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Review: Eona

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Title:Eona

Author:Alison Goodman

Series: Book 2, Final

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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Synopsis

Following the events of the first book, Eona takes on her role as the new Mirror Dragoneye and sets off with her friends and allies to find the Pearl Emperor, Kygo, and help him reclaim his rightful throne. Along the way, she will discover a truly amazing power held by her dragon which will have unexpected consequences and will come to learn a terrible truth about the Dragoneye’s power. 

divider-51Favorite Characters

I think my favorite character had to be Lady Dela, the Contraire because of how she constantly kept everything in perspective and was honest throughout the novel. I also loved that Contraires–a person who feels they are born into the wrong body/sex and dress/live as the opposite gender (basically transgender/transexual)–were celebrated in the Eastern tribes.

divider-51Favorite Scenes

Ugh, this is going to be difficult. I didn’t have too many “favorite” scenes, just moments that I marked down as kind of important (which were usually irritating because of what certain characters said), and which all kind of contain spoilers, but I will do my best.

► I think one scene that I liked was when Eona and her friends were trying to sneak past Sethon’s soldiers disguised as a man, wife, and their servants. What I liked was that Goodman humanized the enemy for Eona, and showed that not all of the men serving Sethon were terrible. In the traditions of the empire, a woman who has had a miscarriage or stillbirth is seen as a sign of bad luck which most people try to avoid. However, if they make a trip shortly after to the Moon Lady Waters it is believed to kind of cleanse them and bring good luck so that they may have another child later on. In this scene, the Lieutenant is very kind to Eona (the “wife”) and empathizes with her in a way that makes it difficult for her to see him as an enemy.

As they walked out of earshot, Haddo said softly, “Do not be distressed, madam. My own wife had the same kind of sickness. . . afterward.” He gestured at my white robe. “We found good fortune at the Moon Lady Waters. I’m sure the gods will return your health too, and favor you with another son.”

► One of my favorite quotes in the book was in this scene (although it was more of a quote from a “poet” in the story), but it was also about how bold and honest Eona could be with Kygo, the Pearl Emperor, despite the possible consequences. Kygo is discussing some of his battle plans and asks Eona for her opinion. Women are seen as bad luck, less intelligent/capable of intelligence, and are just plain treated as being below men throughout the story, but Kygo acknowledges what Eona has to say not only because she has rank now as a Dragoneye, but because what she says often helps bring perspective.

“I think this arrogance is the key to my uncle. What do you think?”

“When a man lifts his chin in pride, he cannot see the chasm at his feet,” I said, quoting the great poet Cho. I frowned, teasing out the idea of Sethon as a man weakened by arrogance. It did not feel right. “High Lord Sethon has waged many battles and not been tripped up by pride,” I said. “It might even be the core of his success.”

The emperor smiled. “You have not disappointed me, Lady Eona”

► The final scene I’ll mention is when Eona is preparing another disguise to enter the palace, and she shares a conversation with another woman regarding Kygo. The whole bit has these really tense undertones like they are testing one another and seeing what each other’s feelings are.

“He has given you his blood, and the moment when he crossed into manhood,” she said, and pressed my fingers around the ring again. Her smile was as tight as my heart.

For a moment I felt victorious, as though I had won some silent battle between us. Then I looked down at her hand enclosing my own, and in my mind all I could see were those long, pale fingers moving slowly across Kygo’s sacred skin.

I had not even stepped into the arena.

divider-51Review

This was something I mentioned in my updates post, but basically I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did Eon. There were just too many moments where the characters annoyed me because of their constant mistrust, demands, and ingratitude.

Most of what I bookmarked throughout the book was those moments (just so I could keep track). The part that bothered me most I think was how Lady Dela first demanded that Eona help Ryko, then later continued to throw it in her face that her help had these negative consequences despite knowing that Eona had never meant for it to happen (and she didn’t even know it would). Following that Ryko is constantly questioning Eona and just fails to trust her at every turn. He constantly brings up this negative side effect as if she had done it on purpose. He even goes so far as to “warn” a few people about her instead of trusting that she was doing to tell them herself. It’s not until probably the last quarter of the book that he even starts to trust her again. It was all just really agitating.

I don’t think any of this was because it was written poorly… maybe just thrown in the reader’s face too much. Less would’ve been better. I think the characters were still pretty well fleshed out. They were easy to understand, their choices–it’s just their choices were annoying haha.

I hardly found any big “favorite” scenes like I did with my last review, but I think that is hardly a fair comparison since the tone in both books was completely different. In Eon/Eona there’s just a different feel from other books I’ve read recently. I think the time period also works to set that tone. It just felt kind of hard to read through all the traditions (the bowing, procedural stuff), though at the same time I liked reading little bits of the–I guess you would call it world-building? Like the scene with the Moon Lady Waters, or the different poets quoted throughout.

Another issue I had with the book was the sudden romance thrust upon the two main characters. I think this may be because it’s a two book series, so it was kind of short. Still, it was really intense right off the bat due to Eona’s ancestress (not too many spoilers) kind of bumping it up a notch. I guess it was just such a sharp turn from Eona starting to be a friend to Kygo in the first book (when she was a “boy”) to her now being revealed as a female and now suddenly Kygo seems interested in her romantically.

Again, because it is only two books, I felt that the plot was really rushed at times or just too much at once. I think if more of what was revealed from the folios (notebooks that contain secrets about Dragonpower) was worked into Eon and spread out, it wouldn’t have seemed like such a desperate sprint for the end of the story to fit.

Still, I enjoyed the plot more than I thought I would considering I had kind of a hard time starting this book. About halfway through the book, I was really enjoying how everything was going, but I think during the last third it just took off because I finished it all in about an hour and a half last night.

Eona is a book that is kind of slow to go through at first, but if you’ve read Eon and liked it then I would say give the second book a chance–finish it. Overall, it wasn’t a bad conclusion to the series, but the decision to make it a two-book series may have negatively impacted it as it forced everything to move faster (a bit too fast in my opinion).

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