For most boys, the most ambitious position to aspire to is that of Dragoneye, one of twelve lords who each command an element-controlling dragon of the zodiac. At age twelve, Eon has trained his whole life to secure an apprenticeship. Although disabled, he holds the distinct advantage of being able to see all 12 dragons. However, Eon is actually Eona, a 16-year old girl who risks everything, as failing to succeed or being caught as female carries deadly consequences.
I read Eon several years ago as a random choice from a bookstore, and was surprised to find myself completely drawn into the complexities of the world. Though primarily based off of Chinese tradition, the world of Eon incorporates elements from multiple cultures, creating an interesting history that precedes the story, and is slowly revealed. Although a fantasy novel, the book incorporates elements of action, mystery, and romance while exploring meaningful themes of power and identity. I read the story of Eona’s struggle with identity when I was a tween, and much of what I understood about gender and identity was challenged. The experience of reading this book still shapes my understanding even today
Fans of high fantasy might enjoy this book as a break from their traditional reads, as it has broadly original folklore while still having much magic incorporated into the narrative. I found myself completely drawn in by the dragons of a zodiac I was already well familiar with, and to this day I haven’t read any fantasy quite like it. Once you are hooked like me, you can move on to the second book, Eona.
-Nikki, a (Dusen)Berry Blogger and member of the River Teen Advisory Board