Talon (The Talon Saga #1) by Julie Kagawa

2.5/5 Stars
Published by Harlequin Teen
Published October 28, 2014

Synopsis: Long ago dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a society of legendary dragonslayers. The dragons of Talon have spent generations hiding amongst the humans and adapting to their mundane ways, becoming cunning and strong, wise and devious. Ember and Dante Hill are the only known brother and sister to dragonkind. They are transferred to Crescent Beach, California and are expected to assimilate in order to complete their training. Ember wants to enjoy her last summer of freedom before finally taking her place in Talon's rankings. However, her relaxing vacation is cut short when a rogue begins to challenge everything Ember has been taught about Talon. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. 

What I found extraordinarily interesting about this book was that it covered a different topic than most YA novels nowadays. I have not seen a book about dragons since Eragon by Christopher Paolini back in 2006. The cover is brilliantly designed to resemble that of a dragon scale and is deep red to represent the dragon in the story. I was immediately attracted to this book.

Julie Kagawa did an excellent job in creating this universe as I could see the potential in every little aspect. Kagawa has impressed me endlessly with her Iron Fey series so I eager to delve into this. 

What I especially enjoyed about this story was the brother/sister relationship between Ember and Dante. I loved watching Ember lose sight of their overall goal and Dante getting her right back on track. Dante was constantly looking out for her and protecting her. Ember also never forgot about Dante. When she was making quick decisions she always thought about him first before anyone else; she always thought about the consequences. I also really enjoyed the background information on Talon, the dragon headquarters. Kagawa gave us a little bit of insight on the rankings of Talon and the job titles that are given out, which made me crave even more. I would love to learn about Basilisks and Chameleons, which I'm hoping will be revealed in Rogue. I also have many questions on how humans became involved with dragon relations, which is another reason why I continued on reading.

The one thing that mainly bothered me was that this book dragged on for quite a while. There was little to no action in this and for my taste definitely not enough character building. Ember Hill, in my opinion, barely expanded or grew throughout the whole of the story. She remained stubborn and hard-headed, and too easily blinded by her love for this boy that she could not see the truth in the relationship. Throughout the story she kept forgetting her true roots as a DRAGON and fell too much under the category of a stereotypical teenage, HUMAN girl --- and that was the main conflict throughout the plot. It wasn't the problem about the dragon hunters or the crazy trainer, it was the problem that she was so caught in between the life as a dragon and the life as a human. Along with this there was an unnecessary love triangle, which felt a little forced at times. 

The side characters were a bit more interesting and better developed than the leading female role, which definitely made up for Ember's lack of depth. For example, I really enjoyed learning more about Dante and what he thought about Talon. The one character that I felt really saved this story for me was Riley/Cobalt. He was introduced as the Rogue who was looking for Ember and was hoping to make her turn her back against Talon. Each part with him was infused with fire and bit more life than the other parts that dreaded onwards about the romance between Ember and Garrett.

Despite a couple offsets, I did find myself rooting for the romances to blossom and I did find myself holding on to some characters. Julie Kagawa knows how write a story and produced a new and definitely different plot from all the other YA novels out there, she just did not write the exhilarating adventures I so hoped this book would have. Hopefully Rogue (The Talon Saga #2) will change my mind.

Julie Kagawa

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