Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn - Alison Goodman Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.After years of training, it is time for Eon to take the final test to see if the Rat Dragon chooses him as the new apprentice. Many hopes are riding on his success: Those of his master Brannon, who has used up much of his fortune sponsoring Eon and Eon's own hopes of escaping poverty for good and never having to worry about going back. All he has to do is be chosen and keep his greatest secret: he is truly a girl named Eona. When the day comes, she is chosen not by the Rat Dragon, but by the Mirror Dragon, the dragon that has been lost for five hundred years. Thrust into the workings of the court and forced to be a pawn in the battle for the Imperial throne, Eona must keep her gender secret to keep her life and fight against the machinations of Lord Ido, who has something terrible planned for the empire.After some reviewers I trust pointed this book out to me through advertising its sequel Eona, I knew I had to read it. A beautiful cover, a good premise (which, when combined, usually does not bode well for a book anymore), lots of good reviews for it... How could I resist? A week of reading later, I'm begging for April to get here faster so I can read the sequel and learn the answers to all my burning questions.Some novels jump right in at the start and others stumble. Eon? It had a really bad stumble due to a hole in the premise. Short version: dragons only take apprentices born in their year (Rat Dragon takes person born in the Year of the Rat). Eona is born in the year of the Mirror Dragon, but poses as being born in the Year of the Rat. People can be fooled, but not the dragons, who realize that she is a girl and know her real name, so they know her true age too. Everyone should have been smart enough to know it would not work. This was all a badly done set-up so that Eona would have a reason for being taught as a candidate and the mess shows through clearly. Oh, and I don't believe it is a good idea to start thinking about what people see when they look at you when you're in the middle of a battle in which your teacher is fighting dirty to try and injure you! You can do that after you've had your butt kicked, not before.After we got past the first hundred pages where most of the bumps were, the novel really hit its stride as we settled into the court intrigue. The structure of the court and the traditions of it rang true, even if they were difficult to put together in my head sometimes. The prose is rather plain, but it is acceptable in this book. Certain elements of the story such as the Contraires (they said they had a male and female soul, but it kept getting implied the rest of the book that it was a woman's spirit in a man's body) were unclear to be, but were much clearer than they would have been in Goodman went for the fancy prose.Lady Dela's story of being a Contraire and how she has suffered for it was, in my opinion, the most interesting part of the book, even if little time was spent on it. This is the first time I've seen a transgender person in any book and Lady Dela made a wonderful representation. The feminist element to this book, about how hard it is to live as a woman in such a patriarchal society, rang true in both Eona's struggles and Lady Dela's. The power of women had a huge part to play in this book and I'm looking forward to seeing the developments in the sequel.And no romance at all! This will put certain readers (read: many girls my age) off a book, but not me. I prefer books to be romance-free, but I often pick up ones with romance in them anyways because it's near-impossible to escape and I won't let something like that keep me from reading a book that sounds interesting. Want a break from the lovey-dovey for a story that concentrates on the plot? Eon is something you should think about trying. There are the barest hints of a set-up for future romance, but some may pick up on them and some won't. They are so small that they may end up amounting to nothing at all.The characterization left a lot to be desired. Eona felt like just a tool of the plot instead of a true character. If you asked me to describe her personality, I would not be able to come up with an answer. She is being thrown around by the plot in order to advance itself instead of her advancing the plot herself, and this is not something books should do. I asked multiple times in this book, "What was their motivation?" I wanted to see why Lord Ido was the way he was. Don't need a sob story, just some decent background info. The only people who felt halfway real were Lady Dela, our novel's transgender/crossdressing supporting character, and her bodyguard Ryko. Those two were the characters I cared about.I really did like this book by the end of it and would have given it a better rating, but such a huge hole in the premise doesn't go unpunished in the rating. The sequel Eona comes out in April 2011 and I am so getting it. If you're looking for a descriptive, enjoyable novel that isn't afraid to take its time, this might be the book for you. Eon left off on a huge cliffhanger and I refuse to just leave it hanging and never know what happens.