Author: Alison Goodman

Publication: 2012, Firebird

Pages: 654

Overall Rating: bth_45_zps06f87659[1]

Rating for Action: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_35_zps7a173504[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary: Eona has revealed herself as a girl, but if she thought that was the end of the secrets and lies she’s sorely mistaken. Because even though Eona has learned to call her dragon, she has no training. When she tries to heal a gravely wounded companion, the other dragons attack. She’s saved only by the timely intervention of her old enemy Lord Edo – who is now also her only hope, the only one left who can teach her how to control her dragon power. But time is not on Eona’s side. High Lord Sethon’s army is on the march. She has to find Kygo, the Pearl Emperor, free Edo from captivity, defeat Sethon, and do it all without drowning in the vast sea of lies and deceptions that surround her on every side.

Age of Main Character: 15

What I Liked the Most: I continued to be draw in by the rich setting and elaborate world building that first brought both the empire and the dragon eyes to life. Eona’s world felt authentic down to its very core and each new detail added another layer of pleasure to my reading.

I also appreciated the complexity of character that went into Lord Edo. In the last book his goals were clear – power at any cost. He was violent, bloodthirsty, and the perfect foil to the young and inexperienced Eon. This time around, Edo’s goals are somewhat murkier and Goodman plays that uncertainty to wonderful effect. It’s not until the very end that we truly know what Edo wants and how far he’s willing to go in order to get it.

What I Liked the Least: Much of the drama in the first book was propelled by Eon’s lies – by her inability to admit that she couldn’t call her dragon. That worked. She was backed into a corner where revealing the truth about her dragon also meant revealing the truth about her gender and facing likely execution. My problem with Eona is that her lies, and her unwillingness to trust Kygo and her other companions, are once again at the center of the story. That set up worked once, and worked well. But the second time around, it was far more annoying. I thought Eona had learned from her mistakes in the last book, that she’d grown as a character, and it was frustrating to see her drop right back into her old patterns of lies, secrecy, and denial.

My other problem was with Sethon. He’s the villain of the piece, but we only have a single brief encounter with him until the story is almost at its climax. With so little time on stage and so much riding on his actions, it was easy for him to come off as a cookie cutter villain. That’s unfortunate given the depth and complexity of the other characters.

How Good was the Action? Well, there’s certainly a lot more action in this book than the last one. The rebels are on the run and Eona is no longer a cripple. When wielding the swords of her ancestor, Kendra, she’s able to fight alongside the best of them, and that makes for some intense battle scenes. Goodman has definitely upped the ante her, writing with the same level of tension and emotional wallop that she had in Eon, but backing that up with some fairly gritty sword play.

How Engaging was the Story? Despite my vast annoyance with Eona and her bottomless well of lies and self-deception, that story moved along at a nice clip, with more than enough twists, turns, and surprises to keep me reading. The tense and ever shifting relationships between Eona, Kygo, Lord Edo, and the island rebel, Ryko, did a great job of balancing the action sequences with a healthy dose of political intrigue, infighting, and emotional warfare.

Overall Assessment: A satisfying conclusion to the series, with enough intense battles and political intrigue to keep the story rocking along. Just be prepared for another long and annoyingly drawn-out set of lies and self-deception, courtesy of Eona.

Profanity: None

Sex: There are a few fairly intense scenes. They’re not overly graphic, but they do pulse with sexual energy.

Violence: There are swordfights and battles. People get stabbed and chopped and some of the fights are rather bloody. The final battle is heavy on the body count, but most of the deaths happen at a distance and aren’t overly graphic. That said, a lot of the main characters do get injured and Eona seems to spend a fair portion of the book healing them. There’s also an intense scene where she is brutally tortured.

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