Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: Talon

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.   Quoted from Goodreads


When I first started this book, all I could think of was Firelight by Sophie Jordan.  I mean the plot ideas are almost identical: dragon girl, dragon hunter boy, first taste of freedom outside in the human world, controlling dragon society that will determine girl's future without giving her any say, red hair.  The list goes on.  Fortunately I've read enough by Julia Kagawa that this wasn't a turn off.  I knew things would be different, and she was so creative with the ideas around her Iron Fae series that I was interested to see what she would do with dragons.

 You can tell this is the first book in a series---a five book series, no less.  The main character has a lot of growing to do.  It's not that I didn't like Ember, because I did, but like I said before, she has a lot of growing to do, and I'm interested to see where she ends up.  She's impulsive, rebellious, and reckless, but also strong and endearing, and you can't help but root for her.  Garret is probably the character that grows the most this book, though Ember does her fair share, and I'm curious where his character will go from here.

What this book does, really, is set up the next four.  It's a little slow in the beginning---well, the entire first half, to be honest---and doesn't really pick up until the last quarter.  What it's doing is establishing characters and multiple conflicts that you know will all come into play in the next four books.  The ending, of course, is heartbreaking and intense, guaranteeing that you will be reading book two. It just takes a minute for you to get there.

As for the dreaded love triangle, I read once that a good love triangle will bring out different aspects of the main character's personality.  It's not just two boys that she will be choosing, but two different lifestyles and really the person she will ultimately become.  Maybe the author has the same philosophy because that's exactly what our different love interests do for Ember.  One is for her dragon, one for her human, and I'm actually interested to see where it ends up.  With four more books coming, you know there will be a lot of ups and downs.

As for the dragons themselves, there's nothing really groundbreaking here.  They're fun, supernatural creatures but not anything we haven't seen in a dozen dragon books.  Still, I love the way they're portrayed and can't wait to see what else the author does with them as the book progresses.

Basically this is a slow start to what will probably be an amazing series.  Julia Kagawa is an excellent writer, and she knows how to torture both her readers and characters in the best possible way.  I'm giving this book a nice 3.5 stars with the absolute certainty that I will be reading the next one in the series.

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