Review: Talon (Talon #1) - Julie Kagawa

Release Date: October 28th 2014
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 413
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I love dragons, and I think that Talon is a much needed book in YA. Not only because it contains dragons (although that does go a long way), but because Julie Kagawa has created such a unique storyline that includes everything that YA should include - about finding yourself, about being different, about finding your own way.

But let me say this, this book is not about dragons. It contains some dragons sometimes, but it isn’t about them. This book does contain some of the scaled, fire-breathing beasts, but it isn’t about them, And in fact, they scenes that include they physical dragons you expect is limted.

The dragons in this book are not exactly what you expect. They are a sort of shape-shifter. Their true form is a dragon, but they are able to shift into human form. Due to the fact that they were once nearly hunted to extinction, they have adapted a society ‘Talon’ that is filled with rules and restrictions. They have since grown strong by hiding in human form, and have to some level evaded the Order of St. George, a human society who are aware of the dragons existence, and have a goal to eradicate them. Talon’s goal is to provide protection to dragons, to ensure their safe existence continues, however all is not exactly as it seems.

Ember, who at sixteen has been placed in the human world for “assimilation”. Ember wants to enjoy her freedom and be a normal human, until she is assigned her place within Talon. She is looking forward to a summer without rules, without training and without the power of Talon breathing down her neck. She wants to be free, just for a little while. Although she will miss flying in her dragon form, she is looking forward to spending her time at the beach, making friends and being a normal teenager. And just as she starts enjoying a normal life, Ember meets a rogue dragon, Riley, who not only teases her with the possibility of flying, but hints that Talon is not exactly what she thinks it is. By connecting these suggestions with her own observations, she starts to see that the society that she has always trusted is not what it portrays itself to be. Besides this rogue dragon, Ember cannot talk to anyone else about this, even her brother Dante. Even though they are the only siblings in existence, and throughout their whole lives shared a strong bond, Dante will hear nothing of Ember’s suspicions. He is proud to be a part of Talon, to serve them as they best see fit. And along with Ember’s isolation on her views, her inner dragon keeps pushing her towards Riley. He is attractive as a human, but her dragon is certainly trying to push her towards his true form - a kindred spirit; a free, rebellious and knowledgeable dragon.

And of course, there is a love triangle. While Ember’s dragon connects with Riley, her human side is falling for Garret. Garret is a solider of the Order of St. George, and his mission was to come to expose and kill the dragon that has been placed within human society. Although he suspects Ember is the dragon placed for assimilation, there are so many things that makes him question this suspicion. She is kind, she is brave, she is all too human. Everything that Garret has been told dragons are not. Surely this friendly, fierce, sweet girl cannot be a greedy, murderous, unfeeling dragon. But what if she is the dragon? That would mean that everything he has believed, everything he has stood for, is in question.

Whilst I am not normally a fan of love triangles, I really enjoyed this one. The fact that it was not really one girl pining over two boys is what really won me over. It is clear that both Ember’s human side, and her dragon side, are attracted to two completely different boys, and the inner turmoil this creates is intriguing. It is awkward, it is different, and it really is a dilemma. Ember is attracted to both an outcast in the dragon world, and an enemy in the human world.

This is the first Julie Kagawa book that I have read, and I have to say, I am very impressed! Although Talon does have some of the clichés you may expect in YA, it covers them in such a unique way, that the story seems fresh. I loved the fact that there was a complex love triangle, no insta-love and conflicting emotions within this book. I also enjoyed the fact that knowing that Garret was the enemy is not only upfront, but it is a major part of the storyline - with half of the book being told his from his perspective. I loved seeing his from his point of view. The confusion, the uncertainty and the various range of emotions this strong, tough and determined boy goes through.

Filled with conspiracy, secrets, power, determination, domination, fierceness, longing and a sense of people finding themselves and what they want to stand up for, Talon is captivating, interesting and exciting - I could not put it down. Although I would have liked to see a little more of the dragon side of things, due to how this book finished, I am hoping that the dragons get to soar in the next book. I hope the dragons and world-building will expand in future instalment, and although I was expecting more fantasy than paranormal romance, Talon is a great first instalment to what should be a fascinating, action-packed, intriguing and conflicting series.


What do you think?

  • Kerry O'Dea says:

    Great review. I definitely want to read this book. I love Julia Kagawa’s writing style.

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