Books about girls disguising themselves as men are fairly common in the YA fantasy genre, but Eon combines disguise, dragons, and a historic Asian setting to come up with an extremely readable novel. Eon is being raised as a boy by her master as one of the eleven candidates for the Rat Dragon. Dragons and their human counterparts serve the emperor and the realm with their magic. Eon’s disguise is aided by her being a cripple, since no one looks too closely at her. Her secret weapon is her gift of magic, as she is attuned to dragon energy.
Eon’s world is filled with court intrigue and dangerous machinations. When she is chosen by the lost Mirror Dragon, she is elevated to the position of lord. While she is initially aided by her old master, Eon is also a powerful pawn in a desperate move to consolidate power by the Emperor. Eon is guided by her new friend Lady Dela but Lord Ido, the current owner of the Rat Dragon, is determined to seize Eon’s power. Gender issues are explored in varying aspects. Lady Dela is a man living a woman’s life. Various servants in the Empire are castrated. Eon’s true identity being revealed could lead to her punishment and execution. While there isn’t anything particularly new in this book, the combination of detailed world-building and the character relationships made this book very readable. The ending of the book does set up the inevitable sequel, but it looks like two books tell Eon’s story instead of the more typical trilogy. This is a good summer read for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy novels.