Review Friday: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Talon #1

Goodreads Blurb:
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 was a great book but all I could think while I read it was that it was awfully similar to Firelight by Sophie Jordan.  Dragons are living secretly in the world, there’s a society out to kill them, the enemies fall in love, they defy said organizations, the end.  Which is really unfortunate because I usually love Julie Kagawa’s writing!  It was so promising too!

In general, I feel like Ms. Kagawa didn’t focus enough on the societies and the history and made more of a love story.  I’m calling a Selection on this.  Hopefully, in Rogue, she does more with the world because this was really lacking.  The world-building could really use some work.  Julie Kagawa’s other books are fantasies in fantastical lands while this one is in the real world.  It’s almost like she assumed that we already knew enough and therefore it doesn’t require as much world-building.

To that end, it seemed like a big cliched plot line like I mentioned in the opening paragraph.  However, there are things that were done well and rose above the cliche.  For example, it was made very clear that not everyone is the same and you can’t classify people based upon their past.  Utterly relevant in today’s world if you ask me.  Also, how the dragons were integrated and how the society was structured (from what we saw) is very well done.

I would have liked to know more about all the organizations (Rogues, St. George, and Talon).  We just got a general picture with a few glimpses into the horrific things they do.  I’d really like to see the complete picture in the next book.

I also wanted to mention the ending because it really was stellar.  If the rest of the book was lacking in motivation and originality, then the ending was the exact opposite.  Although I did sort of see it ending in that manner (okay, more than sort of), I enjoyed the way it ended.  It was oddly satisfying if you know what I mean!

The different POV’s were okay as well.  There were three: Ember, Garret, and Riley/Cobalt.  I appreciated the glimpse into their world’s (it really helps with understanding the organizations) but I can’t help but feel it’s a convenient set up for a love-triangle.  Not sure how I feel about that…

The Final Verdict:
A nicely executed, if cliche, book about the dangers of classifying people based on their past.  The ending was really well done although I saw it coming.  The characters were alright, nothing that really stands out or is memorable.
3 stars

“Tonight, Garret the soldier didn’t exist.” 

“Because you’re exactly like me- you don’t want your whole life planned out. You’re tired of following Talon’s rules, of not having any say in your future. You want to know who Talon really is, but it’s even more than that, isn’t it? You want to be free.” His eyes gleamed, golden and brilliant in the shadows. “And I can show you how.”

“Ember shook her head and looked down at me, her expression caught somewhere between a smile and a grimace. “Tell me my psychotic, soon-to-be-dead friend didn’t just give you what I think she did.”
I forced a somewhat pained smile. “I don’t think I can answer that without crawling into a dark hole for the rest of the evening.” 

“But I remember the strange dragon’s eyes, the look on his face as he stared it me, the way my blood had warmed at the sight of him. I remembered the heat of his gaze, the instant awakening of something fierce and primal inside me when our eyes met. 
The rogue dragon was trouble. Plain and simple. 
And I was intrigued.” 

“Shark!” I yelled as my feet hit the wet sand. “There’s a shark out there! Everyone get out of the water!”
Man, you want to see humans move fast? Scream that on a crowded beach and watch what happens. Its amazing the fear people have for a scaly, sharp toothed predator. I watched the water empty in seconds, parents scooping up their children and heading to shore, desperate to get out of the ocean, and found it a little ironic. They were so terrified of the big, nasty monster out in the water, when there was a bigger, nastier, deadlier one right here on the beach.” 

“Rnesh karr slithis,” I hissed back, which was Draconic for eat your own tail, the dragon version of go screw yourself. No extra translation needed.” 

“Can’t anyone ever start a fight without all the posturing and cheesy Bond-villain threats? It’s not that hard. Here, let me demonstrate.” And he smashed a fist into Colin’s nose.” 

“Kissing her in the ocean and feeling my entire world stop. Wishing I could be normal, if only to be with her. Because she hadn’t just taught me how to surf and shoot zombies and to scream while plunging down a roller-coaster drop. She had shown me how to live.”

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