Old School Thursdays: The Two Pearls of Wisdom

A review from 2008 of The Two Pearls of Wisdom which has also been published as Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eon: Rise of The Dragoneye and also just Eon.  A sequel titled The Necklace of The Gods is rumoured to be published sometime this year.

Under the harsh regime of an ambitious master, candidate Eon is training to become a Dragoneye – a powerful lord able to master wind and water to protect the land. But Eon also harbours a desperate secret – Eon is, in fact, Eona, a young woman who has endured years of disguise as a boy for the chance to practise the Dragoneye′s art. In a world where women are only hidden wives or servants, Eona′s dangerous deception is punishable by death.

Still in disguise, Eona′s unprecedented talent thrusts her into the centre of a lethal struggle for the Imperial throne. Summoned by the Emperor to the opulent and teacherous court, Eona must learn to trust her power and find the strength to face a vicious enemy who would seize her magic and her life.

The Two Pearls Of Wisdom, by Alison Goodman, isn’t your a-typical fantasy. Having an Oriental element it has been compared to Lian Hearn’s Otori Series but I think, for the most part, that’s where the similarity ends.

Usually stories like this make my blood boil. Actually any story with even a hint of female oppression is enough to it raise my ire. This being no exception because the main character is female pretending to be male (if she is found out she’ll be killed), the story is set in a time and place where women have no real meaning or power and Eon is being ruled over by the people around her.

So that in itself was enough to make this an ‘angry’ novel for me (angry doesn’t mean bad, it’s actually a good thing because there’s feeling in the story). It also didn’t help that I found it very predictable, and yet given all it’s predictability it was actually quite a compelling read. I found it very hard to put down, thanks to it’s flowing style and assortment of characters, mainly Eon/Eona who, in all her oppression, ended up with some back bone.

It also made a difference, in my opinion, that the main character was not physically perfect and that there was a transgender as well. I don’t come across many fantasy novels (if any) that have transgender individuals so I thought that was interesting and refreshing rather then the writer sticking to typical characters.

Then there were the dragons; being of an Oriental back drop so were the dragons, which I too found refreshing. There was the use of Chakras and Chi, although that wasn’t the names they were given, but if you know anything about that you’ll recognise it. All that added to it’s Oriental flavour.

As for this being a young adult novel, well it could pass for either young adult or a light adult read. Definitely a novel adults could read as well without any real complaint.

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