Click here to download a PDF of the preface and chapter one of EONA from the Penguin USA edition (file size 0.5mb)
SPOILER ALERT: The preface and chapter 1 of EONA contains spoilers about the events in the first book, EON.
Alison will be running the inaugural JAFA Book Club at the
New York Times Bestseller
Necklace of the Gods
UK (Young Adult)
Eona: Return of the Dragoneye
Where there is power, there is betrayal…
Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become a Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is is Eona, the Mirror Dragoneye, her country’s savior—but she has an even more dangerous secret.
She cannot control her power.
Each time she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon, she becomes a conduit for the ten spirit dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered by Lord Ido. Their anguish floods through her, twisting her ability into a killing force, destroying the land and its people.
And another force of destruction is on her trail.
Along with Ryko and Lady Dela, Eona is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades must find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power if he is to wrest back his throne from Sethon. But if Eona is to help Kygo, she must drive a dark bargain with an old enemy that could obliterate them all.
The Spring 2011 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview:
When you’ve been anticipating a book as much as I have this one, there’s a good chance that you will be disappointed. Happily, Goodman’s sequel to the stellar Eon definitely does not disappoint! Facing the ultimate battle for control of the land she calls home, Eona finds herself waging an internal battle every bit as devastating as the war threatening to break out across the kingdom. Goodman’s characters and her world-building talents are exceptionally strong, and I was very sorry to see this saga end. —Billie Bloebaum, Powell’s Books at PDX, Portland, OR
Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, April 2011:
At the Melbourne launch of Eona in April, Alison Goodman said she’d struggled with the process of writing her first sequel, the follow-up to The Two Pearls of Wisdom (aka Eon). Safe to say, she has mastered the art, for this is both a stunning read and a striking how-to for writers.
Eona opens with a neat summary chapter, written as a historical document, that quickly sketches in the required facts to ground the story, and then we’re into it, with nary a slackening of the rising tension. Eona, a female Dragoneye who spent much of her life masquerading as a boy, has a very full plate. She must adjust to the cultural restraints of once again living as a woman in a man’s world; she must harness her magic, tied to a pantheon of mythic dragon spirits that are, as one might expect from the quasi Chinese setting, tied into the well-being of the land; and she must navigate the murky, choppy waters that lie between duty, power and love. Dominating her life are two powerful men: the denied Emperor Kygo and the treacherous Dragoneye Ido. One seeks to claim a throne, the other all the might of the dragons. Both offer intense allure to the young Eona, but can she truly trust the motive of either? For that matter, can she even trust her own feelings when they are so discoloured by her magical abilities and ancestry? The world is sketched with delicate aplomb – enough detail to give a picture of the environment and the society, but not enough to bog down story.
And it’s in story where Eona shines, where the reader will take delight and the writer will take notes. There is no gain without loss, no victory without a bigger challenge ahead, no skirting of hard decisions. Even a bath can become a storyteller’s device to raise the stakes.
Each twist makes sense, thanks to the fine control of characters’ motivations. Even the secondary characters have their lives being lived, with varying degrees of impact on the story, and some adding deft touches of detail to the world. While the usurper Sethon is the closest thing to the stereotypical bad guy – and such a deliciously nasty one, too – Kygo and Ido represent enigmatic hero and villain in which the reader can invest a great deal of emotion as they play their tug-of-war with Eona’s heart.
There is raw bloodshed and beautifully evoked sexual tension, a touch of Gothic family secrets (oh so many secrets!), some powerfully appealing characters such as the tragic Dela and Ryko to name but two, and a compelling journey, not just through a ravaged empire but through Eona’s coming of age. At the end of the day, it is Eona’s character – her nobility and courage and inherent goodness – that will be tested, and it is only at that point in the grand conclusion that she, and the reader, can really know what her decision will be.
Two Pearls came out in 2008, and the intervening wait for this concluding title of the duology has been rewarded with a near flawless conclusion. Eona, published in the UK as the far more romantic Necklace of the Gods, is everything a sequel should be. Whether Goodman, who has a varied back catalogue of consistently superb stories, revisits such mythic fantasy again or turns her attention to another genre remains to be seen, but there is one comfort: based on this and its predecessor, the wait, however long, will be well worth it.—Jason Nahrung
Goodreading Magazine, April 2011:
In some ways it's difficult to write a proper, thoughtful review of these two novels. That's because, from the first page, I became like Bastian opening the covers of The Neverending Story - or perhaps even like a 10-year-old reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the first time. Everything material in my life ceased to exist while I was immersed in Goodman's world of dragons and power and pearls. To say it was engrossing would be an understatement. The kids were hurried off to school, my work was put to one side, washing piled up, the beds went unmade.
The books are set in an imagined land that is something like mediieval China or Japan, and Goodman created the magic from the folklore and history of both of these countries. In the first novel, she introduces Eona, a teenage girl disguised as a young boy and known to all as 'Eon'. She is campaigning, together with 11 other boys, for the revered position of Dragoneye's Apprentice to the Rat Dragon. The dragon selects a candidate in an elaborate ceremony with a huge audience, and the chosen apprentice learns to become a Dragoneye Lord, one who has control over one of the twelve dragons of the land. Each year a new dragon chooses a new apprentice. A Dragoneye Lord has power, wealth and status. He is second in rank only to the Imperial Family.
The tension surrounding Eona's disguise is woven into the bigger story of greed and an impending war over claims to the throne, and many questions about loyalty, power, morality, and corruption are asked as the book progresses. The second novel sees Eona come into her power and face a dilemma about whether she should be using it for war.
The wonderful thing about these books is the way in which Goodman creates her world while you read her story. There are no long passages of information or explanation; I learned the rules of dragon lore and the customs of the land almost subconsciously, as I hurriedly turned the pages to find out what would happen next.
These books are marketed to older teenagers in some markets and as fantasy novels in others. If the thought of a story about teenagers and dragons puts you off, ask yourself if you made an exception about children's fantasy books in order to read the 'Harry Potter' series. If you did, I strongly recommend The Two Pearls of Wisdom (published in some parts of the world as Eon) and Eona. They are cracking good stories. —Reviewed by Sarah Minns.
YA Reads (Mrs Boswell's Bookbag):
Wow, and I mean WOW! I thought Eon was great and then Eona just went and added so much more! One thing I love about this series is the setting. In most fantasy novels, the landscape and and culture are completely made up. While the setting of this series is sculpted by Goodman's imagination, it is still based off of the rich Japanese and Chinese history. The world building is amazing and the character building just continues in this installment. The main characters were well-fleshed in Eon but they continued to grow in Eona. I still loved Eona, Kygo, Ryko, Dela and even Lord Ido eventually found a tiny place in my heart. Eona truly came to find things about herself not only as a warrior and Dragoneye ascendent, but also as a woman. I enjoyed taking that journey with her and learning alongside her. The supporting characters were wonderful, as well. The relationships between all of the characters were impressively written. I loved all the interaction and the action. Eona is much more action-packed compared to Eon. I was not once bored out of nearly 650 pages. I could not put the book down, I had no desire to. I was immediately sucked back into the world Goodman created and I wanted to find out what would happen. Eona is a thrilling end to an enthralling series. I highly recommend this one, as well as Eon, and I can not wait until it comes out to read it again! —Reviewed by Mrs Boswell