Short blog number 2 from Simon Barrett on Alison Goodman's titles Eon and Eona.
For me Eon by Alison Goodman was one of the best books of 2008. It seemed to create a whole new cosmology drawing inspiration from Imperial China, in which the reader follows the struggles of a young girl, Eon, disguising her gender to become a Dragoneye, someone who can control the energy of a spiritual Dragon. Eon more than achieves her aims and becomes the Mirror Dragoneye. Joy turns to despair as a brutal rebellion usurps the Emperor’s throne and turns Eon’s world upside down.
I was therefore looking forward to Eona, the sequel to Eon, in which the Lord Dragoneye is recognised as a Lady Dragoneye, helping the rebels to fight and restore the rightful heir to the throne. I suppose, like many sequels in which the heroes have fallen so far and the forces gathering against them so powerful, it is a dark and doubtful start to the story. The sense of mistrust and betrayal heavily weighs on the main characters of Eona, the courtesan Dela and Eona’s bodyguard Ryko. This lack of shared fate seems to dampen the story, whilst perhaps emphasising Eona’s solitude. The author, Alison Goodman, also adds complexity to the cosmology of the Dragons to slowly reveal the true relationship between the Imperial Throne, the Dragoneyes and the spiritual powers of the Dragons. Eona gathers pace, building up to the ultimate showdown between heaven and earth.
Alison Goodwin’s decision to write a duology is perhaps unusual in the current world of children’s literature. The main story of the two books is straight-forward, however it is the complexity of the characters that enrich the story and is what I particularly enjoyed. Two books however does not seem enough. Without giving away the ending I had hoped for a happier ending. This is however the world of fantasy and not fairy stories.