Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review 2- Eon

Review of Eon by Alison Goodman

3.5/5 stars- Eon is about a girl who’s disguising herself as a guy so she can train to be one of the twelve dragoneye. However, if this secret of hers is found out she and everyone close to her could be killed. 

            I personally don’t know how to feel about this book. The cover is pretty well done. It has excellent world building with a culture and society derived from ancient China and Japan, so that appealed to me. The characters were well rounded, and Eon’s struggle to reject her feminine nature, Eona, in order to survive was intense. Her actions were understandable, and I could see myself doing the same things she did if I was in this situation. Also another plus factor is that there is very little romance in this book, by the end the main character doesn’t have a love interest. Seeing that this book is in the YA genre, I found myself appreciating that.
            However, the biggest pull in for me was the fact it has dragons in it. So in my mind when I brought this book I was thinking, “Yes, perfect book to read after the Hunger Games.” Yeah I was wrong.
            Eon doesn’t really have much- what’s the word- Questing in it, rather much of its plot is based on political intrigue. So at first I was like, “Oh okay, so it’s kinda going to be like Assassins Creed,” except it wasn’t.
            Alright so I’m going to sum up my feelings about this book real quick before I go into major spoilers. Eon had nice characters, really nice world building, but dragged in a lot of areas for me. I experienced sort of what I call the mid plot lull, and the ending really didn’t make up for it. I thought it could have been shorter, but it was pretty decent. It had interesting concepts and I felt the writers themes were very well done. If you’re into Girl power, and political scandal you should check this book out. I don’t suggest reading this book right after a face passed novel, but it deserves to be picked up sometime. My personal score is 3.5 out of five stars.
            Alright that’s the basic review, so if you haven’t read the book and you don’t want to be a spoiled reader, click the “X” button in the upper right corner of your screen.
Onto some major spoilers.


            Over the first one hundred pages, Eons main focus is to become the Rat Dragoneye apprentice. Yeah only instead of doing that she becomes the Mirror Dragoneye apprentice. Only the problem with that is there hasn’t been a Mirror Dragoneye for a long while now, I think maybe five-hundred years while. So Eon not only doesn’t have anybody to teach her the Dragoneye secrets, but she’s now one of the most interesting people in the world, and here’s why.
            So the Rat Dragoneye master, Ido, is planning to overthrow the ill emperor alongside some guy named Sethon. Everyone and there mother knows what’s going on, so this means the Emperor and Ido are both wanting the Mirror Dragoneyes support.
            Eon being young and new to the royal world, has to learn all the proper ways of being in the royal palace and in the dragoneye council. This is where it starts to drag with the info on eunuch’s or Shadow Men, proper ways to kowtow, and various robes. I mean I like it, but it dragged at times.  Then there was the ending. The ending I was expecting to be so great but it wasn’t.
            So Eon has another problem, she doesn’t know her dragons name. This is kind of important, because if you don’t know your dragons name, you can’t call upon your dragon and get your power.
            Eon doesn’t tell anyone about this because, well, she could potentially die but she thinks that the reason she can’t communicate with it is because she’s a girl. Then her creepy old master is poisoned and dies, and it also turns out he loved her. I knew that was going to happen, because he was a creeper from the start! Okay so then it’s just a long string of problems with no sight of a solution for this girl.
            Then the solution does come, and there’s in this epic take over, and people are dying. Then Eon, whose now accepted she’s Eona finally discovers her Dragons name. Now the spirit dragon battles before were kind of confusing, but I got the gist of it, and I thought, “Okay those past battles were like a little warm up, this one’s going to be like an Dragon Ball Z episode. NOT LIKE THE CENSORED ONES ON NICKOLONEON! THOSE ARE LIES!” Yeah, my hopes were a bit too high.
            So what happens is Ido has Eona up against the wall, literally about to rape her, because he can get power that way (Yeah I’m serious, it makes more since when you read it, but it’s still equally as creepy). Eona’s Dragon is hovering over them, teeth bared and everything. And I’m going, “Yeah girl! All Rapist should get their head bitten off by a Dragon! Do it! Do it now!”
            But then Eona sees that Ido’s heart Chakra is shriveled up, and that’s an easy problem to fix. So she does, despite the fact she just killed two guys previously, so it’s not like she needs to keep a clean conscience. This causes Ido’s heart Chakra to swell three sizes its own size. And then he’s sorry for everything he’s done, and then he goes back down to whovile and gives  all the who’s their Christmas presents back and- wait this is the ending to the Grinch that Stole Christmas. This is the ending to the Grinch who Stole Christmas! Ido is the Creepy Dragoneye Murder/Rapist version of the Grinch!!!!
            Okay I’m sorry, really I can’t help that my brain works this way, but when I read the ending with Ido’s heart Chakra and him being just “Sorry” I felt a little cheated. Seriously this guy killed her master, killed all the other Dragoneye, nearly killed his apprentice with the steroids of this fictional world, assisted in the murder of a baby and his mother, tried to rape a girl and in the end all we get are his apologies? Really, really, really? This guy is EVIL, ruthless, and now he’s groveling. I ask you again, really?
            I am sick and tired of these “Love is the cure to all your problems,” endings. Okay it was at least done in a way that somewhat made sense, but at the same time made me roll my eyes. Well at least it wasn’t as bad as the Evermore ending.

            So as you can tell the ending really ruined it for me, but hopefully you guys have different views on it.  I’d like to end this on a good note though. The writer did a really good job with her characters. She made me feel what Eon was feeling. Confusion, stress, identity issues all those things were written well.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Review 1-Hunger Games

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  Series Review (Warning Spoilers)
               The hype the Hunger Games has accumulated is pretty well earned (At least better deserved then Twilight in my opinion).  With well done covers that do not have girls in pretty prom dresses (Even though it could) The Hunger Games impressed me, cover and all. Granted it does have its flaws with a forced love triangle, and a villain who is no Andrew Ryan or Big Brother. The Hunger Games raised the bar and drew in popularity (whether for better or for worse) to dystopian YA. I see this as a good thing. 
            So the plot to the Hunger Games is pretty much this. The capitol rules over twelve districts, and in order to remind everyone who’s boss, one boy and one girl are taken from each district to fight in the hunger games. The rules to the Hunger Games are pretty simple, kill or be killed, and only one can survive.
            Katniss Everdeen is our main character, and a refreshing YA lead. She’s protective over her family, and is willing to do anything for her sister and mother.  The other characters like Peeta, Rue, Finnick, Johanna, and more really impressed me. Suzanne Collins knows how to build suspense, and knows how to make a reader care, and feel sorrow when something bad happens to the characters. For me the characters where everything for this series, and I can forgive a lot if the characters are good. I can also be a nitpick if they annoy me. With this series I understand the pain Katniss is going through. People often complained that Katniss became a complete mess by the end of the series, but wouldn’t we all? She lost practically her whole family, what’s worse is her mother won’t even bother to comfort or help Katniss. This emotional turmoil on top of the physical pain will haunt her for the rest of her life. So yeah I think she deserves a little slack at the end.
            However, despite good charaters, there are some “Eh” points to the plot. Towards the end of the series it started to make no sense. So District 13 exists and on top of that they did make bombs, yet they just sat back and did nothing for seventy years instead of blowing up the capitol? Uh-huh, right. I mean I understand Coin wanted to have the districts support, but really most of them would’ve been on her side if she went on ahead and blew up the capitol. Also why President Snow would allow district 13 existence is beyond comprehension for me.
            So here’s my rating of all the books.
            Hunger Games 5/5 stars- This book was simple and didn’t get into the flawed existence of District 13. It really had me in awe of the fact that these kids had to kill each other. Was it really worth living if I had to do that, or would the fear of death keep me going?
                Catching Fire 3/5 stars- This book started off pretty slow, but it did introduce some past victors that give us an idea of what being a victor is like. Unfortunately there isn’t much time to get to know these new characters. It does face that question I had in the first book. What if the tributes teamed up and worked together in a large group? The book was a little repetitive though with the interviews and chariot rides.  
            Mockingjay 3.5/5 stars- This book exposes the flaws of the book. Why would President Snow allow the existence of district 13? Did he really not see a rebellion coming?  Likewise why would Coin wait so long to rise up against the capitol. For as compelling the hero’s are, the villains are fairly weak. However, the character development of the hero’s sort of makes up for this flaw.  Peeta and Katniss’s relationship is strained, and Katniss is really puched to her limits. Gale’s character is reveled to be willing to sacrifice anything to bring down the capitol (While one might view this as a good thing, Gale takes things to the extreme at times).
           Even the minor characters like Johanna and Finnick get more rounded as characters. Granted I wish the relationship between Annie and Finnick was further looked into, but maybe it’s best that was shrouded in mystery. Unfortunately while the ending is realistic, it was lacking. Gale was sort of pushed off to the side, we never hear what happens to Johanna, and Haymitch goes back to being the worthless drunk he was at the beginning of the series. I wish Gale had died instead of Finnick, and I wish Haymitch would meet his end. Not because I hate his character, quite the contrary I like him, but to be honest I think death would have been better. The moment Katniss sings the folk song “The Hanging Tree”  this question pops into your head,“ Is death a better outcome then living.” It’s disturbing, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting and yet it’s just a simple song that sounds like it’s for children. Yes, it’s exactly like “Ring Around the Rosie”.
 (This is a fan’s interpretation of the song)
            Katniss’s ordeal will forever haunt her, and in the epilog we see how even with a family she still has nightmares from the arena and rebellion. In the end Mocking Jay was a decent ending, but not a great one.
            Over all I would suggest the series to everyone, just about, because even with its flaws it’s still awesome.