forbidden to be Dragoneyes, and so Eon desperately tries to hide his true gender when he is miraculously chosen to be the next Mirror Dragoneye, when the Mirror Dragon has not been seen for over 500 years. It is a dangerous world that Eon must maneuver in, what with the old emperor seriously ill and political mutiny tainting the air. Does Eon—Eona—have what it takes to survive, or does the secret that Eona hides threaten to destroy everyone’s lives?
If you want a hardcore fantasy set in a deliciously elaborate and complex world, pick up EON: DRAGONEYE REBORN. Goodman’s majestic tale brings to mind the works of fantasy masters like Garth Nix, Robin McKinley, Diane Wynne Jones, and more. Eon’s world is well wrought, engaging, and one hundred percent fascinating.
The world of EON is reminiscent of ancient Asian cultures, and is a careful and studied mixture of the spiritual and the physical. I loved the idea of dragons being a part of the energy world, of Dragoneyes connecting with the dragons to share a mutual power. At the same time, the physical setting is incredible: a place full of beauty and treachery, awe and horror. Alison Goodman weaves for readers a multisensory setting that’s a treat to experience.
The characters are far from lacking either. Eon is a brilliant, three-dimensional protagonist: his internal conflict of adhering to the tradition of male Dragoneyes versus breaking protocol and acknowledging Eona is heartbreaking and enthralling. Readers may be able to guess things that the often-obstinate Eon misses, but all in all Eon is a fascinating character to follow in this highly charged story.
At a little over 500 pages, EON may seem like a daunting read, but every chapter is worth it, even the few that you wish would speed up to Eon’s long-awaited revelations. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel, Eona: The Last Dragoneye, to come out, so that I can read more about Eon/Eona and his/her adventures in this magnificently complex world.
Cover discussion: The hardcover's image was what attracted me to this in the first place, so while I was surprised at the change in the paperback's cover, I'm still not disappointed with the epic coloring and silhouetting.
Firebird / Aug. 31, 2010 / Paperback (reprint) / 576pp. / $9.99