Eona by Alison Goodman

Title: Eona
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Juvinile
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Other Titles in series: Eon

Rating:
Characters: 20/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 98/100 or A+
Source: Library

Synopsis: Where there is power, there is betrayal…
Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is Eona, the Mirror Dragoneye, her country’s savior–but she has an even more dangerous secret. She cannot control her power.

Each time she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon, she becomes a conduit for the ten spirit dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered by Lord Ido. Their anguish floods through her, twisting her ability into a killing force, destroying the land and it’s people. And another force of destruction is on her trail.

Along with Ryko and Lady Dela, Eona is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades must find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power if he is to wrest back his throne from Sethon. But if Eona is to help Kygo, she must drive a dark bargain with an old enemy that could obliterate them all.

Review: The sequel to Eona is a true beauty, a gem in the world of YA literature. I enjoyed the first book, Eon, greatly, but this was even better. Alison Goodman continues this fascinating story with unwavering talent and passion. The characters were as rich as ever, and the plot couldn’t get any thicker. Alison’s writing is crisply refreshing compared to many of the other titles she shares the genre with. I must commend her for that.

While indulging upon these savory words, I realized that Eona affected me like no book has in a long time. I absolutely couldn’t set it down. I was completely enthralled while reading and often couldn’t look away when someone tried to get my attention. This is a remarkable feat because I often can’t find a book so capturing. It is truly phenomenal.

Overall, I believe the series ended excellently. Alison Goodman infused the climax with much action and plenty of excitement. I have to admit that just thinking about it heightens my enthusiasm. I am such a book geek, am I not? 😉 A bibliophile, I guess. Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a powerful plot, strong emotions, and conflicted romance.

http://www.alisongoodman.com.au/ 

Goodman, Jeanne. (2011) Eona. USA and Australia: Viking

Read my reviews of other books in the series:

 

The Diamond of Darkhold (Ember #4) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 19/19
Reccomendation: 20/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Grandma :)


Summary: It’s been several months since Lina and Doon escaped the dying city of Ember and, along with the rest of their people, joined the town of Sparks. Lina knows they are lucky to be there, but life aboveground is hard. Instead of opening a can for dinner, they must plant and harvest their food. And while there was no sun or moon in Ember’s sky, neither was there rain, sleet, or wind. Now, in the middle of their first winter, Lina finds herself feeling homesickfor her old city


It’s during this dark time that Doon finds an unusual book. Torn up and missing most of its pages, it alludes to a mysterious device, a piece of technology from before the Disaster. Doon becomes convinced that the Builders of Ember meant for them to find the device when they left the city, to help them in their new lives. Together, Lina and Doon must go back underground to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.


In the fourth Book of Ember, bestselling author Jeanne DePrau juxtaposes yet another action-packed adventure with powerful themes of hope, learning, and the search for truth.

Review: The Diamond of Darkhold is the fourth and last installment of the spectacular “Books of Ember” series. It was an absolute thrill to read and I enjoyed watching it come to a formidable end.

When Doon and Lina led the people of Ember out of their dying underground city and into the world above, everything was different and strange. A few months have passed since then, and the people of Ember are living in the small village of Sparks. Life in this new world is difficult, especially when facing the hardships of the Emberite’s first winter. Harsh weather and quickly depleting food and medical supplies make some Emberites think back to their easier life in Ember. Valuable supplies were left behind in Ember during the final rush to evacuate the city before the once-great generator finally gave out. If these supplies could be retrieved, it could make all the difference for life in Sparks.

In the story, Doon and Lina discover an ancient book written by the Builders of Ember. The unusual book is nearly destroyed, but it hints at an advanced device that the Builders might have left behind for the Emberites. This device was built to help make life for the citizens of Ember above ground easier. Together, Lina and Doon return to the abandoned city of Ember to find this device from the Builders. But Ember is a different city now, and is definitely not what they expect.

“The Diamond of Darkhold” is another great book from Jeanne DuPrau. The plot is immaculate, with plenty of great details and fresh new looks at areas of Ember that readers didn’t get to see before. With each new Book of Ember DuPrau shares just a little more information about the grand plot and intricate workings behind the history of Ember. I highly recommend “The Diamond of Darkhold” and the entire “Books of Ember” series to anyone who not just loves a fantastic adventure, but also a story with great moral inclinations.

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2008). The Diamond of Darkhold. New York: Yearling.

Read my reviews of the other Books of Ember:

     

The Prophet of Yonwood (Ember #3) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating:
Characters: 19/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20
Reccomendation: 20/20
Overall: 96/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Grandma :)


Summary: War looms on the horizon as eleven-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town, while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?

In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.

Review: I have been a fan of the Books of Ember series ever since I opened Jeanne Duprau ‘s debut for the first time. But after reading the third installment, The Prophet of Yonwood, for the second, I truly understand the wisdom she was trying to impart through her books. To understand what I am trying to say, I guess you would have to read it for yourself. I wouldn’t want to give any spoilers away. 😉 The prequel to The City of Ember is a truly great read. Besides describing the adventures of a young girl named Nickie, The Prophet of Yonwood has several pretty great moral statements.

The setting of the story is present-day (maybe a few decades into the future) in Yonwood, North Carolina, a small town in the United States. The book begins with a respected citizen of Yonwood, Althea Tower, having an apocalyptic vision, in which she envisions a future filled with explosions, fire, and violence. Althea Tower is named a Prophet by the town members, and the residents of Yonwood are struck by terror at the face of such a bleak future (especially with their country on the brink of a war). Yonwood tries to better itself in the name of God so that they may be spared this prophesied future. A few months later, Nickie, the protagonist of the story, and her aunt, Crystal, arrive in Yonwood planning to sell Nickie’s great-grandfather’s house, named Greenhaven. The story tells of how Nickie attempts to accomplish 3 inner goals, and of how she and Yonwood react to each other.

Many of the themes in Jeanne DuPrau’s earlier books are also present in The Prophet of Yonwood, with a few new additions as well. The characters and plot are excellently built. All the characters are believable and quirky and the plot is easy to follow and is very interesting.

In addition to delivering a fantastic story, Jeanne DuPrau has also presented quite a few moral themes in The Prophet of Yonwood. Throughout the book, she offers themes such as utopias, choice of trusts and sacrifice, true love, and life in general. Although she addresses many deep and philosophical topics, she does not disrupt the easy flow of the book. Adults and children both can enjoy this great read. I certainly did. :)

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2006). The Prophet of Yonwood. New York: Yearling.

The People of Sparks (Ember #2) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Grandma :)


Summary: When Lina and Doon lead their people up from the underground city of Ember, they discover a surface world of color and life. The people of a small village called Sparks agree to help the Emberites, but the villagers have never had to share their world before. Soon differences between the two groups escalate, and it’s up to Lina and Doon to find a way to avoid war!
In the riveting sequel to the highly acclaimed The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau explores the nature of conflict and the strength and courage necessary to overcome it.

Review: The second installment of The Books of Ember series is a spectacular sequel to the first! I was completely hyped-up as I read it for the first time, but the second was even better. DuPrau adventures further into the realm of morals, leaving a satisfied reader with another clear message: War can bring nothing good and as easy as it is to achieve, it is hard to escape. I am absolutely fond of this book, zealous even. The People of Sparks is not just an awesome adventure, but a thought-provoking and fascinating novel too. It was mindfully written and should appeal to adults as well as kids.

When the people of Ember surfaced from their dying city at last, they were introduced to an entirely different world. Instead of the familiar darkness and electric lights of their underground home, they were faced with an abundance of color, nearly painful heat, and light that came from the sky. The people of Ember were welcomed to this new and terrifying world by a small village called Sparks. The people of Sparks invite the Emberites into their homes and even feed them in return for hard work. Together, the two groups of people are forced to work together to survive in the world, nearly driving themselves to the brink of war in the process.

While reading this spectacular series, I noticed a connection between the names of the two cities in the first and second book, Ember and Sparks. I believe the author was quite clever in devising these names. In the series, the city of Ember is a dying city, hence the name Ember. The Village of Sparks is only a beginning, destined to grow and prosper, almost like the spark of a fire soon to come. See the connection? 😉

Anyway, The People of Sparks is a fabulous read for those who are familiar The City of Ember. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure, coupled with a strong moral.

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2004). The People of Sparks. New York: Yearling.

The City of Ember (Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Mom :)


Summary: Lina Mayfleet desperately wants to be a messenger. Instead, she draws the dreaded job of Pipeworks laborer, which means she’ll be working in damp tunnels deep underground.


Doon Harrow draws messenger–and asks Lina to trade! Doon wants to be underground. That’s where the generator is, and Doon has ideas about how to fix it. For as long as anyone can remember, the great lights of Ember have kept the endless darkness at bay. But now the lights are beginning to flicker. . . .

Review: Jeanne DuPrau’s debut was absolutely exciting. She has concocted a great plot and a strong message for readers of this fantastic novel. Her writing was clear and refreshing, and her characters were wonderfully original. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and was left craving the next in the series. The cliffhanger ending was stunning.

The City of Ember was essentially built as a giant fallout shelter. Once, many years ago, the world underwent a dramatic disaster, presumably a war. The Builders who constructed Ember believed that the entire human populace would be wiped out during this catastrophe, and decided to construct a way to preserve some portion of humanity. So the City of Ember was constructed, a settlement buried deep underground in a giant cave, where hopefully it would survive the after-effects of a cataclysmic war.

Ember was supplied by the Builders with a massive hydro-electric generator that was capable of powering the entire city with lights, running water, and other conveniences. An abundance of canned food and other goods filled the impressive storerooms beneath the city, where it seemed it would never be depleted. The Emberites could live there almost forever. . . . Until their food begins to run out or the lights start to flicker.

Overall, the entire book was enthralling. From the very beginning, the novel had me captured. It is a very quick read, in part due to it’s size and also because you can’t put it down until you are finished. Besides an exciting and fast-paced adventure, The City of Ember also has a very clear and powerful moral: Greed can only ever harm yourself and others. This is a fantastic read for kids and adults alike.

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2003). The City of Ember. New York: Yearling.

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Rating:
Characters: 17/20
Plot: 18/20
Originality: 18/20
Writing: 18/20
Recomendaton: 19/20
Overall: 90/100 or A-
Source: Library


Summary- The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.
The records show that he died in 1418.
But his tomb is empty.


The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects–the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world.


That’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the nly ones with the power to save the world as we know it.


Sometimes legends are true.
And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

Review- This was a pretty decent read that left me eager for the next in the series. The legend of Nicholas Flamel always interested me and Michael Scott’s book helped satisfy my curiosity, even though it is a work of fiction. 😉 Out of all of the Alchemyst’s aspects, I believe I enjoyed the plot above the rest. It was fast-paced, full of action, and not something I read VERY often. I could tell it would be better suited for a slightly younger audience than myself, but I still enjoyed the book greatily.

The accuracy of the many historical references in the story was astonishing. Michael Scott sure knows how to research. All but two characters, the protagonists, were true individuals or mythical figures. That is quite a feat considering the vast amount amount of characters.

The Alchemyst is the first of a moderately sized seriess of six novels. I’m sure each is as good as the first or better. I look forward to to familiarizing myself with more of Micheal Scott’s work and perhaps having the honor of writing a few reviews. 😉

http://www.dillonscott.com/

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Rating:
Characters: 20/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 19/20
Recomendation: 20/20
Overall: 98/100 or A+
Source: Library


Summary- Twelve-year old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.


But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.


When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic… and her life.

Review- I decided to start this series on a whim. The title, Eon, always drew my attention somewhat when I was browsing the teen section at the library, but other than that I was never particularily attracted to the book. The other day my mom was on her way to the library to check out some audio-books (she is awfully fond of them) and asked if there was anything I would like. Besides the books I had already planned on checking out, Eon popped into my mind. So I added it to the list, one of the better book choices I have ever made. 😉

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was an extremely enjoyable read. The plot was completely enthralling and the East Asian astrology truly had me mystified at times. Alison Goodman is one of those YA authors that I had never heard of until reading one of her books. She definitely proved her skills while creating the world of Eon. Her commendable writing prowess can be even further enjoyed by reading a few of her other books.

The aspects that I particularily enjoyed while reading were the inclinations of women’s freedom and rights. Eon, or Eona I should say, was a determined and strong female who was forced to disguise herself as a guy if she wished to be succesful in the world. She even resorted to drugs in some cases to supress her femininity. While this worked, it also suppressed her abilities to call her dragon, the Mirror Dragon. The Mirror Dragon is the only female dargon of the twelve celestial dragons and is the most powerful. While females were forbidden to become Dragoneyes, the Mirror Dragon was lost. The Mirror Dragon is such named because it’s true name is the same as its Dragoneye.

When Eona was chosen by the Mirror Dragon she was unable to fully connect with it because she wouldn’t accept her true name, Eona, instead of Eon. The story continued to describe her continued suppression of her femininity and dragon. At the end of the book, a marvelous event occured. Eona accepted her true self. This was an act of great strength. She fully bonded with her dragon and became the true Mirror Dragoneye. I believe this is a message to women telling them not the be pushed down by social constraints and that their only true power lies in accepting their true selves.

As I mentioned earlier, Eon was a greatily enjoyable read. I am truly glad I had the whim to read it. I hope to pursue this series doggedly until its end and read some of Alison Goodman’s other work. 😉

http://www.alisongoodman.com.au/

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Sometimes the task of reviewing a book can be quite daunting. This could be great for the book, or it could express the readers ill-favor. Sometimes though, the reader may just be at a loss of words as to how to begin. This is an obviously tough predicament for the reviewer but if books were alive, I’m sure they would be flattered. Finding words to describe the particular complexity of certain literature is a task that must not be taken lightly, especially when reviewing William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. There is a quote out there in the world of literature that I can understand.

“Some books should be tasted,
Some devoured,
But only a few
Should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
-Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Lord of the Flies is truly a book that should only be “chewed and digested thoroughly.” The content is not lightly absorbed and the symbolism can be subtle to discern. I was completely enthralled while wrapping my mind around William Golding’s allegory. Lord of the Flies is not just a fantastic story but also leaves the reader with a powerful moral that is truly iconic. To grasp what I am trying to impart, and if you have not had the chance to read it yet, an overview of Lord of the Flies may be sufficient.

The story takes place in the midst of a raging war, where a plane evacuating a group of schoolboys from Britain is shot down over a deserted tropical island. Two boys, Ralph and Piggy, find a conch shell on the bottom of a lagoon which they use to call an assembly. The boys who arrive range from young, aimless children or “littl’uns” to older, more tempermental “bigg’uns.” Jack, the clever leader of a boys choir attempts to secure a position for himself as Chief but Ralph takes the position by popular vote. Jack assumes leadership over his choir as hunters. Together the boys try to build a simple society in which to coexist until rescue arrives. Their attempts were disastrous.

The theme of Lord of the Flies attempts to trace the flaws and defects of society back to the flaws of human nature. The moral of the book is that the condition of a society must depend on the ethical nature of it’s individuals and not on a political system, no matter how perfect or foolproof it may seem. The attempted society portrayed in Lord of the Flies is an excellent example of this. The boys were unable to coexist peacefully for an extended time because their ego’s would not allow it. They fell apart and degraded into savagery.

The “Lord of the Flies” is a translation of the Hebrew word, Ba’alzevuv, which roughly means devil or Satan. In Golding’s book, the satanic forces that compel the shocking events on the island come from within the human psyche rather than from an external, supernatural realm. A lack of spiritual motivation and an overpowering domination of Ego was prevalent among all the boys on the island, except perhaps Simon, who was very morally inclined. This led to the collapse of their society because without God/Spirit, man is truly evil when left to their own devices.

The emergence of this concealed wildness is the very theme of the book. One of the boys, Piggy is the intellectual of the story. The fact that he wears spectacles is of great importance to the symbolic plot. Later on, when his spectacles shatter, it marks the progressive decay of rational thought as the story progresses. The struggle between Ralph, who is the representative of civilization and government, and Jack, whose Ego is much more evident than Ralph’s and who is a good representative of anarchy on the island is also a struggle in society on a much larger scale.

Among the many symbolic moments in Lord of the Flies, one stood out largely for me, the killing of the sow. It was a very important part of the plot because it marked a turning point in the condition of the boy’s society. The symbolism of the act was that the drive or emotions the boys felt while slaying the sow was symbolic for sexual intercourse.  It was in all ways amoral and was a great portrayal of the Devil/Ego.

The pigs head was cut off and skewered upon a stick (sharpened at both ends) which was jammed in a crack in the earth. The boys stared in awe as they watched the flies gather around the leering head which was dubbed “Lord of the Flies.” Once the boys had been fully immersed in savagery they planned to kill Ralph toward the end of the book. The death planned for Ralph involved a stick sharpened at both ends. Grim thought eh? 😉

Although the killing of the sow was greatly symbolic in Lord of the Flies, it only laid the groundwork for the most deeply symbolic incident. Simon was greatly affected by the skewered head and seemed to be having a conversation with it in the book. The “Lord of the Flies” explained to Simon, in his heightened perceptions, that he was a part of Simon, as he was of all the boys, and was the cause of the distress among them. Simon eventually loses consciousness and imagines he is looking into a vast mouth. The blackness spread and encompassed Simon’s entire vision just before he lost consciousness. This mouth is the symbol of the ravenous and unreasoning Devil/Ego conquering Simon.

Eventually, the boys on the island are rescued by a naval officer who disrupts the man-hunt for Ralph. This is where the book ends with the boys being saved. Lord of the Flies was one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever had the chance to read. I am grateful to have successfully discerned it’s symbolism and understood its moral. The collapse of a society can only be halted through an acceptance of God or Love. The true nature of humanity, without this force, is inherently evil and will cause the collapse of the most respectable civilizations. This is a great read for those who welcome deep thinking. 😉

-Ival Ty Crisp

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Rating:
Characters: 17/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 18/20
Writing: 19/20
Recomendation: 20/20
Overall: 93/100 or A-
Source: Library

Summary: Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable–until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason transporting from the hippo tank into a strange, imperiled world.


Lyrian is full of dangers and challenges unlike any place Jason has ever known. The people live in fear of their malicious wizard emperor, Maldor. The brave resistors who once opposed Maldor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.


In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.

Review: This is the second series of Brandon Mull’s that I have read. I gotta say, I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Fablehaven, his first series, was very satisfying but there is something even more appealing about Beyonders. The world of Lyrian was a great work of art even though I wish a map was included with the the book. The chraracters were well placed in plot and were very crucial to the developing storyline.

I believe that Brandon Mull has a thing for betrayals, especially the ones you never see coming. Fablehaven included multiple betrayals and apparently the Beyonders series will be no different. I was actually shocked to discover the emergement of a false loyalty. I shant say much more, I wouldn’t want to spoil a good read. 😉

Overall, I thouroughly enjoyed Beyonders: A World Without Heroes. It was satisfying and wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be. Well… Mostly. Beyonders is a trilogy so I look forward to reading and reviewing the next two installments. Book two is supposedly going to be titled Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion. Much can be forshadowed from this. 😉

http://brandonmull.com/

Call of the Sea

One of those good men of the sea
I know that I will never be.

The sea that whispers in my ear
The sea that I can never hear.

Not even one made from my bone
A ship that I will never own.

I am asleep, awake I must
But I cannot for I am dust.

That yesteryear I met my end
Something that will never mend.

By the sea I have been led
To yearn from my eternal bed.

One of those good men of the sea
I know that I was not to be.

-Ival Ty Crisp