Eon: Dragoneye Reborn – Alison Goodman
*I’ve been sitting on this post for almost two weeks. I think I’m just going to post it as is, because I’m never going to be able to get down everything I thought about.*
In a vaguely Ancient Chinese world, spirit dragons hold great power that they are willing to share with designated humans. Eon(a) will be competing for the honor of being a Dragoneye, but faces an uphill battle because of her crippled leg and because she’s secretly a girl. The only person who knows this secret is her master, but if they are found out they will both be executed. Things don’t go as planned, of course, and Eon’s position and power ends up being both greater than imaginable and more precarious.
There is a lot going on in this book. TV night it became a joke that everytime something was mentioned, I would pipe up that that thing was a major element of my book. And they were such disparate things that it seemed like I was lying. There’s dragons and magic and swordfighting and lots of gender issues (even a MTF transsexual who is handled respectfully as is her romance with a hunky eunich) and politics. The first third of the book is the most exciting, the pacing is so fast that it was making me anxious for a big presentation at work, I couldn’t separate my own adreneline from Eon’s. There is some annoying, unstatisfying stuff that happens in the middle, where you want to shake Eon for not figuring it out fast enough, but it passes without too much head-banging-on-desk.
This, like Hunger Games, is a book that has tons of action and excitement but never shies away from the fact that its protagonist is a girl. And like Hunger Games, it’s cover is designed to trick boys into reading it. Some will be mad at the trick (like one amazon reviewer whose son could not handle the menstruation references) but most will get caught up in the story. If it ever sits on my shelf for more than ten minutes, I don’t think I’ll have any problem getting kids to check this out (certainly not if it gets picked up as soon as I put it on display).