Author: Alison Goodman
After not reading for MONTHS, I decided to finally start again with Eona by Alison Goodman. And I am glad to say I was not disappointed.
Eona is the sequel to Eon, and the conclusion in the duology. I read Eon back in I think 2015, and I absolutely loved it, but I was scared to start its sequel after so much time had passed since I read the first, but I didn’t have any issues thankfully.
Also, since this is a sequel, I will give a brief synopsis of its first one, do a short non-spoiler review of the second for those that have read the first (even though I feel like most people read them since the duology ended in 2011), and then do a little more in depth after that.
So, Eon. This book is a feudal fantasy book that incorporates dragons and the East Asian zodiac. There are 12 spiritual dragons that 12 men can bond with and use their power to help keep the land safe. Some of the dragons are: rat, tiger, ox, rabbit, etc. and most importantly the mirror dragon. At the beginning of Eon the mirror dragon had been missing for over 500 years, and the people have glazed over the lack of mirror dragon, and continue life as normal, picking a new male to “ascend” and take over for a dragon in its corresponding year (think like the East Asian zodiac, each year is a different animal, so each year is a different dragon). The main character, Eon, is training to be a dragoneye (people who partner with the dragons). Eon spends everyday training to be one, despite the debilitating handicap, and the secret that he is actually a she. Eon’s secret that he is not actually a male could get him killed, because in the culture women are not able to become dragoneyes, and is seen as treason.
Eon was amazing, it was evenly paced and fun as well. I don’t read much young adult fantasy any more, but I still remember really enjoying this book, and I think it is a nice gateway between regular action young adult, and fantasy young adult that I think everyone should try.
Now if you haven’t read this book, please don’t read the next part, or go read the first so you don’t get spoiled!
Book 2: Non-spoiler
Eona picks up right where Eon left off. All of the dragoneyes, except Ido and Eona have been slaughtered, the emperor has been murdered, and it was all orchestrated by the emperor’s brother, Sethon, and Dragoneye Ido himself. The book follows the aftermath of this, and Eona trying to find out how to use her power while she learns about her family’s history, as well as tries to find her footing in the heart of the rebellion against King Sethon.
Eona was a great ending to a duology, it mixed the events from the first book in such a way that you’re not struggling to remember what happened. Everything flows so smoothly, and it is fun to read Eona try to learn how to be herself after hiding away as a man for so many years. There was great character growth, and while I thought the plot was slow at times, I still find it a very good read. Also, as someone who absolutely enjoys feudal fantasies, and east Asian culture as well this book was right up my alley. It combined everything I could every want into a book, and made it fascinating as well as fun to read, and I think everyone could benefit from reading it.
I gave this book a 4/5 stars, and I stand by that rating. I thought the book was fun, but it had some pacing issues I couldn’t get over. I am used to slow paced fantasy novels, and stories that rely heavily on travel aspects, and have what seems like nothing happening for hundreds of pages. But all of those help lead to the end.
In this book I think the first quarter, before the gang found Kygo was almost unnecessary. It was over 100 pages, and I did not think a lot of it was needed. It felt like filler, or kind of like rambling. It tried to bring the travel aspect into things, but it really just had Eona explaining what everyone looked like for a solid 70 pages. Other than that section I thought the pacing was fine. It did get slow at times again, but at least Eona was doing something, aka learning from Ido.
Speaking of Ido, I thought the way Alison Goodman tied Eona’s ancestors’ timeline directly into hers was amazing. The mirror dragoneye getting caught directly between the emperor and the rat dragoneye was cool However, I want to slap Eona for believing Ido had changed. But I guess to be fair she’s a 16 year old girl. She doesn’t know any different. All that matters is that she chose the right person. Kygo.
Kygo was the one that cared about her power AND her. Ido only saw power. Which is weird that Eona acknowledged Kygo wanting her power, but completely ignored Ido grasping for the same thing. Also, it’s kind of weird that Eona thought about possibly having a relationship with a man whom she has complete control over.
I got a little off topic there, but anyway I really liked the aspect of class that stayed in the back of Eona’s mind throughout her feelings for Kygo. She knew war, and keeping everyone was alive, but could not stop her mind from wandering as they traveled the long distances, and it always landed on the class differences. Kygo was an emperor, of royal blood, and Eona may be a dragoneye now, but she was a salt farm worker, a peasant. They should never be allowed to be together, but yet they were. That’s a culture shock of its own.
The love aspect aside, the battles were fun. I wish it would have had more, or had Eona participate more though, since the last major fight had her incapacitated. I would have liked to read that battle from a different person’s perspective, or had more commentary, since that was a major turning point. But oh well. I also wish her mother would have been present more in the end. It was a big deal that Tozay brought Eona’s mother. But they had one conversation, and that was about it. She was basically forgotten, and I know that was her mother’s purpose in the story, but almost 400 pages of that book was spent building to her mother’s arrival.
I know I only talked about my problem’s with the book, but I really did enjoy it. The ending was great, and it wrapped everything up nicely. Eona ended up with the right guy, Sethon and Ido got what they deserved, and Ryko finally was freed from Eona. The only person things didn’t end perfectly for was Lady Dela, and that broke my heart. But I get it, that’s war.
This book was great, and I think more people should talk about it again. I think it was widely popular in 2008, and 2011 (when each book came out), but I think it deserves another wave of popularity. It’s a read that will leave you satisfied, and I think it would be a cool video game if they could ever manage that.