Right away I will say that I didn’t realize this is the first book of two. So anyone who is thinking about reading this book should know that. This book does not resolve any part of the story and really leaves you hanging. It is an okay book overall; there are some things about it that are amazing and some things that are really annoying. I listened to it on audio book and the audio book quality was good; although sometimes the narrator got a bit shrill when reading parts where Eon goes into a panic.
Eona is a Dragoneye candidate. She is passing as Eon, a male candidate, because females are not allowed to be candidates. Eon is special because she can see all the dragons in the spirit world. Her Master is desperately hoping that Eon will get chosen to be the new Dragoneye Apprentice.
The story is a good one. There is a ton of attention to detail with regards to the Asian feudal society and the beliefs and rituals of that time. Eon is a good character that treads a tough path; in the beginning she seems weak but she ends up having a core of toughness that is admirable.
Unfortunately there was a lot more that bothered me about this book. The plot moves very, very slow for the first half of the book. Part of this is because of the great amount of detail the author puts in. Some of it is interesting but a lot of it is unnecessary. For example at one point Eon is going in to bathe; the author needs to describe how stressful it is for Eon, how the tiles look in the bathing room, the temperature of the water, etc. I actually fell asleep for 5 minutes in the car and when I woke up I asked my husband what was going on. He laughed and said that Eon still hadn’t quite gotten into the bathtub. This is how this book went. It seemed like some action was imminent (like taking a bath) and it would take 15 minutes (for the audio book) to get through all the descriptions and Eon’s panicking to finally get to that action; it made for horrible pacing. Both my husband and I found it wearying and boring to the point where we almost stopped listening a number of times.
The other large thing I didn’t like about this book was Eon in general. Eon was susceptible to almost constant attacks of panic and self-doubt throughout the whole book. Even as she became more powerful she would still drop into lengthy digressions about how dangerous something was, how she might be caught, how she didn’t know if she could do it, and what if she wasn’t enough? This is understandable for a character to go through once in a while, but Eon did this very frequently and it didn’t get better as the book went on. I understand that Eon lived in constant fear. As a reader we understand this, we don’t need that character to go into lengthy panicky digressions every other page; it didn’t add a lot to the story and took up a lot of page space.
My last complaint is that the book doesn’t resolve anything. You are pretty much left in the middle of a battle. The next book isn’t released until 2010 sometime. That is a long time to make your readers wait. If you are looking at reading this duology I would recommend waiting until the second book has been released.
Overall this book wasn’t a favorite of mine. The pace was just too tedious, the detail painful, and Eon exceptionally whiny and panicky. I will read the next book though because nothing is resolved in this book.