28 maio 2011

Review: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Publisher: Firebird (2010)
Format: Paperback | 570 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Description (Goodreads): "Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. 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 twelve-year-old boy. 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."
Warning: Contains Minor SPOILERS!
Another book for which I had high expectations, "Eon: Dragoneye Reborn" by Alison Goodman left me somewhat disappointed, although I did enjoy it a lot. Confused? Well, me too.

Originally published as "The Two Pearls of Wisdom" in 2008, this fantasy novel had everything to make me love it: a fantasy world fashioned after the Ancient Civilizations of China and Japan, dragons and some gender bender. What more could I ask? Well, I could ask for a more creative story, that's what.

When I started reading I immediately remembered the Story of Saiunkoku since that anime was also set on a fantastic kingdom based in Ancient China and there were also guardians represented by colors (in Eon you have colored dragons). 

Don't get me wrong, "Eon" was a pleasure to read most of the time. I loved the world building, the careful construction of a fictitious kingdom based on several Eastern cultures (mainly China with some Japan thrown in). The attention to detail was amazing, with all the rituals and complicated court protocol presented to the reader.

I also liked the 'magic system', it seemed to be unusual and I thought it was creative that magic practitioners had to be linked with the dragons. Basically I loved the world Goodman built with it's fantastic mythology and great attention to detail (as mentioned before).

I would have liked to have known more about the dragons, their magic and their personal designs (if they had any). They seemed like mere magical beasts sometimes, but there were glimpses of intelligence. I thought it quite odd that the dragons were basically used to further human ambition when it was clear they were sentient.

So, having established that I loved the world created by the author, what failed? The story, of course. Since the beginning the entire plot involving Eon and the Mirror Dragon was very (and I mean very) predictable, so it was kind of frustrating to see Eon battle for more than 500 pages to understand what was going on when the reader was aware of the solution since almost the first pages. It made me not like Eon very much, I thought he was too clueless and naive at times. He definitely did not enter the role of "hero" from the first which was good because it made him realistic but also bad, because it made him unlikable sometimes.
Another thing I thought deserved a little more 'book time' were Eon's strange powers (as the book opens Eon already knows about the powers and is on his way to be tested to see if he can be a Dragoneye apprentice); they just weren't explored well enough. The author could have focused some part of the book on that instead of trying to drag the story.

As for the other characters, I liked Lady Dela and Ryoko, but the rest weren't that developed and as a reader I didn't care much for their fate.

The ending was a little rushed and unrealistic, especially what happened to Lord Ido. It just didn't seem probable that he would have such a reaction. It was like he was a different person at the end.

Overall, "Eon" was a fascinating read within the fantasy genre mainly because the world was atypical and very well constructed. But I also thought the book was too long and the story dragged a bit too much for the complexity of the plot. Still, I enjoyed this read and recommend it for fans of fantasy looking for something a little different (a crossover of Saiunkoku Monogatari with Mulan, perhaps?). And well, it does have dragons. I am definitely reading the sequel. :)

2 comentários :

WhiteLady3 disse...

Your comments while you were reading the book made me curious (YAY dragons!) but now I don't know...

slayra disse...

It's definitely a different fantasy setting, but the plot was just too obvious. Also I guess I'm used to the type of character that immediately rises up to the challenges that are set up for her/him and becomes all hero-like. Eon wasn't like that. He had been a slave or servant his whole life and he didn't turn into that hero type right away. It was very realistic and if you ask me it's probably what most people would do but it took some getting used to.

But it's a good read. :)