Barbara ★'s Reviews > Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Eon by Alison Goodman
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I don't usually enjoy books about Asian culture but this was truly spectacular.

From the Primer Scrolls of Jion Tzu
No one knows how the first Dragoneye made their dangerous bargain with the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. The few scrolls and poems that have survived the centuries start the story well after the deal was struck between man and spirit-beast to protect our land. It is rumored, however, that a black folio still exists that tells of the violent beginning and predicts a catastrophic end to the ancient alliance. The dragons are elemental beings, able to manipulate the natural energy that exists in all things. Each dragon is aligned with one of the heavenly animals in the twelve-year cycle of power that has run in the same sequence since the beginning of time. Each dragon is also the keeper of the twelve celestial directions and a keeper of one of the Greater Virtues.

Every New Year's Day the cycle turns, the next animal year begins, and it's dragon becomes ascendant, his power doubling for that twelve months. The ascendant dragon also unites with a new apprentice to be trained in the dragon magic, and as this boy steps up to his new life, the prior apprentice is promoted to Dragoneye and into his full power. He replaces his master, the old Dragoneye, who retires exhausted and fatally debilitated by his twenty-four-year union with the dragon. It is a brutal bargain that gives a Dragoneye enormous power - enough to move monsoons, redirect rivers, and stop earthshakes. In return for such control over nature, the Dragoneye slowly gives up his energy to the dragon.

Only those boys who can see an energy dragon can hope to be a Dragoneye candidate. It is a rare gift to be able to see the dragon of your birth year, and even rarer to be able to see any of the other energy dragons. Every New Year, twelve boys, born twelve years before, face the ascending dragon and pray that their gift is enough for the beast. One of them is chosen and in that moment of union - and only for that moment - all men can see the dragon in all his glory.

Women have no place in the world of the dragon magic. It is said they bring corruption to the art and do not have the physical strength or depth of character needed to commune with an energy dragon. It is also thought that the ffemale eye, too practiced in gazing at itself, cannot see the truth of the energy world.
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So that is how the book starts and already I was thinking this ought to be interesting. Especially since the book is about a girl disguised as a boy trying to become the next Dragoneye.

12 year old Eon is really a crippled 16 year old girl who has suppressed her femininity because she can actually see all of the energy dragons and her master has placed all his faith in her being chosen by this years ascendant dragon. Eon is friendly with most of the 11 boy candidates but especially close with Dillon who is important later in the story. There is so many things going on in this book that I fear giving away one of the many surprises in the story. I'm just going to say that in addition to the whole Dragoneye thing, Lord Sethon is trying to dethrone his brother, the Emporer. One of the current Dragoneye's, Lord Ido is totally nuts and is backing Lord Sethon which is against the rules. The energy dragon's powers can only be used for good and it is strictly forbidden to use their power for war. Prince Kygo (the emperor's son) is the target of Lord Sethon and Lord Ido as he is the rightful heir. And of course, Eon and Dillon are caught in the middle of this fight.

This is classed as young adult but I think it is way too complicated for anyone under 15 or so. There is too much political bs going on; the fighting between Dragoneye's is brutal; there are eunichs and transvestites. And all sorts of things that just aren't appropriate for the younger generation.
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