Talon (Talon #1)
By: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
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.
This is my first Julie Kagawa book. I have The Immortal Rules sitting on my self somewhere, waiting to be read, but I have yet to be in the mood for a dystopian vampire book, and so it sits. I was, however, very interested in the idea of shapeshifter dragons, a dragon secret society of sorts, and dragon hunters. Also, dragon twins. And dragons doing general dragon-y things.
While I didn’t get a super duper awesome dragon story, I did get a rather entertaining one that kept me hooked and addicted until the end. Meaning, I had very few things I was disappointed with. These very few things, though? They were very distracting.
My main issue was with Garrett. Not only does it not make logistical sense for a human, who lives, say, 75-ish years, to have a long-term relationship with a dragon, who lives several hundred years, but, this human was also a member of a secret society that hunted down dragons and killed them. Having a relationship with a person who deems your species expendable does not sound like a good life choice. Also, Garrett is all wishy washy about whether or not he should follow orders and kill Ember for the majority of the book. He decides that he does like her, but then he is still pretty OK with the idea of finishing out the mission. He even tells himself multiple times that he just needs to finish the mission. Even though he knows that finishing the mission means killing Ember. Also, his general opinions towards dragons do not change drastically throughout the book. He doesn’t really even change his mind much about Ember-as-a-dragon until she doesn’t kill him after he pulls a gun on her. Unfortunately, the way the book ends, we will probably be seeing more of him as the series goes on.
My other main complaint is how Ember refers to “her dragon.” While she constantly claims that she is a dragon, the dragon-y part of her seems to react separately from the rest of her. She refers to how it hisses in anger or gets excited and perks up, but it is never her reaction, it is always the dragon’s. Not being a dragon myself, I wouldn’t know for sure, but I would think that she would be a dragon all the time, not just when she looks like one. She speaks of her dragon as if it is a separate entity, like it is more of a pet that she has a telepathic connection with rather than who she is. I think this was mainly done to show the contrast in Ember’s reactions and feelings toward the two love interests, how they appealed to the two different external versions of her. It tried to legitimized the love triangle by having her be more of two different personalities, one instinctual and one with human feelings, than the typical teenage girl who can’t decide between two guys. As the reader, however, these two conflicting personalities were confusing.
Getting back to the characters, I can’t say I enjoyed Dante and Ember’s relationship, because it quickly becomes strained, but it felt real. Ember’s frustration with her brother was palpable and with his arrogant goody-two-shoes-ness this was understandable. I liked Ember as a character, she was sassy and not passive in the least. My only complaint? Ember and Dante are obvious dragon names. If you are trying to hide in plain sight, pick something less conspicuous like Meg or Beatrice or Will or Tom that does not scream FIRE and FLAMES.
What I did like about the book is that we got to see some dragon flying and fighting, though, possible spoiler, where the hell were Nettle and Remy during that last fight? Were they really hiding in the cave while the villain monologued about killing them after they were done with Ember and Cobalt? Certainly four against one was better than just two even if Remy and Nettle weren’t the best fighters. This was for their life, were they really just going to sit there and wait to die? Also, if I were Ember and knew some people who could help were just sitting there, I’d be pissed.
Mainly, Ember and her sass and her willingness to not have the wool shoved over her eyes, except when it came to her brother, and Riley, the dragon love interest who had sass to match Ember’s, saved the book and were the reason why I kept reading (so as to get to their POV chapters). I just want more Riley and Ember and maybe some Wes in book two. Thats all, no Dante or Garrett, please. Also, if you ever see the hardback copy of this book out in the wild TOUCH IT. It is textured like dragon scales. Which is awesome.
If you like what you read above, please follow using one (or more) of the social media sites in the sidebar!
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.