Twelve-year-old Eon is in the running to become the next Dragoneye, the intercessor between man and the energy dragons. Eon has a secret: Eon is actually Eona, a 16-year-old girl forced by qualification to live her life as a boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic and her consequences would be dire if she were ever discovered. Worse than being female, she is also a cripple, which puts her beneath the other Dragoneye contenders. When the Mirror Dragon chooses her at the ceremony, Eona’s secrets become even more difficult to hide. Now, Eona must hide her femininity and transcend her disability to avoid suspicion, all while being caught in the middle of a political battle for power divided by the emperor and the ruthless Lord Ido.
Asian cultural tradition and a strong female character collide in this fantasy that explores society and belief systems.
Although written at a fifth grade level, the themes may be too mature for some middle grade students. There are mild sexual themes (including the exploration of gender differences and sexism) and some violence.
This book was a treat to read. I took my time so I could savor each chapter. I love how Alison Goodman took historical practices in Asian culture and acclimated it into her fantasy world. Those rituals were obviously well researched. I was also intrigued throughout was the exploration of gender and what it truly means to be “masculine” or “feminine.” The story treats sexism with care and realistic representation. The main character is not a traditional superhero. Eona is crippled, not only physically, but also mentally due to the unreachable standards that society has set – to obtain true masculinity.
The only thing I do not care for is the book's length (500 pages). The plot is very drawn-out and could easily be reduced to 400 pages. That said, I respect the author’s choice of drawing the reader in with detailed descriptions. I would recommend this book for ages 14+. This book would be a great gift to anybody interested in high fantasy and genuine female characters.
This is the first book in the Eon trilogy. It is a high interest / low readability young adult novel.
There is a lot to explore. On the broader spectrum, the book can generate discussions on how we judge others and set societal standards, and what something *really* means. At the character level, Eona opens the door to talk about self worth, self value, limitations, et al.
12 and Up
10 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™
Borrow, at least. The book may be long, but readers will get wrapped up in Eona's story quickly.