- Julie Kagawa
- Harlequin Teen
- Released October 28th 2014
- Book 1 of the Talon series
- 3 stars
Ember and Dante Hill, the only sister and brother known to dragonkind, are coming to the final part of their training as dragons in Talon, the last known organization of dragons. They have been sent to Southern California to learn human ways and prepare for their positions within Talon. Garret Sebastian is part of the Order of St. George, sworn to killing off all dragons to keep humans safe and has also been sent to SoCal to hunt down Ember. Ember and Garret don’t know who each other are but feel an instant attraction and fall into a relationship that causes them to question both of their purposes. As their principles are challenged, Ember and Garret each have to decide with whom they stand and face the consequences of their decision.
Talon is ostensibly about dragons, intriguing enough except for it really is a standard YA paranormal romance. As such, if you’re expecting extensive insight into dragon society and mannerisms, you’re kind of out of luck. I didn’t mind, I mean YA PNR were the first books that got me really into reading and I still love them, but this is just a warning to anyone who is expecting any more from this book.
I was planning on finishing the book and giving it two stars when I was about a third into the book. However, the characters started to grow on me quite a bit and their annoying bits smoothed out making it much more enjoyable. Really, this is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars!
So for the first third of the book (sorry, audiobook so I’m not exactly sure), many of the characters grated on my nerves. Let’s start with one of our narrators, Ember. She is a whiny girl who thinks because she’s a dragon and super powerful and special, she should be treated that way and should be able to tackle any situation she gets into. She make brash decisions like blatantly breaking rules despite her brother warning her not to and running off with total strangers despite just having been saved from a situation which involved going someplace with people she just met. She also seems to have no regard for authority including her trainer and her guardians, humans employed by Talon to watch over dragon hatchlings like Ember and her brother Dante. Then there was Riley, one corner of a lopsided love triangle (more later) who is stalkerish, arrogant, and overall a self absorbed dick to Ember. Painful to read about to say the least.
Then somewhere somehow Ember seemed less impulsive and stupid to me – probably because she was obsessing over a relationship. Regardless how, it became much more relaxing to listen to her narration as I wasn’t mentally slapping her every 5 sentences! My opinion of Riley also improved around the start of Part 2 where we get his narration. He becomes less annoying and we get to see the things he cares about, his motives.
Funny thing is, characters with whom I sympathized at the beginning of the book became the ones I disliked by the end. First is Dante whom I liked because he was a stickler for rules when Ember was off being an idiot and he did so much for her covering and keeping secrets yet never ratting her out. However, as the book progresses these traits become so much less endearing especially when he becomes as obstinate to change as Ember is to not do things her way. He starts to be in the way of everything and though I understand this is part of his character, it was still frustrating to read. Another such character was Ember’s trainer who I felt I could understand, if not sympathize with. Ember thinks she’s sadistic and ruthless in training her constantly complaining about how unfair she is but as an athlete, I get what she’s doing. But as all the secrets she – as well as Talon – has been keeping starts to come out, my opinion of her dropped.
The only person who I liked for the whole book was Garrett. He’s honest and so endearing with Ember yet also really awkward because he’s had not human experience before which reminded me of Galen from Of Poseidon. Except Garrett is so much nicer! He’s kind of in the same dilemma as Ember being part of an organization which he doesn’t completely believe in any more. He’s the other side of the love triangle but to me, it was pretty obvious that he was going to be the final choice for Ember.
Now there is basically no background for the Talon/St. George feud besides saying that they once fought and now are still fighting. There’s also not that much into the histories of both of the organizations, really all we get are training scenes and afternoons at the beach in SoCal so I suppose you could say that nothing really happened in the book. I tolerated this because I really liked seeing Ember and Garrett together but as if you are expecting more, you’ll be a bit let down.
As my intro to Kagawa, Talon does show her power in storytelling. Despite my starting qualms, I was pretty engrossed in the book. Really looking forward to reading the next book especially because of that super loose ending!