Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Book Review: The Two Pearls of Wisdom

Eon: Dragoneye RebornTwo Pearls of Wisdom (a.k.a. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, or Rise of the Dragoneye) is easily one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read. Character development was precise and sometimes surprising and the world building was on a level seldom seen.
     For instance, have you ever heard of magic built around the twelve animals of the zodiac and the Chinese belief in meridian points within the human body? In answer to the first: yes, once. In answer to the second question: only in traditional Chinese mythology. In 37 years of reading fantasy, I have never come across something quite this inventive. I wish I’d thought of it, but I can only admire.
     Eon is a crippled boy with the unusual ability to see all twelve mystical dragons of the zodiac. Eon is also not a boy, but Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who will be killed for presuming upon a man’s position if she’s discovered. To complicate matters, the Emperor lies on his deathbed. His brother and Lord Ido, the Rat Dragoneye, seek to make the “String of Pearls,” a weapon of unholy power, and with it, change the world. Eona must learn to trust her power and find the strength to face a vicious enemy who would seize her magic and her life.
     If you love political intrigue and fantasy as much as I do, then you’re probably longing for a unique take on the genre. “The Two Pearls of Wisdom” is it and it’s the first in a series.  Please be aware, in the U.S., the book’s title is “Eon: Dragoneye Reborn.” (Ms. Goodman is Australian and “Two Pearls” is the original Australian title.) I don’t do spoilers, but I can tell you this was obviously planned as a series of books. “The Necklace of the Gods” won’t be one of those sequels that happened because a sequel was the unplanned, but most expedient literary offering. “Two Pearls” is a stand alone novel that clearly paves the way for what must happen next.
    Based on the first book, I look forward to another magical story unfolding.

Addendum:  I neglected to address two issues in this review and I hope you’ll let me do so now.

1. When I first started reading, I got frustrated with Eon/Eona because she did not perceive two particularly obvious truths. However, once I got beyond my frustration and just enjoyed the book, I (obviously) forgot about my frustration with her and even felt her character development was well done at the end. I say obviously because it took me two weeks and one book review conversation to remember!
2. I understand this book has some controversy concerning how it’s perceived by minority groups. They feel like little to no research was done on China and that the world building was not accurate. I’m going to stand by what I said earlier and add one thing. This book isn’t set in China. This is a fantasy world loosely based on certain cultural touchstones of this world. If some believe it could have been more tightly based on that culture, well – it’s their culture and since my culture is one based on a conglomeration of all others, it’s harder for me to judge. (Where their worldview is all about China, my worldview includes an acceptance of melting potism, if you will.) However, as a fantasy reader I have seen very few books with this much world building in an Asian setting and yes, I did enjoy it.