Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman is a book I HAD to read.
You see, it’s a YA fantastical China with Japanese influences, chock full of interesting and believable period details, and a young girl who is the hero of the story.
And dragons. But not Pern-type rideable dragons, but powerful energy dragons that are potentially harmful.
And most of all, three gender-challenging characters at the forefront.
Eon is pretending to be a boy.
His best friends are a Eunuch and a “Contraire” (a man living as a woman acknowledged by everybody as a woman)
So not only do we have Asian-influenced fantasy that doesn’t fall victim to stereotypes (non-asian names of characters, showing the power of women even in their constraint, etc), but we also have issues related to gender and female and male roles.
So I thought I would love this. But…..it sagged. It was saggy in the midddle. I found myself skimming near the end in the long, drawn-out, supposed to be exciting penultimate race to the finish/battle.
And all those cool gender situations never were really used to their potential, I thought. And the book teases us by ending just as Eon has to reveal herself as female to the world.
I still have to read the next book in the series whenever it comes out, but I guess it left me ultimately unsatisfied. I’m hoping the second book will be stronger.