BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, is competing for the right to be a Dragoneye apprentice. When the long lost Mirror Dragon returns, things at court become much more dangerous for her.
PROS: Engaging; lots of political intrigue; combines new age beliefs with fantasy world magic; protagonist stays in character.
CONS: Major plot twist is very obvious.
BOTTOM LINE: A wonderful, quick read that will have you reaching for the sequel.
Eon’s ability to see all 11 energy dragons is awarding her the chance to become the apprentice of the Rat Dragon, ascendant this year. But women aren’t allowed to be Dragoneyes, so she must hide her gender. When the choosing ceremony goes awry and the long lost Mirror Dragon returns, she is plunged into mess of political intrigue she is ill equipped to handle.
Eon is an engaging read that’s hard to put down. The girl goes from crisis to crisis as she’s thrust into the heart of palace politics while trying to keep several important secrets.
The magic of this fantasy world is based heavily on new age beliefs. The chakras are used to focus chi, while the dragon mythology is the Chinese zodiac. Goodman manages to take these familiar concepts and makes them unique by molding them to the energy dragons, through whom natural phenomenon can be controlled.
Modern readers will quickly figure out the plot twist regarding the truth of the Mirror Dragon. While it is in character for Eon to misunderstand what is happening, it is frustrating as a reader to see how she’s missing something that to us is so obvious. However, I was impressed that the author resisted the urge to give Eon a modern mindset. She is very much a product of her world, which is as it should be.
I found Eon a fascinating character, even while I didn’t always like her decisions. She’s caught in a difficult position where if it’s learned she’s a woman, her life and that of her master and servant, are forfeit. As more and more people put their faith in her power her position becomes even more desperate. In response, she pressures a friend to act in a way that puts his life in danger, with no consciousness that she’s done so. She also takes pains to avoid becoming a pawn.
While I was able to guess many of the plot twists early in the book, the last third, after the truth of the Mirror Dragon is revealed, was so unexpected, and somewhat disturbing, that I enjoyed every moment of the adventure.
The book ends at a satisfying place while leaving many things unfinished. I’ll definitely be picking up Eona when it comes out next spring.