Book Review: Eon and Eona

Book Review: Eon and EonaEon (Eon, #1) by Alison Goodman
Published by Firebird on August 31st 2010
Pages: 531
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She has a powerful secret... with deadly consequences.
For years, Eon's life has been focused on magical study and sword-work, with one goal: that he 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.

I found Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman both highly disappointing. I wanted to love this series about a young girl disguised as a boy, who beats the odds and summons her very own dragon. But I simply didn’t find the heroine particularly likable, the love interests remotely appealing, or the way the author conveniently discarded plot lines satisfying. These may seem like minor grievances, but combine it with a highly predictable story and you have something that is more mediocre than fantastical. 


Though the character of Eona herself was well developed and complex I just couldn’t feel any sympathy towards her in either installment. This was no mean feat as she is introduced as a girl disguised as a boy with a crippling hip disability. Her disability is viewed with such horror that people on the streets even make “wards against evil” signs when they see her. And this same disability puts Eona at a severe disadvantage when training in the required martial arts as a Dragoneye candidate—a position that is traditionally forbidden to women. However, people are so busy being disgusted by her disability that they fail to even suspect her as woman. Later, readers find out that this was all according to the plan of her twisted sponsor—he had arranged for someone to disable her when she was a child, for the exact purpose of hiding her gender. 


Once Eona manages to successfully summon her dragon—of course it’s not just any dragon, but is in fact, the legendary Mirror Dragon that hasn’t been seen in over 500 years—she is swept into the palace as a noble. With all eyes on the new Dragoneye, Eona has to be extra careful that no one finds out she is a female. Luckily, having her horror-inducing disability continues to protect her from suspicion. And if that weren’t enough, her sponsor decides that Eona should also pretend to be a eunuch. This further deception enables Eona a privacy that would have otherwise been impossible for someone in her powerful new position. It is when Eona is learning the ropes of her new position, forging alliances, and dealing with political intrigue that both books are at their finest. 


But the books are at their worst when it comes to Eona’s love interests and the discarding of her disability. When Eona was first introduced, I really enjoyed reading how she overcame both the physical challenges and discrimination caused by her disability. She trained extra hard, making careful changes to her martial arts routine in order to succeed as a Dragoneye candidate. However, when Eona finally comes fully into her power and forges a stronger mystical connection to her dragon, her pesky disability is magically and conveniently cured. Nice, huh? Heaven forbid a heroine actually overcome the stigma of both her gender and disability through her own strength and perseverance. I can’t help but feel that like the strangers on the street, the author also found disabilities unappealing.


Distastefully, it is only when Eona’s disability is handily cured that she reveals herself as a woman and it is then that the two main males of the series—Lord Ido (another Dragoneye) and Kygo (the Emperor)–unsurprisingly both become extremely attracted to her. Seems like all young adult books have to have a love triangle these days. And though I would have liked to see the love interests have some suspicion of her gender and a slow build of attraction—or better yet, love her as the determined young woman who succeeded with a disability—I guess we can’t have everything.


Instead, what readers have are two men in positions of power who have both previously physically harmed Eona. This is especially true of Lord Ido, who had possessed Eona’s body through magical powers, tried to rape her, and otherwise tormented her to undermine her growing power. But Lord Kygo isn’t really the better option. He reacts violently to the news that Eon is a female, slamming her against a wall and trying to kill her for her deception. So in the second book, when Eona falls in love with Emperor Kygo and in lust with Ido, I really just couldn’t get on board the love train and couldn’t help but make a connection to the unhealthy love triangle in another young adult series, Twilight. But in Eon and its predecessor, Eona, there are dragons instead of vampire and werewolves.


Though I love a good dragon book, I simply couldn’t love Eon and Eona. The books’ predictability, coupled with their twisted romances, and their convenient discarding of Eona’s disability—something that made her a unique and more powerful heroine—made it difficult for me to respect and like Eona herself.

Eon and Eona - - Book Reviews

Posted July 25, 2015 in Book Reviews, Young Adult

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2 responses to “Book Review: Eon and Eona

  1. Notgivingmynameeitherlmaonicetrytho

    Wow you do *not* know what you are talking about. These were the customs back then. That’s how it was.

    • I’m very interested in how you find a young adult *fantasy* novel, which includes the actual summoning dragons, to be true to your unspecified real-world “customs,” which were not even mentioned as part of my review.

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