Eon/Eona Duology by Alison Goodman
Published: June 23, 2009 by Puffin Canada
Format/Source: Two paperbacks purchased at university bookstore
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Swordplay, dragon magic–and a hero with a desperate secret
Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic,, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.
But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.
When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.
For those that read Tamora Pierce books when they were younger, the EON/EONA series is a modern take on the ‘girl undercover in a male-dominated field’ genre. It brings elements of Chinese mythology to the table: each energy dragon has a human dragoneye that channels the dragons’ power to wield magic and influence the weather [along with the other dragoneyes]. Eon’s dragon is the Mirror Dragon, thought to be missing for hundreds of years. The return of the Mirror Dragon is what sets off the chain of events that leads to an empire in turmoil.
I absolutely loved the first book in the series; I relished learning more about the culture of the empire and the history of Eona’s family. Not only is the world fascinating, but the character representation is admirable as well. The transwoman, Lady Dela, is my favorite by far. Her story was remarkably compelling and tragic.
The second book was a little less captivating. I found the added love triangle to be obnoxious and the depth of the world lacking. The conflict of Eona attempting to control her powers was satisfyingly real. It did not disappear in the blink of an eye, but lasted all through the books.
The conclusion is a little unsatisfying, it left me sad and with so many questions. An epilogue would have been greatly appreciated in this case.
Despite my issues with the second book, I still enjoyed the series. These would be great for the older “young adult” crowd [15-16 years old].