Series: Talon #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 28th 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
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.
When I got the news Julie Kagawa would be visiting the Netherlands I (finally) picked up my sister’s copy of Talon. I’d heard some incredibly good things about this book, but was a bit afraid of reading it. Ever since I read Eragon I’ve loved dragon stories, but once you’ve found a great read, it’s hard to find one that will be just as good. So even though I was hesitant, I never pass up the chance to meet an author, so I picked up Talon. And I’m so glad I did, because even though I love Eragon more, I can’t deny that this was a VERY good read!
Talon is a really character driven story. There are three POV’s throughout the story: Ember, a dragon; Garrett, a dragon hunter; and eventually Riley, a rogue dragon. Ember is awesome. She’s spunky and has a razor sharp tongue. She’s tough, braved through her training, and then sneaked off to enjoy the perks of summer. She was pretty damn awesome, even though her name *cough* Ember *cough* is a bit of a cliché. Then for Garrett… I wasn’t really sure about him. Military boy that holds a grudge (understandably) against dragons and focussed 100% on his mission. He kinda grew on me. It was fun reading about him trying to relax and have fun (he was a grumpy captain-no-fun at first). Last but not least: Riley. Whom I kinda digged. Ah, who am I kidding, I have a thing for ‘badboys’ in YA. Ember and Riley have a relationship that built very slowly (and who doesn’t like a slow-burner?). The characters were really rich and full of depth, it’s what made the story so enjoyable for me.
The thing about this book, it isn’t about Ember’s abilities, neither is it all about Talon the organization, or about the history of the dragons: it’s about Ember’s one chance to be free. One summer to be free from the system. The only summer she’ll get to have fun before she’ll have to face her future. Not only that, but it’s also about falling in love, falling in love and wanting to be normal for a little while. All three characters have some pretty harsh realities and some even tougher responsibilities, but they all have some secrets that don’t really allow that to be a reality (and let’s not forget that they’re enemies, and those secrets draw a line straight between them). The thing is, because the emphasis was really on this ‘one summer’ that Ember’s abilities and the history of her race wasn’t that important in this book, but I’m guessing (hoping) it will be in the next book!
I really enjoyed this book. It was a superb summer read! The ‘forbidden’ love, the training, and the surfing! I love the characters, they have depth and they’re ballsy (just all-round awesome). The end of the book is one major cliff-hanger, but it’s not wholly unbearable (it’s actually a pretty smart one and I didn’t really see it coming until it was right in front of me).
So yeah, I liked this book. I would’ve liked a little more depth, but as first as a first book in a series goes, Talon was pretty damn promising. I’m happy I took a chance and read it, because it was really really enjoyable and I can’t wait to see how the sequel will unfold!