Eona is the long-awaited sequel to award-winning novel Eon: Dragoneye Reborn from Australian author Alison Goodman. Eona is a true sequel in every sense; while a preface explaining the events of the first book will be provided with Eona, new readers should pick up Eon: Dragoneye Reborn first (and stop reading this review – you’ve been warned).
Ido, the visible and personal evil of Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, has been defeated and Sethon, the somewhat faceless power depicted in the first book, has taken over. Eona and the true emperor Kygo are in hiding from the usurper. Eona is learning more about the nature of her power and heritage, guiding her to a course of action at the same time as explosions of her ability make it impossible to remain in hiding. Eona and Kygo are forced to enlist Ido’s aid in confronting Sethon, with no certainty of success and no true understanding of how to bring about victory.
Eona is woman, hear her (dragon) roar
Unsurprisingly the depth and maturity of the themes has increased. Eona has (very quickly) embraced both womanhood and her role as the Mirror Dragoneye. Love, trust and issues of free will have taken over from Eon: Dragoneye Reborn’s journey of self-discovery and exploration of gender politics. Sex is on the table, so to speak, and though Goodman never writes explicitly, there are moments of intensity that may have some readers loosening their collars.
Goodman has set Eona up with two potential interests, one who represents humility and another who asks her to embrace all of the power available to her. It is never obvious which path Eona will take, as unavoidable choices pull her back and forth and demand that she keep secrets from her closest friends.
I liked her better as a boy
Having cast off her underdog status, Eona is less likable. This is not necessarily an indictment of the book; Goodman is able to rely on the sympathy established for her characters in Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, so she has no need to pull punches in Eona. Eona is faced with a seemingly endless series of ethical conflicts and her choices will not always be the ‘right’ ones in the mind of the reader, but they are always Eona’s choices.
A small step up from the typical young adult novel?
Goodman seems to have anticipated the maturation of her audience. This is reflected in both the themes and structure of the book. In comparison to Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, events in Eona have slowed down dramatically. An apparent time-bomb is established at the beginning (Kygo has seven days to reclaim the throne or Sethon becomes the legitimate ruler) but never followed through. The final revelations about the true nature of the pearls and dragon magic are drawn out – although the wait is worth it.
Similarly, Goodman avoids easy, ‘black and white’ moralising, particularly through Eona’s difficult decision-making and the re-introduction of Ido. Ido maintains a disturbing ‘grey area’ presence to be contrasted with Sethon’s obvious (and occasionally overblown) evil.
Why should you read this book?
The simple answer is because you read Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. Eona provides a satisfying conclusion to the series that brings the characters and their story to a fitting conclusion yet avoids retreading the same ground.
Michael received a review copy of this book courtesy of Penguin.