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Eon by Alison Goodman
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Eon (edition 2010)

by Alison Goodman (Author)

Series: Dragoneye (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,5941445,738 (3.92)1 / 87
Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl.
Member:emilee.marshall
Title:Eon
Authors:Alison Goodman (Author)
Info:Firebird (2010), Edition: Reprint, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

Eon by Alison Goodman

  1. 61
    Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (shadrach_anki, Caramellunacy, 0628perfect)
    shadrach_anki: There are definite similarities in theme between these two books, but each has its own take on it.
    Caramellunacy: Both of these stories are fantasy stories about a girl disguising herself as a boy in order to be allowed to apprentice & learn to fight. Alanna learns to wield both sword and magic as a knight & mage. Eon(a) is chosen to be a dragoneye and must learn to wield the political and magical power this brings.… (more)
    0628perfect: In both Eon and this book the main female protaganist have to hide their identities. They have to pretend to be boys to survive in the world.
  2. 40
    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (notemily)
    notemily: DRAGONS!
  3. 00
    Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott (stephxsu)
    stephxsu: Similar strong female protagonist, engaging fantasy world, martial arts action
  4. 00
    Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (bluehighlighter)
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» See also 87 mentions

English (140)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Latin (1)  All languages (145)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
As I mentioned in my review of [b:Pantomime|15797050|Pantomime (Micah Grey, #1)|Laura Lam|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348428535s/15797050.jpg|19161274], I recently returned this to the library. No plans to pick it up again unless I'm really getting back into sword-and-sorcery fantasy novels, because I think that's what I was missing. I probably would have loved this in high school, but (luckily) I'm not in high school anymore!

I read up to the point that the trans woman character was introduced (and she sounds pretty great), but it also became clear at that point it was going to become a long politics-power-and-subterfuge kind of plot, and I didn't sufficiently care for the main character or the magic system (although the rest of the Asian-influenced culture was showing potential) to stick it out.
  caedocyon | Feb 23, 2024 |
While a lot of crossdressing adventure stories deal with issues of gender and sexism in some way, very few acknowledge transgender people, let alone engage with the trans perspective on gender. This is a damn shame.
Eon bucks the trend by accepting transgender experiences as central to its discussion of gender. The book does this in several ways: first, transgender experiences are acknowledged by having the main character discuss gender issues with a transgender woman. In addition, transgender experiences are acknowledged in the rules of the world's story: Eon has its main character perform a setting-appropriate equivalent of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), imbibing a substance that will help her emulate maleness in the same way that testosterone is used by real life trans men.*
Most powerfully, the main character's arc echoes the emotional experiences of many trans people. Her crossdressing ruse is not merely a physical inconvenience, but also mentally taxing and spiritually painful. The experience almost destroys her in the same way that being forced to live contrary to one's gender often destroys the lives of trans people. And the pain of living at odds with herself combines with the main character's other struggles, such as her disability and internalized sexism, to create a tortured but realistic inner world.
In spite of a few imperfections, Eon's portrayal of the transgender experience is both functional and sincere. My big question is this: why isn't the main character just a trans girl? It feels like all the groundwork for that choice is there. Sure, there's a lot more precedent for the crossdressing cis girl narrative than for what I suggest (especially in 2008, when this was published), but that disparity makes placing a trans protagonist into that narrative all the more powerful and groundbreaking. In fact, such a book would still be groundbreaking if it was published today. In many ways, Eon is ahead of its times, but I can't help feeling that it didn't go far enough.

* While a lot of media attention outside of transgender circles is focused on surgery as the primary goal of those transitioning, quite a few trans people consider the hormonal changes caused by HRT a more significant part of their transition, showing that Goodman's knowledge of trans issues is more than surface level. ( )
  Sammelsurium | Jan 5, 2023 |
Incredibly well done, immersive and enjoyable. ( )
  fionaanne | Nov 28, 2022 |
Short Review: Overall, an entertaining read. I normally don't bother with books with such a singular focus on politics and simple personalities, but somehow--despite wanting to get the story over with--I kept reading. I attribute this to good use of words on the page. The beginning promised swords, life force-wielding, and dragons. The middle was a lot of waiting, anticipating, political stagnation. The end got back to the beginning i.e. what one would have gotten exciting about the book actually containing. I never got excited except at two clever plot twists. I got angry at the book at a point, but fortunately the author didn't stick with that twist too long. Never got bored. Good writing, good story telling, unique take, but I disliked the actual story.

Long Review: First off, I do regard Alison Goodman as a good writer and story teller. All of my criticism has more to do with the style of the book not meeting my preferences. I figure this book to be the YA fantasy equivalent of Dan Brown's books. It reads fast and is entertaining, but many elements to the story are one dimensional. "Linear" is the word I kept thinking about in the back 2/3 of the story. Allow me to elaborate.

Who is Eon/a? She can see all the celestial dragons--a rare ability. Prior to the story line she learned how to manipulate energy, write, and spar with swords. She hides her sex and is Mulan-esque for her reasons. What else? Well, perhaps she's a bit like Katnis from The Hunger Games. She does what she thinks she has to to survive.

That's it. A black-and-white thinking survivalist. Normally I wouldn't mind, but there's no supporting characters to add color and humor and the only thing to survive is politics.

I picked up this book. The synopsis and first 1/3 of the book led me to believe this was about spirit energy, dragons, swords, and a strong heroine. What I got was a story delaying all of that. It was all politics, a stifling culture where everyone blindly follows protocol and don't think for themselves. The enemy was obvious but know one would unite and do anything about it. There was no need for half of the secrets the main character kept. Minimal comraderie, though I did like Rilla and Dela--Ryko fit among other characters. Even though he was likeable, his attitude swayed with the plot like a TV show that had run its course and the character's personalities shift just to provide drama.

Essentially, this was plot driven and many times sacrificed consistent and believable characters.

There was also this bizarre concept of gender in this story. Like one's clothing and role choices yielded a definitive, black and white, transition between male and female. Perhaps this just seemed this way because the character was the sort to react to the world around her and not have an independent sense of identity. Perhaps that's touched on in the sequel. But even the way other characters react to her suggest that identity is purely external--or perhaps to support my idea that the characters are unnaturally linear, they don't intellectually recognize more depth to people and situations.

The world was intriguing. It's mostly Chinese, but names could be anything from English to Japanese--as long as there was a vowel and an 'n' at the end. Hua, the spirit energy or "magic" of the story, resembled chi or even chakra in principle.

Overall, an entertaining read. I normally don't bother with books with such a singular focus on politics and simple personalities, but somehow--despite wanting to get the story over with--I kept reading. I attribute this to good use of words on the page. Good writing, good story telling, unique take, but I hated the actual story. ( )
  leah_markum | Oct 28, 2022 |
DNF 40 percent:
The worldbuilding was not the best since we never find out where its set in (China? Possibly)
I struggled to read even that much of the story, it felt like it was dragging. It did start off ok though.
I just don't think Alison Goodman books are for me. ( )
  crazynerd | Mar 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my dear friend, Karen McKenzie
First words
No one knows how the first Dragoneyes made their dangerous bargain with the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Published as Eon: Dragoneye Reborn in the US, as Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye in the UK, and in Australia as The Two Pearls of Wisdom (adult edition) and Eon (YA edition)
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Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl.

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