Series: Talon Saga #1
Written by: Julie Kagawa
Published: October 28, 2014 by Harlequin Teen
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.
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA four years ago in exchange for an honest opinion. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
When I was deciding that I wanted to do a dragon themed month I looked through some of my backlist books to see what I might have that fit and I found this one. Not only do I have an ARC I got at my first BEA but I also has an audio. So I felt like I needed to read it. And I'm glad I did because I really liked this book, in fact I liked it more than I expected.
I went into this book expecting it to be a paranormal romance that felt like an urban fantasy kind of book. And yes, there were those elements. This had all the trappings of an old school YA. There was a predictable love triangle, and a lot more romance than I really care for in my books. At the beginning I found myself getting a little annoyed at these elements but in the end it kind of won me over. I think I may have even shipped it in the end. I felt like the love triangle kind of worked even though it was so obvious who the main character likes. Normally these kinds of things would make me not like a book but here it was only a minor frustration.
I think that is because I did actually like the characters here. We kind of have three main characters even though two get most of the attention. Arguably the main character is Ember. She is a dragon who is being trained by a shadowy agency for dragons called Talon. She is headstrong and independent, questioning everything. I really liked that about her and it made her a good main character. I wanted to know all the secrets and meanings along with Ember. The other main character is Garret, a soldier and dragon hunter. Garret is the prefect soldier but he is also kind and caring. Both he and Ember have similar development throughout the book as they learn what they have been told by their organizations may not be entirely true. It them likable and complex characters and allowed me to overlook some of the other character elements.
As far as the plot goes it was definitely more advanced than I expected but still suffered from a bit of first book syndrome. I have the feeling that this is the start of a pretty good spy series full of action and adventure. There were traces of that here but it never really developed in the way that I would have liked. Now there were plenty of narrow escapes and a lot of twists and turns. There was a good amount of action and surprises to keep me reading from beginning to end. In fact the book did really built to an exciting conclusion which I did appreciate. I only wish there wasn't quite so much exposition, especially in the beginning.
But one of the things that there wasn't a lot of that I surprisingly enjoyed was world building. This is definitely a book about dragons and I loved seeing the dragons in action and learning about them and their history. There is a lot more to learn about the dragons, Talon, and the Order of St George in later books. Here we only got to learn a taste of all of that in this book. Julie Kagawa did a great job of building out the world by showing us instead of telling us about what it is like. It did a great job of drawing me in and engaging me in the book.
Speaking of drawing me in, this audiobook was really amazing. One of the main reason I picked up this audiobook is because it's narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He is one of my favorite narrators and he did an amazing job with this book. he brought Garret to life, toughness and caring and all. There were two more narrators as well. One who voiced Ember and one who voiced Riley/Cobalt. I love when audiobooks have multiple narrators and I appreciated that here as well. It gave the audio a lot of depth and helped make the characters as enjoyable as there were.
On the whole I enjoyed this book. It wasn't perfect but it had complex characters, a good plot, and an interesting world I want to learn more about. I am interested to see where the storu goes from here I just don't know when I would be able to finish the series.
I give Talon by Julie Kagawa 8.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read Talon? What did you think? Also, if you're up to date with this series should I finish it? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!