While I enjoy books of all kinds, I prefer books that promote diversity and or multiculturalism.
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn - Alison Goodman I usually don't do this, but considering I read and complete both these books within days of each other, I decided to just review them together.EonEon focused on a very captivating, however prejudice world. I can tell that it was inspired mainly by East Asian culture(specifically Chinese and Japanese), but there were hints of other cultures in there as well. In "The Empire of Celestial Dragons", you better be an able bodied man,otherwise the shame of being anything else will haunt you. Eon is a 12 year old crippled boy whom has the ability to see dragons. In their world, this is a revered trait. Dragons bond with humans(ones they call Dragoneyes)and are granted extraordinary power. Based on the Chinese astrologic system, each year has an appropriate dragon. Only the Mirror Dragon(Which is the "Dragon" Dragon) hasnt been seen in over 500 years.As a cripple Eon is not likely to be a "real" candidate, as the disabled are seen as bad omens. If only this were Eon's real problem. Eon is actually Eona, a 16 year old girl whom can see the dragons. No one is sure why, but her master invests his entire estate in her becoming an apprentice to the Ascendant Dragoneye(each year a different dragoneye ascends e,i. Year of the Rat , Year of the Pig,etc.). Her ability to see the dragons is enough to give her a fighting chance in becoming one of the candidates.I will admit, i was skeptical of the opening. My sister had read this book a year prior, and she mentioned that the pacing took too long to get into the action driven plot of the book. I have to disagree. While it does take close to 100 pages to get to the juicy parts, those 100 pages did set up the story and world building well without spending 17 paragraphs merely describing backgrounds. "Eon" gets chosen but not by the Ascendant dragon. The Mirror Dragon whom has not been seen for 500 years returns and chooses Eon, and that is where a lot of the mystery begins. Why has the Mirror Dragon ascended? What does that mean for the Ascendant Dragoneye? Who will train her, since there are no Dragon eyes to become apprenticed to? All these become factors, and "Eon" gets more than he bargained for. Eona not only becomes a Lord Dragoneye, she realizes she can not call her dragon, because she would not reveal her true name. The Mirror Dragon in their society embodies the royal family, and she soon finds out the Dragoneye's are divided in their council. One side for the dying Emperor and the opposing force, the military, whom just happens to be run by the Emperor's younger brother.Eon is instantly becoming a symbol that the empire can be renewed, but she gains many enemies, including Lord Ido, the Rat Dragoneye whom is forced to share his Ascendancy with her. Eon had excellent world building, a strong plot and storyline, and I could never guess what was about to happen.The characters were brilliantly depicted. I'd have to say my favorite was Lady Dela, a Contraire. In their society, this is a man with a shared soul of a woman. While every part of her was physically male, she was very much female. She was hilarious and written very elegantly. Each flick of her fan seemed effortless, as if she were a true noble woman in our society. There was not only conflict for Eon's story, but also a lot of internal conflict. Eon is the main character but her problems werent the only ones depicted in the story. It provided alot of backstory(as much as Eon is willing to give)and understanding for the world and how the characters dealt with the situations they were forced into.The grammar was terrific. I wont say it was 100% because even professional editors cant catch everything, but the small amounts of mistakes I saw, I've already forgotten. The POV was clear, and the balance between beats and dialogue made the story move smoothly.The diversity was clearly there, although what I will say it was difficult to decipher what Eon or Ido were for me. This is obviously because of the world, and depicting race may be different for their world than our own. But opening minimal descriptions about appearance kind of opens the door to the reader assuming everyone is white. I pictured Eon to be Asian in appearance, because come on, the culture is a clear picture of Asian culture on our Earth. But Ido, sometimes I pictured him Asian, sometimes I pictured him Eurasian, sometimes I pictured him white based on how vile he was being depicted at the time. Writing someone as dark skin does not make them Black,because dark is defined differently to the individual, but Eon is pale. A great amount of Asian women are pale, but so are a great amount of Caucasian women. I think it's a little unfair to highlight Asian culture but to imagine it in the eyes of someone non-Asian, so I did picture alot of race related diversity, but im not sure how many other people might.Transgender identity. Where I start. Lady Dela was the ultimate heroine and a great role model for the transgender community. Im not transgender, and Im not admitting to understanding it 100% but I love the idea of being free to be whom you are, no matter what society thinks. Her depiction seemed effortless. I saw a little reference to the seven Chakras which are specific points in the body according to Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Not sure if anyone caught that,but considering I've always considered taking up Buddhism, I noticed that right away. I see a lot of the research the author put in, and it paid off. It didn't build the self esteem for Eon to really be a woman, but I will defend that by stating that the storyline is based on a girl living a lie.Miscellaneous wise it has a great cover(though the foreign covers are much better.), the title is appropriate, and while the names of the characters are hard to follow at times, their unique and the more you see them the more they grow on you.Overall Eon: 4.5

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