Title: The Necklace of the Gods
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Bantam Press
Published: Out now
Eona – one of two surviving Dragoneyes – is on the run and supposedly her country’s saviour, but she cannot control her power. When she tries to bond with her Dragon, the anguish of the 10 spirit beasts whose Dragoneyes were murdered surges through her and she becomes a terrible killing force.
As High Lord Sethon strives to create a potent weapon, Eona faces assassins, savage battles, jealousy, betrayal and the heartbreaking truth about herself as she fights to help the Pearl Emperor’s true heir inherit the throne. Can she contain the darkness that seethes within her?
The follow-up to Alison Goodman’s The Two Pearls of Wisdom, The Necklace of the Gods throws the reader into the action from the off. Beautifully paced, the intriguing characters are barely given a chance to breathe before the next onslaught. The tension is palpable throughout, and I found myself willing Eona on to the satisfying resolution.
Despite being unfamiliar with the first book, I quickly became immersed in the sumptuous oriental fantasy setting. A heady mix of samurai and magic, Goodman weaves a stunning landscape of political warfare, duty and love. There is a plethora of characters, all of which are explored rather than being one-dimensional, background noise.
This is a coming of age novel. After many years spent pretending to be male, Dragoneye Eona must now embrace her true self and learn not only about love and loss, but to understand the power she holds and the far reaching consequences of such. Her connections to both rightful Emperor Kygo and distrustful fellow Dragoneye Lord Ido are well explored, and like Eona, I was never sure of Ido’s true motives until the very last gasp.
The battle scenes are rich in detail, I could practically hear the clang of sword meeting sword and smell the tang of blood in the air. Goodman does a great job of making you care about even the peripheral characters, so that when deaths occur, even after such a short time, they are meaningful. Even the bereft dragons, mourning the loss of their Dragoneyes, are given character and purpose.
I could feel the urgency amongst the little band of warriors as they traverse the countryside, afraid of being discovered at any moment by Sethon’s forces, and I was willing them on with every turn of the page.
If I had a niggle, it would be the few minor cases of repetition in the language, but these are so few and far between that it doesn’t spoil the flow of the narrative.
An enjoyable story, this is a novel I could delve into more than once. I just need to read The Two Pearls of Wisdom first!