You might think I have a bias here, since Alison Goodman is a dear friend and one of my favourite people in the world, but I'm not enthralled by a book merely because I'm fond of the person who wrote it. In this case, I was enthralled by the characters, the story, the intricate but still crystal-clear writing. The Two Pearls of Wisdom (published in the US as Eon: Dragoneye Reborn), by Alison Goodman, was a book I hated to put down even for a moment. It had my complete attention from start to finish.
I was remiss in not getting around to reading it for months after buying a copy - it's rather long, and I wanted to put aside some time to concentrate on it - but I finally got to it this week. I wolfed it down in just two days that were busy with other things.
If Alison pops in and sees this post, then here's a simple message for her - This is another wonderful book from you, Al, maybe the best yet - and you're a wonderful writer!
For the rest of you ... if you enjoy fantasy, you'll be doing yourself a favour to read this one. The setting is exotic, but also layered, detailed, and utterly convincing; the fantasy element has been worked out with rigour, and depicted with vivid imagination; you'll care deeply about the characters and keep turning the pages to find out what's going to happen to them. Also, you'll squirm at the author's very keen observation of human interactions (well, you might squirm more if you know her and wonder how transparent you are to her frighteningly intelligent gaze!).
This is the first book in a two-part series, so we're all eagerly awaiting the sequel. But don't pester Alison about that: she's already working hard at it, and we'll just have to wait for a bit.