Series: Talon #1
Published by Harlequin Teen (10.28.2014)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 400 pages
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.
Why dragons are cooler than humans:
- They can fly.
- They can breathe fire.
- They have scales as armor and are practically invincible.
- They’re badasses.
- THEY CAN FLY.
It’s no secret that Julie Kagawa is my favorite author. I’ve read and loved every single book she’s ever published. So of course, I was DYING to get my hands on this one. I requested the ARC, tried trading on YA Book Exchange, even tried to see if any of my friends had received it. No luck. Then, Amanda @ Confessions of a Bookie Monster scored a copy and was awesome enough to let me borrow it! THANK YOU Amanda! <33 Anyway, when I finally got it, I was a little nervous to read it. I’d seen a few bad ratings by people who enjoyed her other books, and even book quadruplet #1 (aka Ashley @ Nose Graze) didn’t love it. I held it in my hands for a good ten minutes before I finally cracked it open, thinking: What if I don’t like it? All of her other books were 5 stars for me. What if it doesn’t live up to my sky high expectations? I shouldn’t have worried!
I loved Talon. LOVED it. (So much that I gobbled it up in one sitting – I don’t even remember the last time I did that!) It was everything I’d hoped it would be! Julie is awesome at bringing a setting to life, and this one was cinematic. I can’t WAIT until it comes to the big screen!! (Although now I’m worried it won’t be good enough, of course.) I could easily picture everything in my head like I was there. I was engrossed from page 1, too! Even when there was nothing happening it still held my attention. Julie has a way of making the most mundane things interesting. And of course, there was the usual humor that Julie is awesome at. I found myself smiling or giggling many times!
And the best part? DRAGONS. That was awesome! I loved the bits and pieces we got about the Talon organization. Their branches were cool: Basilisks, Gilas, Chameleons, Vipers. I would have loved to know more about that, but I’m sure we’ll find out all about it in the next book. I saw quite a few complaints about the lack of dragons in this book. I didn’t have that problem. Sure, they weren’t front and center – honestly, this book was more about Ember assimilating into human life than actual dragons – but there was still plenty of dragon action!
The history of bigotry and hatred between The Order of St. George and Talon was well done. Both sides were raised to believe that the other was the enemy, raised to kill each other on sight. The Order was raised believing that dragons were cold, emotionless, lethal monsters. It was very interesting to see Garret start to realize that everything he had known was wrong. Likewise, as Ember started learning more about Talon, her perception of the world was shattered as well.
I think one of the reasons I loved this book so much is it reminded me a bit of Blood and Chocolate, which has always been a favorite of mine. I have a strong interest in forbidden romances, so of course I was sold on a romance between a dragon and a dragon hunter!
I do have to say that Ember kind of irritated me a little at one point. ALL the signs were there, pointing to the fact that Garret was part of St. George, but she didn’t see it. The scene where she saw his bite scars and didn’t even have a suspicion made me want to smack her! She did redeem herself soon after, when she had a fleeting thought about him being one of them. So the realization was there, she just ignored it. That made it much better!
I loved the characters, though. Ember was a great lead – eager and a bit naive, if only because she doesn’t know the ways of the human world; but fierce and defiant. On the other hand, Garret was practical, logical, calculating. He was so used to being a cold-blooded soldier that he was completely out of his element when trying to blend in. I loved seeing his cold exterior slowly melt as he got to know Ember! In the beginning, the mission was the only thing he cared about, but his feelings for Ember snuck up on him. I loved it!
I have to warn you: There is a love triangle in this book. As many of you know, I despise love triangles. BUT – with this, it worked. Ember’s human side cared for Garret, but her dragon side needed more, thus it was drawn to Riley. It made sense. It wasn’t like most love triangles, where a vapid human flip flops back and forth between two hot boys because she can’t make her mind up. Ember was almost two people, her dragon and human sides nearly completely separate. So, it worked.
I liked Garret, but I am so Team Riley ;) I loved him! I was intrigued by him from his first appearance, and his cocky attitude was endearing rather than annoying. I want more Riley! And the ending totally left me craving more…I’m very excited to see where Julie takes the series next! Can’t wait for the movie!!
Side note: I so want to tell someone to rnesh karr slithis. (Translated: “eat your own tail,” or the dragon version of go screw yourself :D)
Writing style: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5