August 17, 2014

Review - EON

Dragoneye Duology, Book 1
Alison Goodman

Pub:  2008

A&R, pbk, 430p.
ISBN: 978-0-7322-9011-5

Under the harsh regime of an ambitious master, candidate Eon is training to become a Dragoneye - a powerful lord able to master wind and water to protect the land. But Eon also harbours a desperate secret - Eon is, in fact, Eona, a young woman who has endured years of disguise as a boy for the chance to practise the Dragoneye's art. In a world where women are only hidden wives or servants, Eona's dangerous deception is punishable by death. 

Still in disguise, Eona's unprecedented talent thrusts her into the centre of a lethal struggle for the Imperial throne. Summoned by the Emperor to the opulent and teacherous court, Eona must learn to trust her power and find the strength to face a vicious enemy who would seize her magic and her life. 

Inspired by the rich myths and traditions of Ancient China, this is a fast-paced, exhilarating page-turner that shimmers with energy dragons, and dazzles with deadly intrigue and breathtaking swordplay.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave..."

After reading rave review after review, I pulled Eon from my TBR pile - where it has been languishing for about 2 months! - and decided to give it a go.  I went into this book with such high expectations that by the time I'd finished it a few hours later I was having a real struggle with the mixed feelings I'd had while reading this book.  Personally, I don't get all the fuss?  It's a good book, but not the mind-blowing amazing read that I'd been expecting after all the online hype.  Was I deceived... or is Eon just not my cup of tea?  That is indeed the question.

Secrets lie at the heart of this book.  Everyone is lying to all and sundry.  If it's not a secret identity, it's a secret agenda, and there is enough political maneuvering that Alison Goodman should go into politics herself!  If it wasn't for the fantasy setting you would have a great political intrigue on your hands.

What I liked about Eon was the interesting world building.  It is clear and concise.  You can see the environment in which Eona and the others are navigating in.  I loved the use of the dragons in this story.  Not powerful creatures to fight, but a necessary partnership for the good of all.  The characters are well developed and are easy to picture, and as every great book needs an antagonist that you just love to hate, Ms. Goodman has ticked all the boxes as Lord Ido is such a hateful, selfish, arrogant and powerful foe that you just can't wait for him to get his just desserts.

But for all the good elements, there were some things that I just either couldn't overlook, or put out of my mind.  I know that the use of the Sun drug was a necessary plot device, but I wasn't impressed with it's use - or the consequences of it misuse in some of the characters.  I'm also not a fan of physical violence against young characters, and was pretty much turned off by the use of such casual abuse by a majority of the characters in this story.   Even the Lord who trained Eona wasn't above slapping her around - all in the name of learning, of course - but it really pulled me out of the story.

So, here I am.  At the end of the review and I still can't tell you whether or not I really enjoyed this book.  I can understand why so many people have raved about it.  The secret between Eona and the Dragons is very special - and unexpected! - and overall the ideas and mythology included was interesting... but would I buy more books if it was a series?  No.  

Perhaps I'm outgrowing YA books after all.  An unusual story, but worth the read.

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