Tag Archives: Dragons

Harnessing the Dragon Within

Book Stats: Eon

Author: Alison Goodman

Age group: 15-19

Best place to buy: Barnesandnoble.com

Length: 544 pages

Rating: 9 out of 10

So, I lied, I finished one last book before finals week really started. I couldn’t help it, it was impossible to put down. It was all I could think about and I knew I had to finish it before I got any real work done. I can hardly wait for the sequel to come out in April.

Summary: Eon by Alison Goodman is a long book, but a fast read. Eon is a candidate to become a Dragoneye apprentice and eventually a Dragoneye. Dragoneyes have a connection to the twelve energy dragons that control their own point of the compass and each have their own year of increased power. The energy dragons help to keep balance in the land and bring good fortune to the people. Candidates are boys born in the year of the dragon they hope to connect with. They undergo training before the New Year celebration, during which the dragon chooses the next apprentice.

Eon is unlike the other candidates, not just because of a crippled hip. Eon is really Eona, a sixteen year old girl masquerading as a boy because girls are not allowed to use dragon magic, something she already shows an affinity for. Her master, a former Dragoneye, has placed all his fortune and hope on her being chosen by the Rat Dragon.

Eon must struggle to hide her secret; if found it would result in her death. This becomes harder as she is thrown into a fight for the empire, the Dragoneye way of life and her identity. Will she have the bravery to own her true identity? Pick up this must read to find out.

Reasons for the rating: As I mentioned earlier, I found this book hard to put down. From page one I was hooked and wanted to know more about this girl desperately trying to make it in a man’s field, as a man. I think one reason I liked this book was how it reminded me of Tamora Pierce’s series, Song of the Lioness. The main character in that series starts out taking her brother’s place in training to become a knight, hiding her feminine identity. It also interested me to see a quote from Pierce, saying how much she liked it, on the front of the book. I really enjoyed Pierce’s books when I was younger and I was interested to see a book endorsed so enthusiastically by her. Eon has a voice reminiscent of Pierce’s earlier books while still holding its own.

This book has elements very reminiscent of Chinese culture. Where Pierce bases her books in the time of knights in the medieval period; Goodman bases hers in the dynasty age of ancient China.  Goodman takes the Chinese calendar and uses the concept of the twelve animals to represent the energy dragons of the story. The empire and palace are quite like something one would find in the dynasty age of China, complete with a guarded harem, eunuchs and extravagant design. It is obvious a great deal of research went into this book but she finds a balance between description and plot movement.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to older teens and young adults. There are some mature parts in the book that I know most moms wouldn’t want their 12-year-old reading. Also, given the length, older teens tend to have a slightly longer attention span. This is a great way to learn a little more about an ancient culture (of course much is fictional) and enjoy a great plot at the same time. Fans of Tamora Pierce and new readers alike will love this book. I can see myself reading more by Alison Goodman and going back to my favorites of Tamora Pierce.

*Note: This book is apparently known under three other names; Eon: Dragoneye Reborn; Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye and The Two Pearls of Wisdom

Dragon Training 101

Book Stats: How to Train Your Dragon

Author: Cressida Cowell

Age group: 9-14

Where to buy: Amazon.com

Length: 213

Rating: 7 out of 10

With the recent release of a movie of the same name on dvd I decided to read the book that inspired it. Within moments of starting to read I realized how very different the two of them are.

The book starts with Hiccup and his fellow young tribesmen standing at the bottom of a cliff. They are told that today is an important day, the day they steal their dragons. In Hiccup’s tribe the stealing and subsequent training of a dragon is how they become full-fledged members of the tribe.

Hiccup barely makes it out of the cave with a dragon after another youth wakes the 3000 dragons hibernating in the cave. With their dragons procured the hard job of training them begins.

The only book on the subject suggests yelling at their dragons to train them. Hiccup cannot yell, not effectively. So he uses his skills with the dragon language to teach his small reluctant dragon.

In the end it is this skill with “dragonese” and ability to lead that saves the islanders from certain death. For the first time in his life his father is proud of him and his peers respect him.

This book felt a bit young for me but I still enjoyed it. I felt for Hiccup and enjoyed the rebelliousness of Toothless. I plan on reading the rest of the books in the series.

This was one of the few times I enjoyed the book without it ruining the movie for me. I feel that both can stand on their own. The movie plot was better suited to the big screen than the book plot. Either way Hiccup saves the day.

You can watch the movie and read the book. Both are worth the time invested.