Two and a half stars. It was okay, and I might get around to reading the second half. I should probably do so before giving an evaluation, as it appears it's more a duo than a stand-alone book. I enjoyed the pace of the first 75 or 100 pages, which some critics might label "useless worldbuilding." I felt like it was building the world Eon lived in, from the Master's house to the city, showing the different types of adversity faced, and setting up an 'overcome major adversity' plot. As Eona came into her role as Dragoneye, however, I began to be more troubled by her behavior. Ultimately, I'm supposed to believe that she has hidden her female identity and trained for this position for four years. Beaten when she steps out of line. Living with pain and harsh discipline from sword masters. Studying the men and boys around her in order to emulate them. Then, she becomes Dragoneye. Suddenly she starts talking back like a 20th century American. She's blurting out statements right and left, when just months before she lowers her eyes and says "yes, Master," "yes, Swordmaster" and so on. If her and her master's lives depend on keeping the secret of her sex, it's surprising to me that she is given so few details of life after choosing that would help prevent accidental disclosure. "Bad luck" doesn't cut it as a justification. It's their lives. I was also troubled by her failing to grab the (available) swords when they realized they were facing armed opposition. I mean, really--you trained with a sword for four years. It should be a somewhat natural response at this point.I also wondered if perhaps I am just a bit old-fashioned for the current young adult scene. I've read a wide variety of fantasy, but it seems to me that 1) one's master being killed, 2) being spiritually raped, 3) being almost physically raped, 4) the emperor overthrown, 5)a best friend slowly poisoned and losing his mind, 6) witnessing a woman being killed, along with 7) her infant son, as well as the plain old- fashioned disappointment of not being able to quite succeed in the goal you trained at for four years, was excessively violent and overwhelming.On a positive note, I loved having a transgendered character, and thought Lady Dela was one of the most interesting, likeable characters in the book. Kudos to Goodman for integrating her as a human and not an 'issue.'