I love it when I get a book that I've been looking forward to for quite some time. So when this book landed from Bantam, I remembered Alison quite well, remembered the clever world building and perhaps most of all the character construction and plausibility of their inter relationships.
As with the first the characters are perhaps Alison's strong suit, they come alive and they have flaws alongside strengths to help carry the tale on its merry way. Where perhaps it falls down is the overextended use of dialogue almost as filler rather than keeping it clipped and neat. Whilst for some that may not be a problem, when the battle builds up was on its way I kept wishing that she'd get to the heart of the matter and kick the combat into touch.
That said, it is a minor gripe of mine but one that I felt that I had to add with so many positive things to add. As with the original the prose is poetic, the pace reasonable and when added to the fact that Alison is playing for keeps (clearly demonstrated in this title) it's one that could possibly become controversial with a number of readers as I feel it will fall into the love it or hate it category. Whilst I'm not sure how heart wrenching some of it was for her to write, in my opinion Alison has done the right (or write) thing for her characters, they needed the occurrences, they needed the peril and they needed the adversity, without which they couldn't grown. It'll be interesting to see what Alison hits back with next. On a side note, the series and titles have different names in the US from the UK, so to avoid people rebuying the same books it goes:
Eon: Rise of the Dragon Eye - Pearls of Wisdom
Eona - Necklace of the Gods
on 25 July 2011
This is the second book, leading on from 'Eon'. It took me a long time to get into the first book as the author spent, I felt too long building up the main characters. and for me it only started getting moving towards the second half of the book. so I was very exited about reading this book to really get on to the story. I was not disappointed.
In this book, Eona is coming to terms with dressing and acting as a woman, after so many years being a boy. Also she is torn by the unfamiliar attentions she is receiving by two very powerful and different men, not knowing whether they are interested in her or her power, while still struggling to understand and channel her dragon power. This is not helped by an ancestor from the past who is determined to guide Eona, through her weapons to steal the dragon pearl which is stitched into the young emperors throat. We learn more about Eona's family, and learn more about familiar characters and meet new characters. The author had me guessing all the way to the end, and there was some twists at the end which were a unexpected.
I really enjoyed this book far more then the first and am disappointed to find Eona's adventures ends here. Although I'm sure with a bit of imagination it could be made into a trilogy. If you have read the first book definitely read this book.
on 29 May 2011
While this review alludes to the end of the novel, I have tried to refrain from any specifics that will spoil the events in question.
That said, I don't think I have ever read such a compellingly written book (or series) with such an appalling ending. The 'twists' were shallow, largely pointless and served only to destroy the pace, plot and development of what came before them. What foreshadowing exists is largely unmissable, leading to plot points being visible far before the intended reveal; even this almost heavy-handed approach is preferable to the utter lack of thought that leads to the majority of these twists being pulled illogically out of thin air.
If you were hoping for the romantic development and resolution hinted at in the summary, you will likely find your hopes soured. After the majority of the book's worth of tension, the resolution is artless and serves only to impugn all characters involved. Tied in with the foul ending, all the shades-of-gray morality that the book has spent so long introducing is obliterated in an instant; of course, it's not as if our heroine could have possibly chosen between two men without a painfully contrived, last minute revelation that one is unspeakably evil (despite contrary evidence) and the other obviously pristine (again, despite all contrary evidence).
I won't rate the book any lower; Goodman's writing is as absorbing and flowing as ever, up until overabundance of twists and about-turns that drag the reader from the work. However, with such a horrendous resolution I would not recommend this book to anyone. Better the uncertainty and promise of the ending of the first book than the destruction of the finely crafted tale that came before.
on 7 June 2011
This is Fantasy at its very best. Alison Goodman has created a superb, fully realized world, rich in its detail (with absolutely no info dumping - yay!), and characters who live and breathe off the page. Goodman writes with a light touch and a sharp eye, knows when she can let herself go and write lyrically and when to get stuck into the thrust and lunge of the action, and never takes the lazy option of relying on cliches or conventions. Her characters are emotionally and psychologically complex, and their story sometimes takes us to truly dark places, which means the book packs a much heftier punch than most. Oh, and the fight scenes are awesome!