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Monday, May 16, 2011

Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye

Thank goodness for one of my fave blogging girls, Bibliophilic Monologues!  I saw her review and started drooling over Alison Goodman's Eon.  I would have downloaded it that second…if it was in digital format.  No go.  I even retyped it, refreshed it, and rechecked it a dozen more times just to be sure.  Ok, no instant gratification for me.  I was going to have to work for this one.  And while I happen to live an hour-and-a-half away from my closest bookstore, there IS a library in town.  And I did double-check their digital library just to be sure that my library didn’t have the mystical ability to digitize Eon into my hands that second, while Barnes&Noble could not.  It couldn’t.  So I browsed the old-fashioned way, checking the library catalog online (some luddite out there is cringing right now, or not, because they don’t have a computer or internet connection, so they’re not reading this)…Why yes, my library did have a copy available!  And by “my library” I really mean my library system, as in the collective.

And then I went to the RT convention and came home with an ARC of Eona…The sequel to Eon.  Fate, obviously.  Now I REALLY needed to get my hands on a copy of Eon.  Or suffer a painful and excruciating weekend.

For some reason this crazy-unrelentingly urgent need to read Eon came on a Thursday night.  The closest library?  40 minutes away?  Closed Fridays.  No.  I am so not even kidding.  I felt a nearby library, a mere two minutes from my destination, taunting me with its open Friday hours and lack of available copies of Eon.

So, Saturday I finally got my hands on Eon.

And from the moment I opened the cover I became single-mindedly consumed with consuming this book.  Rapture and joy from beginning to end.

Eon is a girl pretending to be a boy, because Eon has dragon magic, and girls aren’t allowed to use dragon magic.  A LOT of dragon magic—There are twelve dragons; eleven invisible to the average person, and one, the Mirror Dragon, not seen for over 500 years.  Eon’s fellow trainees are lucky to see one of the twelve dragons.  Eon can see eleven.

But not just anybody can work dragon magic; there is fierce competition to be a Dragoneye’s apprentice, the one who will eventually succeed his master and become the next Dragoneye.  It’s hard enough for Eon hiding the secret that she’s a girl, but she’s also handicapped by having a deformed leg.  Even the people who see her as a boy, see her as crippled, week, and cursed.  Eon has to fight that much harder to keep herself in the running for an apprenticeship.  And while her teachers and classmates would knock her down with every chance they get, while everyone all but counts her out, Eon still has a chance.  Because the dragon chooses its Dragoneye and no one can predict who the dragon will choose.

And that’s only the beginning of this epic fantasy.  *sigh*  When a dragon chooses Eon, she finds herself in more peril than she could have imagined.  She’s suddenly drawn into to palace intrigue and Dragoneye politics.  She has teachers who can’t teach her everything, and teachers she can’t fully trust.  She’s separated from the only person who knew her secret—her master.  And while she does come to trust a few select people, she knows that even her friends have their own agendas—The Emperor and the heir to the thrown put their trust in Eon, while his enemies plot to control her, and the truth threatens to destroy her.

From page one, this was a gripping, fast-paced novel, and despite being a mere 531 pages and excellent for building those biceps, Alison Goodman was able to sustain the pulse-racing pace throughout Eon’s entirety.  I was reading white-knuckled from beginning to end, with only the very bare minimum of breaks for sustenance and sleep deprivation.

I think the first thing that really surprised me was Eon’s handicap.  I can’t even think of another character with a disability like that, especially one where so much is physically expected of the character.  I was intrigued by it, and loved the way it was woven into the story, how her “curse” and “deformity” helped to hide her secret.

Eon was character that I truly felt for with her constant struggles—Her secret made her so alone, and incredibly vulnerable.  I constantly wanted her to ask for help, and was panged, not knowing who she could ask, any more than Eon, herself, knew who she could trust or ask.

One of the other things that I liked, and that kept me on edge, was Alison Goodman’s take-no-prisoners kind of storytelling—Eon’s world had consequences, characters acted and reacted as people with their own feelings and agendas, and not everybody makes it out safe and happy.  It gave it a real bite to the story, not knowing what was going to happen, and knowing not just that things could go badly, but that they could get worse.

Oh and a favorite of mine in the more technical aspect of the book was an inclusion of a map of the palace grounds, along with a compass and guide for which dragons/Dragoneyes were which—As a visual person these were great references to glance at while reading!

Oh, and the cover?—After reading Eon, I appreciate the cover a lot more.  I tend to like things that are “wow” and “eye-popping,” and this is cover is a little more intricate, which might be part of why it didn’t grab me right away.  Though, if you take the time to look at it, it really has a lot of layers and details to draw you in.  There are two big things that draw me in.  The first is the title—In the “O” of Eon, there’s a dragon eye.  The first thing that tells me is that the book is about or has dragons.  But after reading the story, I can also appreciate it as a reference to the Dragoneye characters who are integral to the story.  The second thing that draws my attention is a dragon’s claw clutching a golden disc with a lot of complicated looking symbols.  Without reading the book I had no idea what the disc-thing was supposed to be.  Now that I’ve read it, I realize it must be Eon’s dragon compass, another integral part of the story, as its complicated symbols are key in helping Eon find her way.

Eon was a super-intense amazing ride and absolutely worth all the effort of tracking it down.  It’s a pretty epic read at just over 500 pages, but Eon has definite rereadability potential—And Alison Goodman is definitely on my list of authors to keep an eye on!!!!

Thanks again to Bibliophilic Monologues for the recommendation!!! :D



Anonymous said...

I am so glad you liked this one. I find Ozzie authors to be totally awesome fantasy writers. If you haven't tried Alison Croggon (The Songs of Pellinor), you should. It's more high fantasy and more Lord of the Ring-ish than this one but it's still so darned awesome. And I finally ordered Eona. Aren't good books awesome? *beam*

nymfaux said...

Yay!!!--So glad you're getting Eona!!!--I can't wait for you to read it!!!

Good books are SO fracking awesome!!! :D

Songs of Pellinor, huh?--*adds to tbr list* ;) I will look into that--Thanks!!!