Title: Talon

Series: Talon, Book One

Author: Julie Kagawa
 ♠ @jkagawa

Published: October 28, 2014

Publisher: HarlequinTEEN

Pages: 449

Genres: Young Adult ♠ Fantasy ♠ Romance

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 03/02/2016): 3.79

  • Christina thought this title was interesting! It goes on her second shelf. To find out why…

Quick Thoughts and Rating:
Actual rating of 3.5-3.75 stars! This was like a YA contemporary romance with an epic dose of fantasy (or maybe vice versa), and I ate up every word. I was intrigued by all the aspects of the plot, dug the characters, and really enjoyed the writing. This is my second series by Kagawa, Blood of Eden series being my first, and now I’m more certain than ever that I need to go back and read her debut work, The Iron Fey series, because her books seem to be the exact kind of YA novels I want to read.

Review: So, I’m not going to sit here and rehash the specifics on the plot of the book because, to be honest, I’d muddle the hell out of it due to a fever and the fact that I’m a little impatient to get to the sequel since I have it ready to go. If you want to know what the book is about, a handy summary is provided above for your reading enjoyment. Now for my thoughts on the book. . .

I don’t think I quite knew what I wanted or expected from this book, but I’m absolutely certain I was pretty satisfied with the story Kagawa gave me. Delivered in three, first person perspectives- Ember, our young dragonell (female dragon), Garret, the young St. George operative (dragonslayer), and Riley/Cobalt, wanted Talon runaway (rogue/fugitive dragon)- I really enjoyed being inside the head of each of them. Individually, the narratives were distinct and had their own clear voice and storyline, so it was never hard to distinguish who was speaking (even without those convenient little headers). Furthermore, Kagawa excellently maneuvered her way through them, transitioning effortlessly between them with little to no story overlap, and used the narrative to propel the plot and the pace. I liked the role that each of these additions played, and really enjoyed them as characters in general. But to build on these narratives even more, two of the three were actually dragons, and I appreciated how the author dug into those sides of them, especially in Ember’s case. She struggled the most with the balance between her humanity and her dragon, more so than any dragon before her. Additionally, I really loved the development I seen from her, and even a bit from Garret, but I can’t wait to see how their characters continue to transform throughout the series because there’s so much room for them to grow.

As far as romance, I don’t normally dislike or hate love triangles when they’re done well, but this one had the benefit of being properly written and having a unique element about it. Ember’s human side appeared to have been drawn to one guy because of an emotional attachment and developing relationship while her dragon side was pulled to the other because of pure animal instinct. This whole love debacle is something that I really look forward to exploring in future installments of this series as it wasn’t too deeply delved into in this first book, particularly because the three were rarely ever in the same vicinity at the same time. (But when they were, *giddy feels* I liked it a lot!)

As for the world-building, I liked that there was these secret orders, one being a league of shape-shifting dragons and the other their sworn enemy, set about everyday civilians and life as we regular readers know it. Kagawa didn’t go too deeply into either of their backstories, but I have a feeling that this was done intentionally as there are still four more books left in this series, and so I look forward to learning more on them as well.

Overall and simply stated, I just really liked the book and felt like it was a great introduction into this new series. I was pulled in easily from the start and after the midway point, I refused to set the book down until I saw how it concluded. If I was going to get nitpicky, I could mention how I got irritated occasionally with Ember’s whining about not being free, not knowing anything, and feeling like her future was already mapped out for her. Rationally though, I can say that I could explain it away because she technically was just a teen that had been hidden away her entire life and suddenly she’d been thrust into this whole wide world full of possibilities, so it was understandable even if it bordered annoying at times.

Lastly, while I would have been satisfied with the ending, I’m damn proud I don’t have to wait to find out what happens next because I already have Rogue queued up on my Kindle and waiting for me. I may also be hoping for more kissing and badassery and beautifully described dragons.

Teaser Quote:

     “Kiss me,” I whispered. Make me forget, for a night, that this isn’t real. Make me believe that this could be my life. That I’m not betraying everything I know to be here, to feel like this.
Ember bent down. Her lips touched mine, and my doubts vanished. The soldier disappeared. Everything disappeared, except her. I felt nothing but her hands on my skin, her lips, her body pressed against me. I kissed her until I was consumed with her, searing this moment into my consciousness, driving away the soldier and St. George and everything about the war. I would get back to it tomorrow. Tonight, I wanted to be normal. 

     Tonight, Garret the soldier didn’t exist.
~quote taken from Talon, Garret’s POV, at 67%

Rec it? Yes, I do believe I would! I found this book hard to put down, especially after the middle when the pacing really picked up, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I was a little sad that I had to depart from the world of Talon to come and write this review before I could dive straight into the sequel, Rogue.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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