Eon – Dragoneye Reborn



Author: Alison Goodman

Publication: 2008, Penguin

Pages: 531

Overall Rating: bth_45_zps06f87659[1]

Rating for Action: bth_35_zps7a173504[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_3-star-rating_zps73bdba73[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary: For years, Eon’s life has been focused on one thing – training to be chosen as a Dragoneye, an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.  But Eon has a secret.  He’s really Eona – a girl.  Girl dragoneyes are forbidden, and if she’s caught the penalty will be death.

When she is chosen as a dragoneye, her secret becomes more important, and more deadly, than ever as she’s pulled into a power struggle over the imperial throne.  She must find the inner strength to control her dragon before it’s too late.  If she fails, she and everyone she cares for will die.

Age of Main Character: 16

What I Liked the Most: Goodman draws heavily on medieval Chinese and Japanese culture to give the world she’s created an authentic flare, while the energy dragons – based on the Chinese zodiac –  bend that world deftly into the realm of fantasy.   This makes for a rich, fully realized world that was tons of fun to delve into.

The fact that Goodman’s dragons aren’t real in the physical sense added an interesting twist to the story.  They’re energy dragons that exist only in the spirit world, and very few people have the ability to commune with them – or even see them.  That makes Eon fairly unusual as dragon books go, because a good chunk of the action happens at the spiritual level with Eon and her enemies using Hua, or mystical energy, to overcome each other.  There are plenty of swordfights too, but I liked the added layer of combat.

What I Liked the Least: There was a point, perhaps 2/3 of the way through the book, where Eon is so stubbornly blind to what he needs to do in order to commune with his dragon that I just wanted to slap him – either that or throw the book away.  While the actual solution to his problem wasn’t ncessarily obvious, the things he kept trying were clearly wrong, and yet he just kept piling on the mistakes.  This felt like a section where Goodman could have made some valuable cuts and pushed the story along at a faster clip.

How Good was the Action? There’s not a huge amount of action here.  Much of the story revolves around political infighting and Eon’s struggle to gain control over her dragon.  But scattered throughout the book are a fair number of fights and chases, climaxing in a lengthy but exciting sequence of battles.  The action itself is never more than descent, but Goodman does a fantastic job of weaving tension into her scenes.  Once you start one of the chases or battles, you won’t be able to stop reading until it’s done.

How Engaging was the Story? For the most part, I found myself drawn to Eon’s story.  Goodman has a rich cast of characters to work with here, and she plays them off of one another with a deft touch.  Ido is chilling as the villain, and Lady Dela provides a wonderful counterpoint to Eon and her struggle to maintain her secret identity.  Plus, there’s more than enough palace intrigue and political machinations to go around.  My real problem, as mentioned above, was that Eon’s struggle to commune with her dragon was too drawn out, and she kept sticking to a strategy that obviously was not going to work.   

Overall Assessment: An engaging story, with a richly drawn fantasy world, loads of political intrigue, and a surprising balance of spiritual and physical conflicts.

Profanity: None

Sex: There are a couple of scenes where Eon has to struggle with someone who all but rapes her.  They aren’t not overly graphic, but her fear and revulsion are very real.

Violence: Yes.  People get killed.  There are sword fights, people get stabbed, and there are a couple brief scenes of torture.  The violence isn’t especially graphic, but Eon feels the emotional impact of each death.

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