Thursday, 25 June 2015

Talon


Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: #1 in the Talon series
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 464
Source: Local Public Library
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
First Published: October 2014
First Line: "Ember, when did your parents die, and what was their cause of death?"

Book Description from GoodReads:  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.
 



My Review:  Going into this book I was hoping it to follow along the lines (action, pace, amazing character development) of Kagawa's earlier Blood of Eden series (Immortal Rules, Eternity Cure and The Forever Song) which I ADORED!  That was an utterly engaging and a great series for teens and adults alike.

It is obvious from the beginning that Talon follows more in the footsteps of her Iron Fey series in that it's much more suited for older tweens or young teens.  The premise of Talon was interesting (dragons living among us and dragon slayers out to get them) but like the Iron Fey series the pace and focus wasn't as raw or engaging as I was hoping. Case in point, my thirteen year old son liked this book.  Me?  Argh. Not so much.

I'm going to assume that Kagawa has set her audience as a late tween/early teen reader. If I'm going from that standpoint this was a decent read. The plot itself is straight forward and fairly predictable from the get go.  I think that older tween/young teens will enjoy the Romeo and Juliet themed romance as well as the warring young men vying for the affection of Ember and the general teen drama that is a large part of the book.  

For me the book was divided into two sections.  The first half was much slower paced with the emphasis being on Ember and Dante making friends and setting up the romantic element.  In the second half the pace picks up and the story line takes on more intrigue ending with a cliffhanger to entice readers to proceed with the next book in the series, Rogue.  Overall, I found the book to be predictable and a bit slow since more time was spent with the budding romantic entanglements than dragon in plain sight issue .  There were some great action scenes towards the end of the book but when dealing with dragons, an evil organization and dragon slayers I guess I was expecting a little more fire and fight throughout the book.


I also missed the world building.  Kagawa is amazing at bringing her readers into the worlds she creates.  Talon brings the reader to ... the California coast's teen beach scene.  Yup.  I almost expected Dylan Walsh, Brandon and Brenda to walk up to them at the beach smoothie hut (I jest about the 90210 reference but the Smoothie Hut?  Yup, like the Peach Pit of 90210 fame it was a popular location in the book).   

Ember was a likable character.  She had normal teen insecurities and a twin to go through it with in Dante.  They had a believable relationship but if I had one beef it was that they blended into the teen beach scene a little too easily.  I know that Ember and Dante had been trained on how to live among humans but they seemed to fit in with no major issues.  I guess I was expecting a lot more 'fish out of water' floundering but they seemed to jump into the teen beach scene easily.

Kagawa is an amazing writer and she kept this mom of three's interest for the most part.  I just think that her focus in this book was more about the romantic entanglements than in the dragons living among us which was a let down.  I would suggest this book for older tween/young teens who want a lighter fantasy read with the emphasis on budding romantic entanglements.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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