Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on October 10, 2014 | 21 Comments

Review: Talon by Julie KagawaTalon by Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
Published by Harlequin Teen (10.28.2014)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 400 pages
Source: Borrowed

5 Stars

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.

My thoughts


Why dragons are cooler than humans:

  1. They can fly.
  2. They can breathe fire.
  3. They have scales as armor and are practically invincible.
  4. They’re badasses.

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)

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4.5/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World-building: 5/5
Pace: 5/5
Feels: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 5/5

Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Subscribe to Novel Heartbeat to get more posts like this!

21 responses to “Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

  1. I’m so relieved you liked this one!! I’m REALLY excited for it…basically because dragons. Your list of “why dragons are better than humans” is like spot-on. I love dragons. I want a pet dragon. I mean, is that too hard to ask?! My family keeps saying no.
    I LOVE going into a book by a super-top-favourite author and just having really good feelings that you’re going to like it. ^-^ I basically do that with every Michael Grant and Maggie Stiefvater book. There’s a little bit of nerves that I might not…buuuut, they never disappoint. XD

  2. Oh this is being made into a movie? That’s pretty cool! :) I love and adore The Iron Fey stories so I just have to read Talon and the Blood of Eden series. I’m happy you enjoyed this one, I haven’t read a dragon tale in years (maybe the last one was MG). I’ll get around to this one I’m sure, I love Kagawa’s world building! I’m happy you enjoyed this one, I have seen some “meh” reviews as well.

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

  3. I’m so happy you loved this one! I have it and will be starting soon and I’ve been a bit nervous. So happy you loved it. I adored the Blood of Eden series so I was crazy eager for this book–then like you, I saw the subpar reviews and got scared.

  4. Yes! I’m so glad you loved this one! I was getting nervous because I wasn’t hearing very many great things about it, but there are a lot of things that you loved about it that I would probably enjoy. Forbidden romance is one of my favorite types of romance and love triangles don’t bother me very much in the first place. I doubt I would be super disappointed in the dragons because there’s much more to the book than that. Great review, Jessi! I’m really looking forward to this one. :)

  5. I have really been wanting to read Talon, but have not heard much about it. I love dragons, though, so I’ve been lusting after it. (And that cover. Seriously.) I’m so glad you liked it! Now I’m more excited to read it. I really need a so-good-you-read-it-in-one-sitting kind of book right now. I’ve been in a slump.

  6. Kelly G.

    I’ve had a thing for dragons ever since my dad and I geeked out over Puff the Magic Dragon when I was a wee little one. These dragons sound way more badass though!

  7. Emma A

    I won an ARC of this and loved it! I am hoping to add a finished copy to my shelves soon :)
    I loved the play between Ember and Garrett, and the inner debate that both of them deal with when falling in love.
    Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  8. I’ve actually never read this author (apparently I need to!!), but ever since I saw the cover for Talon I’ve been excited because DRAGONS! I have to say I’d focus on the breathing fire over the flying, but maybe that means I’m violent and you’re peaceful? Bwahaha!

    Anyway – I had also read Nose Graze’s review and was kind if nervous, but we’re not book twinkies, so I definitely still wanted to read it. I’m just so glad that you loved it so much. And love triangles are becoming less and less of an issue for me (maybe authors have heard our complaints and are doing them better?), so I’m not woried about that. I WAS worried about the lack of dragons I’d heard about, but hopefully I’ll feel like you do! Great review!

  9. I’ve only read her vampire books, but I really did enjoy them and her writing, and so I’m curious to see how she deals with dragons. I’ve had a hard time finding dragon books that I like. Hopefully, these will change my mind.

  10. I’m so glad you enjoyed this so much that you read it in one sitting! I haven’t been able to do that in a long time. I’ve been going back and forth about this because I’ve never read anything about dragons before. I kind of want to give this a chance because I do think that the idea of dragons in literature is something that is interesting, but I want to make sure that I start off with a good one.

    Oh… and the eat your own tail thing… Hilarious!

  11. Cathy

    Hi, I’ve read both Talon and Rogue, and all I can say is OMG. These books are definitely worthwhile although a put-down for me is well, I think there’s not enough pages!! When I first bought Rogue, I finished reading it in half a day!!! This book is one of the best I’ve read, it is very engaging and interesting.I would give these books both a 4 1/2 star rating out of 5

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.