Author: Julie Kagawa
Format / Length: Paperback / 449 Pages
Publisher / Date Published: Harlequin Teen / October 28th 2014
Category / Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal
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Description: Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.
Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.
Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.
You know when you read a book by an author you like… and you’re inclined to like that just bit more than if it was written by an author you’d never read before?
Yeah. That. I’ve been a fan of Julie Kagawa ever since I fell in love with her Iron Fey series, and thoroughly enjoyed her take on post-apocalyptic vampires in her Blood of Eden books. So imagine how excited I was, a year or so back, when I saw she’d made a deal on a book about dragons? DRAGONS, PEOPLE. DRAGONS. I dare you to defy the greatness of dragons, in all their fire-breathing, scaly glory. So on the day of its publication I raced out and bought a copy.
And then… and then the reviews started pouring in.
Some people liked it — others were disappointed. And Talon became that book which sat a little forlornly on my shelf waiting to be read. A year later I braved it, and picked it up. It didn’t take me long to read, of course — I don’t think any Julie Kagawa book could do that — but once I was done I was left with a bit of a frustrated, empty feeling.
In short, Talon left a lot to be desired, but it was not a bad book.
I would even go as far to say that I enjoyed it… to a certain degree. The novel follows the story of Ember and Dante Hill and it’s soon established that Ember, our heroine, is the rebellious questioning one, whereas Dante was the meek, follow-the-rules brother. As soon as I figured that out I had a pretty clear idea of where their character relationship was going, confirmed by the end of the story. So perhaps in some regards Talon was a predictable read — but who ever said predictable can’t be enjoyable, too? Besides, I love Julie Kagawa’s writing style… and this book was no different.
So, Kara, what didn’t you like about it?
Strangely enough, while sitting down to brainstorm this review, I was finding it difficult to articulate what it was about Talon that left a lot to be desired. So I figured I’d fall back on an old comfort and write a list.
- I felt like Talon dropped into too many YA tropes for it to be truly original.
- The romance. It was a touch too… “forbidden” for me. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I like forbidden romance, but here I am comparing it to Kagawa’s another novels. Particularly Ash and Meghan. I just loved them so much, okay!? And I haven’t felt like any other romantic interest in Kagawa’s novels have quiiiiiiiiiiite lived up to that. (Maybe I’m just being picky??)
- Parts of it dragged. Not really a lot happened? I kept waiting for a scene that would have me on the edge of my metaphorical seat, but it didn’t come.
- I didn’t hate the characters. But neither did they have the spark I’ve come to love from this author.
But enough negativity! What DID I like?
- As mentioned above, THE WRITING. She writes in a clean, simple way not overbeared with descriptions or fancy words. No, Kagawa writes the story as it is, and I think that sort of writing style takes a whole lot of effort.
- There were parts where I thought, “Now THAT’S the Julie Kagawa I know and love.” Yet not enough.
- The ending. Saw pretty much everything coming… but the next book might be interesting.
- DRAGONS. (Do I really need to elaborate here?)
To sum it up, disappointing… but I’ll read Rogue to see where the author takes the series. If you liked Firelight by Sophie Jordan, this book might be for you.