Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman

     Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Two Pearls of Wisdom is easily one of the best, most inventive works of fantasy I've ever read. Superb writing, characters and character development were 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 question: yes, once. In answer to the second question: never unless you count 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.