With its richly detailed setting and engaging characters, the first installment in the Dragoneye
series is a riveting read. Detailing an exotic land that brings to mind an ancient Chinese imperial dynasty, author Alison Goodman uses intricate descriptions of clothing, food, and architecture to create extraordinary depth and believability. She illustrates the ornate surroundings with great physicality, as when Eon describes the Portal of the Twelve Heavenly Animals:
I had always thought it was the most beautiful gate in the city - even more graceful than the huge Gate of Supreme Benevolence, the entrance to the Imperial Palace. The portal was a complete circle, the twelve dragon animals carved around it in order of the cycle of ascension
The imperial engineers had set the huge carved circle on a system of pulleys and locks so that on the...
Beyond the Book
The Chinese Zodiac
Author Alison Goodman models her concept of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune after the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Falling in an established order within the cycle, the animals, according to legend, once bickered over who would head the cycle of years. The gods held a contest to see which animal would first reach the opposite side of the river; that animal would lead the cycle. Although the ox was winning, the rat had ridden across on its back and jumped onto the bank first. The pig swam lazily, lost the race, and consequently fell to last in the twelve-year cycle.
In the Chinese zodiac these animals appear on a circular chart, representing the...