Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Eona

by Alison Goodman
Start Date: 15 July 2011
End Date: 19 July 2011
Hardcover, 637 pages
Published April 19th 2011

Summary (from Goodreads):
Spoilers for Eon, highlight to read.
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. . . .

Eona, with its pulse-pounding drama and romance, its unforgettable fight scenes, and its surprises, is the conclusion to an epic only Alison Goodman could create.

My Review:
Eona was a fantastic read, but I personally was not as interested in Eona as Eon. In Eon, I couldn't read fast enough, staying up all night to finish it for multiple nights in a row (I couldn't possibly finish it in one; Eon is over 500 pages long). Seeing Eon try to learn how to navigate the circumstances she's been thrust into was incredible to read about, and left me wanting more. Which brings me to Eona. When I first received it in the mail, I was ecstatic. It was huge and wonderful, and I was so excited to read it. But while I was reading it, I wasn't picking it up at every possible moment, trying to figure out what could possibly happen next. I simply didn't care as much.

One reason was that the situation seemed so extreme. Eona's allies are all stripped away, leaving her utterly alone and with no control over her powers or the unfolding plots taking place all around her. She tries to do the best thing, but over and over, she is thrown into a situation with no right answer. I kept getting frustrated with the lack of solutions, with the overwhelming negative consequences when Eona is forced to choose the lesser of two evils again and again.

Another was the romance, which didn't seem completely natural. I understand where the characters were coming from (one of Goodman's strengths) but I didn't agree with them. The romance between Kygo and Eona I could get, but not between Eona and Ido. It seemed a bit like everyone was suddenly attracted to Eona out of nowhere.  (Spoiler for Eona, highlight to view).

The third thing that kept Eona from being as captivating as Eon had been was the fact that much of the time, I had absolutely no idea where the story was going. There didn't seem to be any long-term plan, and the characters seemed to be making things up as they went. For example, I still have no idea why they moved where they did (sorry, trying to keep this as spoiler-free as possible) other than so that certain essential plot points could occur.

There were quite a few things I liked, even though they weren't enough to hold the story up by themselves. One was the end - wow. Goodman was able to suddenly make me care out of nowhere. I was absolutely convinced that everyone was going to die - Kygo, Ido, Eona, the whole group. (Spoiler for Eona, highlight to view). The last fifty pages or so were fantastic. And the way the story wrapped up was wonderful.

Another high point was the characterization and the world-building. As I mentioned briefly above, it was very clear where each character was coming from, not just Eona. There were no cookie-cutter characters, as everyone seemed very human, complete with many, many flaws and truly human motives. And the world-building was fantastic. It was never a stretch to imagine any of the many settings the characters went through.

Overall thoughts: Worth reading if you enjoyed Eon. If not, don't bother.

2 comments:

Alexa said...

I devoured Eon and Eona in the span of a weekend. The books have become some of my favorite fantasy reads EVER and I thought they were both well-done.

I did experience those moments of frustration though, but my reaction was always to want to yell and smack Eona (in Eona, at least).

Pica said...

I agree, they are both very well done. For such long novels, they go very, very quickly. And I agree, Eona does get... frustrating, to say the least. Thanks for commenting!

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