From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—In this Asian-inspired fantasy world, political power belongs to the emperor, but also to the Dragoneyes: men who harness the power of the 12 energy dragons named for animals from the Chinese zodiac. Each year, a new one comes to power, and the dragon itself chooses a new apprentice from a pool of 12-year-old boys. Physically lame Eon is thought least likely to be chosen and also has a secret: Eon is truly Eona, a 16-year-old girl. At the ceremony, the Rat Dragon chooses fellow trainee Dillon for the role of apprentice. Eon thinks that all is lost until she sees a dragon no one has seen in 400 years: the Dragon Dragon—also known as the Mirror Dragon. The Mirror Dragon chooses Eon as an apprentice, and because there is no current Mirror Dragoneye, she must serve on the Dragoneye Council herself. She is thus plunged into the dangerous world of the court, which is sharply divided between the emperor and ruthless Lord Ido, the powerful Rat Dragoneye. Fans of Tamora Pierce will appreciate both the strong female protagonist and the cast of shrewd misfits who support her. Although the pace is initially slow, patient readers will be rewarded with high-stakes action in a well-crafted fantasy universe. A second volume will follow, but this one has an ending satisfying enough that readers will not feel cheated.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library
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Since J. K. Rowling's ascendance to the throne of young-adult fantasy (and the recent challenge to the throne waged by Stephanie Meyer and her Twilight
series), the genre has made significant inroads into mainstream fiction. In Eon: Dragoneye Reborn
, first published in Australia, Alison Goodman takes advantage of that interest, crafting a tale full of the elements that have become familiar to readers -- and a few that haven't, particularly her clever take on gender and identity. Goodman is a fine storyteller, turning what could have been boilerplate fantasy into something engaging and important. Only one critic commented on a lack of tension. Eon
will appeal to both adolescents and adults, and readers of both types will certainly clamor for the planned sequel.Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC