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Eon by Alison Goodman

Alison Goodman is an aclaimed fantasy writer who lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband. Her most recent novel is Eona which is the sequel to Eon (aka The Two Pearls of Wisdom) and the conclusion of the Eon duology. Eona was released in Australia and North America in early 2011, and debuted at #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List (Children’s Chapter Books, 8th May) and the Indie Weekly Bestseller List. In the UK, Eona has been released under the title The Necklace of the Gods, and also as a YA edition titled Eona: Return of the Dragoneye. The Eon/Eona duology has been sold into 17 countries, and translated into ten languages.

In a world of lies, the truth can be deadly …

Under the harsh regime of an ambitious master, Eon is training to become a Dragoneye – a powerful Lord able to command wind and water to protect the land. But Eon also harbours a desperate secret – he is in fact a young woman living a dangerous masquerade that, if discovered, will mean certain death.

Brought to the attention of the Emperor himself and summoned to the opulent court, Eon is thrust into the heart of a lethal struggle for the Imperial throne. In this new, treacherous world of hidden identities and uneasy alliances, Eon comes face-to-face with a vicious enemy who covets the young Dragoneye’s astounding power, and will stop at nothing to make it his own.

Eon is based on the ancient lores of Chinese astrology and Feng Shui. It is a thrilling, timeless novel of deadly politics, sexual intrigue and dazzling swordplay set in a brilliantly envisioned world …

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I slated it for the Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge. I was finally able to get to it, and it did not disappoint! Eon has a unique background: rooted in Chinese and Japanese culture and transformed into something both familiar and alien at the same time. The dragons are a wonderful addition to the story, and I loved how the author used them.

The story is based on the age old tale of a woman having to work hard to make it in a man’s world, but it is handed intelligently and there is a wonderful mystery surrounding the issue. In Eon’s world, it is thought that women are unworthy of the powers of a Dragoneye, and that they are too soft and unpractical to really be good at anything except sewing and gossiping. While I hated the prejudice against women, I found Eon’s struggles all the more griping as she (he?) tried to hide her deadly secret. 

The characters make Eon a delight to read, with their depth and realistic attitudes. The villains were properly terrifying in their psychotic nature, and the heroes were endearing. I found Lord Ido interesting but repulsive at the same time. His ambition scared me and his philosophies were so outrageous that I was genuinely mystified by them for a while. Eon’s struggles to understand her own nature were very well written and I sympathised with her a lot.

Eon is a great book, which I enjoyed reading immensely. A word of warning, you really want to have access to the sequel, Eona, when you are reading this book, because I think it would be very difficult to wait to find out what happens! 

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