Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review: Talon

(Talon #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published By:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  October 28th, 2014
Page Count:  400 pages
Source: Arc Kindly Provided by the Publisher
Audience:  Young Adult Fantasy


Ut omnes sergimus.  As one, we rise.

Julie Kagawa has done it once again…

Talon, the first book in her newest series, was S.P.E.C.T.A.C.U.L.A.R.!!!!!!!

I often find the books I love the most are the most difficult to review.  I don’t want to come off as a gushing fool or just a big fan full of praise, but when it comes to Julie’s story-telling, there is just no other way to review her books.  Without a doubt, she deserves every drip of gush and every word of praise.

This author has written about the fey—introducing us to a new breed of mythical beings in her Nevernever—in the most fantastical way imaginable.  She also wrote a hugely compelling and totally engrossing story about vampires in a post-apocalyptic world that had me on the edge of my seat throughout the three books.  She can write about epic love stories like no other in YA.  She puts her characters through journeys I cannot even begin to fathom where her inspiration comes from.  She just knows how to write EPIC stories that all carry a similar hallmark—a recipe if you will—that works so well, yet they are all completely different stories.  If you haven’t guessed it yet, Julie Kagawa continues to be my favourite YA author by far with her wonderfully vivid writing skills, plot and character development and just plain old amazing imagination!

So…about Talon…

Talon is, at its core, a story about a secret society of shape-shifting dragons, and of the Order who hunts them down, and entwined within that centuries old battle between the two powers are huge differences that, it seems, no bridge could span.  Talon’s primary goal is species-preservation…their own preservation.  Hunted down to the brink of extinction, they have regrouped and infiltrated human society while their numbers—and power—grow stronger with every generation.  Theirs is an orderly and practical society that has no room for trivial human-type thoughts or emotions.  They come across as apathetic and heartless…black and white…no in-between.  Their enemies are not entirely off track here.

The Order of St. George is the only part of the human race who knows for a fact that dragons are very real, and it is their job to protect humans from the dragons they believe are hell-bent on taking over the world, enslaving humans and being at the top of the food chain…to have total dominion over mankind.  The Order’s mandate is to eradicate what they believe is a very dangerous, power-hungry species.  The Order is made up of soldiers who have trained most of their young lives to be the most effective of dragon slayers.  With modern weaponry and centuries of experience, they are a force that makes the dragons of Talon a wee bit nervous and a serious threat to their extinction.

There are truths and there are misconceptions that have evolved over time to the point where both parties, today, have never questioned WHY they do what they do…but perhaps they should.

Enter the characters of this exceptional story.

Ember and Dante Hill are rareties amongst their own kind…and it appears from the very beginning that they have been singled out by their elders for something special.  Their lives are not their own, but they hope to have a breath of freedom and fun over the summer while learning to assimilate human society in a touristy beach town in California.

Right away, as much as Ember and Dante are sort of referred to as twins because of their physical appearance, they are both very different from each other.  Where Dante seems to have accepted his role in Talon’s plans, Ember is more concerned with just having fun.  Now…because I’ve read Julie’s two other series, I wasn’t too worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect with Ember.  At first, she comes across as someone I would not really care to read about but she evolves as her life changes throughout the story…and I came to be so invested in her convictions and happiness.

Without spoiling the story too much for anyone—especially since it hasn’t been released yet—suffice it to say that there is a love-triangle…but a GOOD one!  By the conclusion of this story, I am equally torn between the two boys that, by the end of this first instalment, have the two halves of Ember’s half would be the human side and the other would be her dragon side and both are very distinct.  I also loved how both of these boys evolved with the story too, and came to their own realizations…particularly Garret who had his entire belief system turned on its ear by the end of this book…thanks to Ember.

Dragons have often been written about, and I also loved how Julie incorporated some traditional dragon-lore into her story…like how they seem to like shiny gems for one.  And I loved the ‘dragon scenes’…especially flight.  I could see it playing out in my head so vividly.  It was magical and I wanted more of it!

There is just so much rolled into this book that had me totally enthralled, and there is so much more I so want to gush about and share but just trust me on this one…

Another unique story comes from the brilliant mind of Ms. Kagawa, in my opinion. 

So…DEFINITELY put this on your TBR lists people! In Talon at the top! Release date is October 28th…and you’ll want to sink those talons right into the pages on the very day it comes out.

A big thanks to Harlequin Teen for the advanced reader copy.  LOVE the cover too!

Synopsis 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.


  1. WOW! I feel so bad that I have only read one book of Julie Kagawa's . But it was amazing, nonetheless
    GREAT review!

  2. I can't wait to read this one! I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as her other novels Michele!

  3. Thanks Soma and Michelle! I SO loved this new story! I hope you both give it a try, and share your thoughts!

  4. I am pining for this book! So glad you raved about it, though it makes me pine more! Great review!

  5. I haven't read any of Julie Kagawa's books yet, this seems like a good one to start with...

  6. I saw this book a lot on goodreads. And it seems a lot of good reviews. Your review is good, do you really can't put it down? Well wel well.

  7. LOVE Julie Kagawa! It's awesome she's creating unique dragons and I love how they're in a normal city!

    It's awesome the love triangle works as well!

    Lovely review :)

    1. Thank you! Let us know what you think when you do read it!

  8. Sounds like a truly unique book. You've painted a wonderful picture of the characters and the world!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Julie has a real knack for character-creating and world-building. Enjoy!

  9. This sounds so amazing... and I was already excited after I read the synopsis with shape-shifting dragons... Thank you for the review!

  10. Julie Kagawa is so great! I've been wanting to read this for a while :D

  11. I really can't wait to read this! It sounds amazing. Thanks for the excellent review!!!!


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