This is the sequel to Eon, Dragoneye Reborn which I reviewed here early in the month of April 2014. (Go to Archives listed on home page in the left hand column) At that time, I had a copy of Eona in my possession but felt obligated to finish some other reads before delving into the sequel immediately. The latter disciplinary action was not easy and if you go back and read my review of Eon you will get a sense of why that was the case. I am glad that I waited: it made the experience even more delicious.
It is probably only fair to declare upfront that I have a soft spot for all books about dragons. If you do not have such a soft spot and are ambivalent about dragons, I can only offer you my deepest sympathies and encourage you to look elsewhere for your reading pleasure.
Now, to the continuing saga of the celestial dragons and Eona the newest dragoneye and her crimson companion who has not appeared in 500 years, the Mirror Dragon.
It should be noted that some sources have indicated that this book is a standalone or can be treated as such! Let me dispel that notion immediately: unless you don’t like to know the background of a story you are reading then go ahead and expect to be completely at a loss about what is happening in this book. If you are a serious follower of dragons then you would never question reading the first book first so we shall say no more.
From the Preface written by Prahn(teacher,Imperial Librarian and tutor of His Majesty, Kygo, rightful heir to the Imperial throne), son of Mikor, “on this twentieth day of the new Rat Dragon”: “I can confirm a report that Lord Ido – the Rat Dragoneye – was instrumental in killing almost all of his fellow Dragoneyes and their apprentices in the quest for their power…I saw the bodies and we have all felt the tremors in the earth…Now the only Dragoneye Lords alive are the treacherous Lord Ido and the new Mirror Dragoneye, Lord Eon, who was seen escaping the palace. Lord Ido’s apprentice – Dillon – is also believed to have escaped.
…No one knows the whereabouts of Lord Eon. I pray that he is hidden far from the City. I know that he was under the protection of Ryko, one of the elite Shadow Men guards, and Lady Dela, a twin soul with a man’s body and a woman’s spirit…it can only be hoped that their combined skills will keep the young Dragoneye safe. Amid all the fear and lies circulating the Palace, a foul whisper has arisen that Lord Eon, a brother eunuch, is in fact a girl.” As readers, of course, we have more information than Teacher Prahn and we are much more optimistic about the future of the youngest Dragoneye but we shall let the teacher continue as he updates or reminds us about the story to date.”
“I do not know how our Empire can survive with only two Dragoneyes and their beasts to control the elements, especially when one Dragoneye is an imprisoned traitor and the other an untrained boy. Although Lord Eon is quick and clever, he cannot control the earth energies by himself. For as long as can be remembered, it has taken the combined power of eleven Dragoneyes and their beasts to nurture the land. When the missing twelfth dragon – the Mirror Dragon – returned from exile and chose Lord Eon as the first Mirror Dragoneye in five hundred years, it was seen as an omen of renewed strength and good fortune. I pray that this is so, and that the return of the Mirror Dragon to the Circle of Twelve spirit beasts is not an omen of annihilation. A resistance force has long been gathering against Lord Sethon’s brutal war-mongering, but now they will have to stand against the entire army, and such a struggle will tear our land apart.”
In addition to the political setting described above there is the problem of the ten bereft dragons whose dragoneyes have been murdered. The only two remaining are Lord Ido’s blue Rat Dragon in the north-northwest and Eon’s red dragon in the east: “The Mirror Dragon. The queen. The other ten dragons had still not returned from wherever spirit beasts fled to grieve.”
“Tentatively, I formed our shared name in my mind – Eona – and called her power. Her answer was immediate: a rush of golden energy that cascaded through my body. I rode the rising joy, reveling in the union. …Deep within me, a sweet greeting unfurled – the wordless touch of her dragon spirit against mine – leaving the arm spice of cinnamon on my tongue.”
Then an attack by the returning dragons crashed into them: “sorrow tore at my hold on earth and heaven, I was spinning, the bonds of mind and body stretched and splitting. I had to get out or I would be destroyed.” Then she realized they would not attack their queen but that meant there was a new problem. “Perhaps this was the start of the String of Pearls, the weapon that brought together the power of all twelve dragons – a weapon born from the death of every Dragoneye except one.”
And so Eona begins to reflect upon what she needs to do. She has to learn to direct the Mirror Dragon’s power and also the force of ten spirit-beasts “reeling from the brutal slaughter of their Dragoneyes”. She has to study the red folio that has been passed to her through her ancestor Kinra which is written in Woman Script and which holds the secret of her hereditary power passed through the female bloodline, the only hereditary Dragoneye power in the circle of twelve. Eona’s union with the Mirror Dragon had heeled her lame hip and she could now run and walk without pain or limp but she was facing incredible challenges. Her friend and supporter Ryko was dying of terrible injuries. Rain, storms, floods and earthquakes were threatening the land. And their General, Tozay, was warning that they must move on before Lord Sethon’s armies were upon them.
All of the above information is conveyed in the first eleven pages in the second installment of this exciting story. Oh, and there is romance too but you will have to read about that as it is unfair and unkind to reveal all. And what of the future of Eona and the Mirror Dragon? What happens to Lord Ido? Dillon? Ryko? Dela? Vida…oh, sorry, you haven’t met her yet.
Do visit Alison Goodman’s website http://www.alisongoodman.com.au/ to learn more about her and her writing.