Goodreads Rating: 4.00
Swordplay, dragon magic--and a hero with a desperate secret
Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye--an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.
But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.
When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.
** note ** Many people who pick up this book, begin reading with anticipations that this is like the Disney movie, Mulan. Please, for the sake of your own enjoyment, don't go in with this same thought. It may sound like Mulan, but it is completely different, in a good way :)
For someone like me, who has been on a huge Asian culture kick for a while, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the Eastern Asian use of the Chinese calendar and combining it with one of my favorite mythical creatures.... dragons! They also add in some details about chakras, which I also really enjoyed :) The characters didn't really pull me in and I didn't fall head over heels in love with the book, but it was a very entertaining read none the less.
The biggest thing I loved, was obviously the combination of dragons with the Chinese zodiac. I absolutely loved the author's set up of the world where people chosen by these dragons, called Dragoneyes (and who are the only ones who can see the mythic dragons), use their dragons powers to control aspects of the world. The blatant sexism that exists in this world (that women are good only for their bodies and not for their minds or spirit) did put me off for a bit. I was hoping for more of a female heroine who had more of a "a girl can do anything a man can" attitude, but I rolled with it and ended up happy at the end, much as I anticipated.
The characters didn't really pull me in, to the point where I don't really have a favorite. I liked Eona, but for some reason I didn't connect with her very much. I felt for her and her struggles but I think my biggest frustration with her was that she, like the rest of the world, viewed being female as being bad. I wanted to shout, "Look at all the awesome stuff you are doing! And you are female! Girl rock it! Show them who is boss!!"
The action in the book was pretty cool as well. I mean, I'm always game for a big sword fight, though I wish I had a better description of how some of the moves were done. The action also really picks up in the last 100 or so pages, so when you get there, don't plan on putting the book down for a while. I ended up majorly predicting the ending sadly (though there was an element with Ido I didn't see coming... no spoilers here), including a lot with the mystery of the Mirror Dragon, but I was happy it turned out the way I thought it would, because I think I'd be majorly disappointed if it happened any other way. Overall, a nice happy ending that I really enjoyed.
The other thing I liked with the ending was how it was tied to the beginning, kind of bringing things full circle :) That was a pleasant surprise.
Overall, a very enjoyable read. I'm not in a huge rush to pick up the second book but it won't be too long before my curiosity pulls me to it.
The Court's Decision: