Talker 25 by Joshua McCune
Series: Talker 25 #1
Published by Greenwillow (4.22.2014)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 432 pages
It's a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.
Boy, was I looking forward to this book. Because DRAGONS. But…meh.
First of all, I was expecting this awesome Urban Fantasy, and it ended up being a cookie-cutter Dystopian with dragons thrown in the mix. That was my first problem. My second problem was that the character interaction and dialogue was just…absurd.
“Put these on if it’s too bright for you, Callahan. We don’t want you squinting like you’re blocked up or something.”
Um…oookaaay. Who says that? And the main character overreacted WAY too much. She kept getting angry and yelling and crying over the stupidest things, and I was just like:
Is that really necessary?! She kept fighting with her dad, and they were ridiculous arguments. And even her dad was very immature for a grown ass man. What kind of father would act like that? Even her friends and brother were weird and overreactive.
Sam grins. “They think she’s a Diocletian. They’re these wicked-ass insurgents who-“
Trish shoos him. “Sometimes you’re a real idiot, Sam. Scurry along and let the grown-ups talk.”
Sam reddens before falling into step behind us. Normally, I wouldn’t give a second thought to his sullen embarrassment, but today it’s the cherry on top of the anxiety, frustration, and anger that’s consumed me since my trip to Dragon Hill.
I wheel on him. “Stop acting like a baby, Sam. Trish doesn’t like you. She’s never going to like you. You can’t even walk yourself to school like a normal person. Why don’t you grow up and get a life!”
Then, Sam turns and runs away, and his backpack strap breaks and it falls into the middle of the street. He keeps running. Melissa starts crying.
There were so many scenes like that, where it was all just an over-exaggeration and overreaction and I just couldn’t bring myself to care because I thought it was all idiotic. It got old VERY fast.
I kept hoping that the actual dragons would make things better, but they didn’t. The interactions with them were just as ridiculous, and it wasn’t convincing at all. Melissa was freaking out about being around the dragons because they killed her mother, called them all monsters, then literally 2 pages later:
She [dragon] slumps down and suddenly she’s crying. High-pitched, almost inaudible. The screams of a child lost and alone. I press my hands to her icy temples, lean my head against hers.
“I know how hard it is to be without your family,” I say.
There wasn’t any development or transition showing Melissa warming up to the dragons. One minute they were monsters, the next she was consoling one and touching it.
I also didn’t really understand the world. The world building was flimsy at best – the dragons popped up on Earth randomly, but they don’t remember where they came from. That’s a bit of a cop out, don’t you think? I didn’t get the dragon’s color classifications because it was never thoroughly explained, just glossed over briefly. And what the hell are D-men? Was that even explained, or did my brain just shut down while reading, causing me to miss the explanation? Who knows. I didn’t know what the All-Blacks were, either, or the pro-dragon vs. anti-dragon sides of society.
To tell you the truth, this book was very sophomoric and it read more like Middle Grade than Young Adult. I made it 50% through and couldn’t handle it anymore, so I skimmed through to the end. *shrugs* I still didn’t see any point to the story, and I didn’t want to waste any more of my time.
Writing style: 1/5