Review: Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman

Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman

Title: Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye (Eon #1)
Author: Alison Goodman
Genre: Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: David Fickling Books (1st January 2010)

Two swords, angled for slicing, came whirring towards my chest. My block was simple: a step of the back leg, a shift os weight, my right sword joining the left in front of me, cutting side slanted down. His blades hit mine. The impact resonated through my arm bones.

Does young Eon have the power to become a Dragoneye? Now the years of gruelling training, under a ruthlessly ambitious master, will be put to the test: it’s time for the terrifying Rat Dragon to choose his next apprentice.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Reading this book reminded me of why I like the sword and sorcery/high fantasy genre so much. It has everything a girl could ask for: sword fighting, dragons, magic and crossdressing. Eon also takes a slightly different slant to what you’d expect in those kinds of books.

The sword and sorcery sub-genre of fantasy has long been a favourite of mine, it was actually the reason I moved from teen books to adult books. There just weren’t that many sword and sorcery books in teen literature when I was a teen. So when I first heard of Eon, I will admit that I was intrigued. On the surface, Eon has everything I look for in a good sword and sorcery book: I was not disappointed.

Eon was a really engaging read, and once I started reading I could not put the book down. In a lot of ways, this book reminded me of Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet. Like Alanna, Eona disguises herself as a boy in order to become a Dragoneye – she becomes Eon. However, where Alanna uses the disguise to empower herself, the guise of being a boy is thrust on Eona by her master – and he goes to great lengths to ensure her identity as a girl remains hidden. This aspect of the book made me a little uncomfortable. I would have much preferred Eona to have had the ambition and drive to become a Dragoneye herself. Having said that, I think by doing it that way Goodman adds a lot of tension to the book. I also thought it was an interesting choice to give Eon a physical disability, and I think on the whole it worked really well within the narrative.

One of the things that I most enjoyed about Eon was that instead of being set within a Western fantasy folklore, it instead used Eastern – it felt like Goodman really drew upon Chinese ideas about dragons,astrology, chi and feudalism. It was really interesting to read, as not a lot of the books I’ve read in the sword and sorcery genre use Eastern folklore as a source; it created a really interesting and fascinating world.

If you are a fan of sword and sorcery/high fantasy then you should definitely give Eon a try.  I am really looking forward to getting my hands on Eona, the final part of the duology.

4 thoughts on “Review: Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman

  1. As you say, this book is a good example of High Fantasy based on a non-Western culture, which is becoming a trend in the genre with books such as The Girl of Fire and Thorns or to some extent Shadow and Bone. Great review!


  2. You’re welcome! The Girl of Fire and Thorns draws upon the Spanish and Northern African cultures, Shadow and Bone is based on the 19th C. Russian empire and there’s also Shadowdancer, based on the japanese culture. Happy reading!


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