Monday, July 19, 2010

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Reading this book was like eating a peppermint Yorkshire patty. Though my breath wasn’t any fresher after I closed the cover of Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, I released the same “ahhh,” that normally follows the consumption of the mint treat. Girls working with dragons are nothing new to teen fiction, but Alison Goodman has created a world so different from what I’ve seen before in YA fantasy that it was refreshing to read.

The world, a blend of fantasy and Asian mythology, is incredibly original. The emperor of this land, a land much like ancient China, is guided by a council which consists of 12 Dragoneyes. Dragoneyes are people gifted with the ability to see the spirit dragons of the zodiac (for example, there’s a dog dragon, a horse dragon, a tiger dragon, etc.). Every year, with the turn of the calendar, a new one comes to power, and the dragon itself chooses a new apprentice from a pool of 12-year-old boys (so at any time, there are 24 servants to the dragons—12 masters and 12 apprentices).

Which leads us to the star of this novel, Eon. Eon is actually Eona, a 16-year-old girl with Dragoneye powers pretending to be a boy so she can become the Rat Dragon’s successor. Though she is not chosen, her participation in the ceremony awakens an even greater force: The Mirror Dragon, which has been lost for more than 500 years. The reawakening of this dragon means that Eon(a) is now a Dragon Lord and must collaborate with Lord Ion, the new Rat Dragon Master. This ends up proving to be quite difficult because—to put it simply—he’s not interested in sharing. Eon(a) quickly finds herself in the middle of a power struggle, with Lord Ion trying to take the emperor’s throne.

Though I admit that just about every plot twist was predictable, for once the predictability was enjoyable. Even from the very beginning, you can anticipate the direction the book is heading, and I found myself reading quickly to satisfy my expectations (which were met with flying colors). I'll also admit that the book was a bit long, particularly in the middle, with just a tad too much detail going into ceremonies and whatnot. But it didn't really matter because towards the end I couldn’t put the book down. The action sequences are exciting and well choreographed, and the supporting cast of characters' loyalty "aw" inspiring. This cast included a transvestite named Lady Dela, who teaches Eon(a) about the courage and importance of being true to yourself (which is, without a doubt, the main theme of this book). Well written and fun, I think it's safe to say that I highly anticipate the release of Goodman’s next novel in the series.

Final Rating: 7/8 tentacles