LIBRARY IDEA FOR NOVEMBER:

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA GAME: Looking for zero-prep Thanksgiving activities for middle school? This trivia game helps keep your students learning and engaged, even in the days before a holiday break. It’s zero-prep for you, and text and images are 99% editable.

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CHILDREN OF RAGNAROK:

Since Ragnarokthe great war between the gods and the forces of chaos—the human realm of the Midlands has become a desperate and dangerous place, bereft of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones—his family has remained prosperous. But he stands to lose everything when he’s wrongly convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is Eiric’s half-systir, Liv, who’s under suspicion for her interest in seidr, or magic. Then a powerful jarl steps in: He will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reginn Eiklund has spent her life performing at alehouses for the benefit of her master, Asger, a fire demon she is desperate to escape. After one performance that amazes even herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make Reginn an irresistible offer: return with them to the Temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.

Eiric’s, Liv’s, and Reginn’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, a paradise fueled by magic and the site of the Temple. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.

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Review: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Goodman)

AUTHOR: Alison Goodman
SERIES: Eon, book 1
PUBLISHER: Viking Juvenile
PUBLICATION DATE: December 26, 2008
ISBN: 9780670062270
PAGES: 531
SOURCE: public library Overdrive
GENRE: fantasy
GIVE IT TO: upper-MS, HS

SUMMARY: With the help of a former Dragoneye, sixteen-year old orphan Eona disguises herself as a 12-year old boy in order to have a chance to become a Dragoneye.

REVIEW: Holy long book, Batman! I’ve had my eye on Eon for years in my library, and I finally sat down and read it. It is definitely well-written, but must admit I skimmed some of the middle parts. Excellent world-building, but the action scenes are spaced between a mountain of info-dumping. I’m also sad that there was no romance, but that really is probably better since most of the characters think Eona is a castrated 12-year old boy.

With plenty of East Asian influences such as the Chinese Zodiac, dragons, and hua, Eon‘s worldbuilding is absolutely incredible. Possibly due to some boredom with the plot, I kept stopping to research things like the Chinese Zodiac and hua and eunuchs. All very fascinating, and I’m ready for a Chinese New Year category on Jeopardy now!

Characters are well-done, but I wasn’t sure how much I actually liked Eona. She’s tough, no doubt, but she seems way too eager to throw away her femininity in favor of being a boy. Does she really expect to keep this charade going for the rest of her life? She’s done it this long, I suppose! Eona isn’t the only gender-bending character; there is another very important character (who I LOVED!)–a man living life as a woman. This self-aware individual says that “this is just who she is” and “she’s always been this way.” The gender identity stuff didn’t bother me so much, but it may raise some eyebrows in more conservative circles.

There is one part at the end that I REALLY did not like. Mild spoiler here–highlight to see…One particular “bad” character is given a reprieve that he absolutely did not deserve. After all his misdeeds and abhorrent treatment of Eon (assault, attempted rape, attempted murder), I would think she would want to dispatch him the first chance she got. Instead, she gives him a chance to escape with her. Huh?

THE BOTTOM LINE: Excellent worldbuilding. Well-drawn (but sometimes unlikeable) characters. Overlong. Horrible ending. I can see why Eon gets high praise from fantasy readers, but it isn’t so much my cup of tea.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it. Librarians in very conservative schools might want to read this one first due to gender identity and two near-rape scenes.

READALIKES: Seraphina (Hartman); Leviathan (Westerfeld); Shadow & Bone (Bardugo)

RATING BREAKDOWN:

  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Engrossing: 2/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Appeal to teens: 3/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5

CONTENT:

  • Language: none–at least I don’t remember any
  • Sexuality: medium–two near-rapes, 2 cross-dressing characters, multiple mentions of breast binding and menstrual cycle
  • Violence: medium–plenty of beatings for young apprentices; murder and attempted murder; fighting with knives and swords
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium–tea that prevents menstruation; a steroid-like powder that increases muscular bulk
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