Tuesday, January 10, 2012

She Said, He Said • The Ferocity of a Dragon

As I said early on in the year, I'm going to be introducing some new features on the blog - and this is a test run of one of them. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd love it if you showed your support for She Said, He Said. This is basically just a snazzy way of saying that it's a joint review by me and my boyfriend Macky.

Today's Books

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn book cover
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Series: Eon #1
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 26, 2008
Source/Format: Won from Shanella (Thanks!) || Hardcover

Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragon-eye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and, if discovered, Eon faces a terrible death. After a dazzling sword ceremony, Eon's affinity with the twelve dragons catapults him into the treacherous world of the Imperial court, where he makes a powerful enemy, Lord Ido.

Eona: The Last Dragoneye book cover
Eona: The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman
Series: Eon #2
Publisher: Viking 
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Source/Format: Won from Shanella (Thanks!) || Hardcover

Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon's army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona's power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled "Emperor" Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power-and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans...


Writing Style & Tone: What's Good, What's Whut and What's Awesome

Alexa: Honestly, I'm still in super gush mode over these books. I can't believe I only read them last December - and I'm so grateful to you Macky for putting Eon in my hands! The mythology and even the culture and society the books were set in was presented clearly and logically (well, as much as you can do so in a fantasy world). I just found myself drawn in by the lyrical, steady writing style the author possessed. While the story often careened from calm to action-packed and back again, I thought, overall, that the pacing was done brilliantly. While you read the whole novel, there's a sense of urgency that underlies everything going on - and this is true of both novels - and Alison Goodman writes that urgency into every single scene quite well.

Macky: The first thing that surprised me about the writing style is that the culture in Eona’s world is so very, very distinct. The vernacular, the way people speak, their choice of words - it’s so consistent that you’d think Allison Goodman was Chinese (when really she's very Australian... I think). The culture and the history that frame Eona’s world are so intricate and well constructed that you literally feel the constriction our main character is born into. The imagery and the character interactions, on the other hand, are so lush and realistic, you’ll forget every so often that there are dragons. The way she captures everyone’s thoughts and the nuances of each relationship are so well written you will literally feel like you’re right there next to Eona as she moves from insignificance to greatness. The way Allison Goodman has written Eon and Eona is so unique: it starts out with a lush and harsh world framing a dull and desperate young girl, who eventually accomplishes amazing things and shines brighter than the world she was birthed in. Overall, the way the author has woven this tale can be summarized in one word: breathtaking.

Character Study: Who is Eon/Eona? 

Alexa: Eon/Eona is both my heroine and someone I want to toss a shoe at. I have not, in quite a while, felt as provoked and as emotional when reading a novel (I think the last time that it was this intense was when I read The Hunger Games - this is very similar to my feelings about Katniss). I found myself alternating between being proud of her choices and in awe of her talent, and wanting to yell at her and throw wine in her face. She was infuriating, occasionally rash and stupid and overwrought with emotion - but the vulnerability and the courage that she demonstrated, as well as her good heart with good intentions is what kept me rooting for her. I got so invested because she's the underdog type who just has that special something about her. I always felt like there was a reason she'd been chosen by her master and a reason that she had to act the way she did. And when that major twist finally came into play, well, you can bet that I was rooting for her even more - girl power and all that jazz!

Macky: I gotta say: I’m not crushing on Eona. I mean, I love my warrior heroines and Eona is certainly one for the books. When I met Eona, she was masquerading as Eon and trying to escape death by gaining honor. By the time I finished Eona, I was proud of her. Her transition from Eon to Eona came at a price. And the choices she made make her, in my opinion, simply amazing. I wouldn’t date her. But I’d vote her for class protector at the prom any day (that’s a Buffy allusion for you youngsters). I’m proud of what she’s made of herself. And I’m honored to have journeyed with her to the last page. That’s huge for me because I’m notorious for abandoning books 3 pages in. Horribly flawed, incredibly well meaning, reeling from her past and bracing for her future - Eona is real.

World-Building: The World of the Dragoneyes

Alexa: I was SO THERE. I don't know what kind of magical spell Alison Goodman wove into her words, but I was completely mesmerized by her storytelling, her descriptions, her foundations of the crazy society and legends and mythology that these wonderful characters lived in. I was so invested in both novels - I cried, I laughed, I sighed, I yelled - but I couldn't put either one down. It was all I could do to make myself stop reading so that I could get a decent amount of sleep and food in my system. I'm sure you can attest to my all-consuming love for this world. 

Macky: Boy oh boy, was I so there! I mean, talk about a rich and well made world where a young girl has made a desperate gamble. I remember taking Eon to work with me a couple of years ago and I finished it in a few hours (because we were still on training and had so much downtime). This poor crippled girl trying to take her painful stab at greatness drew me into her struggle. It was like a car-wreck you can’t look away from - you just have to know what happens next. And that’s just the first part of it! When the magic stuff starts to happen, suddenly the mythos hooks you. Like now that you know how the whole dragons thing works from the inside and Eon’s caught up in the middle of it... well, they’ve got you. And, finally, all the political intrigue and the bonds forged within the struggle are so precious. There are really only a handful of characters. But they’re family. They may not say it out loud but the fact that they’ve bonded together over the course of the journey means the stakes of what they’re fighting for get higher.

Recommendations

Alexa: I would definitely recommend the series! I'd recommend it to fans of great fantasy fiction, who love stuff like Tamora Pierce and Garth Nix. In particular, this is suited for those who prefer their stories to revolved around real, flawed, strong female heroines and for those who prefer intricate and interesting new mythos. Alison Goodman creates an unforgettable world, a flawed but incredible heroine and tells a magical, wonderful story.

Macky: If you like strong female characters, go grab a copy of Eon and Eona. If you like dragons and just dragons… well, maybe this story isn’t for you. The book’s more about Eona’s journey framed by the epic historical turning point her story is set in.There’s action. There’s political intrigue and war. There’s magic and dragons. There’s a girl. And there’s a guy. There’s the “gay best friend” every girl ought to have (though technically, the book term is twin-soul). And there’s family. Always family. So, a shout out goes to you, Dragoneye Eona. May we learn how to change our world the way you changed yours.

10 comments:

  1. Hey Daisy! Glad you liked the Buffy. I'm a huge whedon geek so yeah. there will be allusions. :D Eona's a strong woman. Or at least she discovered that she is. :D worth the read if only to see her grow. :D

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  2. Hey there! do check this out. it's really neatly done. :D plus, dragons! haha. but that's just me being a geek.

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  3. Hi Lisa! glad you like the idea! hope we pull it off better. Alexa and i think alike so there's a lot of overlapping. haha. it's a fail or a win depending on who's looking. Enjoy Eon/Eona! Hope you like it as much as we did!

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  4. Hi Kate! there's definitely gonna be more. :D glad you liked it! Alexa and I are working on it. :D

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  5. What a fantastic idea for reviews!!! Good for you! I can't wait to read more.

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  6. Oh cool review style! I have this one on my wishlist but I'm a bit intimidated by them haha. But the characters sounds fantastic and the writing excellent so really I have to check it out soon!

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  7. I love the She Said, He Said! :) And I LOVE strong female characters and if she reminds you of your experience with Katniss, I'm SO in! Love the Buffy reference by the way :)
    I'm very much putting these books on my wishlist!

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  8. 1. Love this idea. Dual perspectives are always nice.
    2. JUST added Eon to my TBR. Like, my physical To Read Bookshelf. YAY!

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  9. Haha, I really enjoyed this. It was fun seeing the different perspectives. I still need to get around to reading Eona eventually... Lol. I read Eon last year, but just haven't had the time.

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  10. You should totally read Eona... if only to just let the other shoe drop already.! It's worth the read if you even liked Eon at all. :D

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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