Julie Kagawa Harlequin Teen Australia Published 1st November 2014 Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing this egalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my review in any way.
Fantasy meets the contemporary world in Julie Kagawa’s latest series, Talon, telling the story of the dragons who live in secret among us, having Shifted into human forms. Ember and Dante Hill are rare brother and sister hatchlings who have finished their training at Talon, the organisation that keeps tabs on dragons and what they do, and are learning to assimilate into human society – a Californian beach town where they learn to make friends, surf and live as ordinary teenagers. But there is trouble brewing (isn’t there always), with the posting of soldiers of the Order of St. George, the only humans who know of the dragons’ existence, right nearby. As their training continues, Ember is faced with difficult questions about who she is and the organisation she is a part of, aided by Riley, a dragon gone rogue trying to convince her to do the same. But going rogue is dangerous and she could jeopardise everything – including her developing relationship with a human boy who has secrets of his own.
Admittedly, I have never read any of Julie Kagawa’s other books, so I don’t know how this one compares. My actual rating is 3.5 stars as opposed to 4 because, while I did like it overall and will be pursuing not only this series but the author’s other books as well, there were a few little issues. The chapters were written in an alternating fashion and while reading them I noticed how different Ember seemed from Garret’s perspective when compared to her own chapters. Something felt a little off and I’m not sure if it was deliberate. I found Ember to be a little crazy, mostly in a good way, except I didn’t see the point, from her perspective, of a relationship with Garret and she felt too human, honestly. She is a dragon, why is assimilating so easy for her? I expected more notable differences between her and the other humans for longer, but not much time was given to this. I was also a little upset that she wasn’t allowed to be strong and to fight, to stand up for herself when necessary except against St. George. I wanted to see a bit more of the dragon fighting spirit. She is not a weak, cowardly human even in her human form, and yet she had to behave like one, even when she believed herself or her friends to be at risk. I wanted to see more of what was seen against St. George – a girl who stands up for herself! I also wonder why Talon didn’t train their young operatives to recognise members of St George
There was no insta-love here, thankfully, just insta-attraction which is much more believable. But I felt like I didn’t really understand the developing relationship until the very end, and it was more in the way that Garret’s eyes were opened to something different from what he normally believed. I didn’t feel the connection, at least not very strongly. With Riley the rogue dragon, however, I thought it was different. Honestly, I don’t think there’s any competition between the two and not much of a ‘love triangle’ but we’ll see where it goes! I do hope there is less obsession and over protective nonsense from both boys’ perspectives when it comes to Ember, but I like the idea of challenging authority even though I must admit – it is very difficult to hide dragons in a world like ours and much of what Talon does makes sense. And of course, the question – why North America? If you were going to hide dragons, I would not be doing it in North America!
Other than the fact the dragons living among us was definitely unrealistic and the fact that they can Shift into human forms defies explanation, I quite enjoyed it and thought what was really missing was MORE DRAGONS. A book about dragons and yet it felt like there wasn’t enough dragon stuff! However, pertaining to certain developments in the later stages of the book, I am hoping there is more to come. I’m looking forward to seeing the series develop and seeing Ember mature and grow, and for Dante to have a more prominent role in the story. Not a bad read at all, I think I’ll have to get this in paperback!
To summarise, as my 18-year-old brother would say: “Cool story, bro. Needs more dragons.”