Talon by Julie Kagawa

Kagawa’s story of dragons living among us has been on my to be read list since I first read its description. Yes, I’m talking about Talon.

When it came, it appeared on my Overdrive app just in time for the weekend. *sigh*

Summary

Ember and her twin brother are on the last leg of their training. If they can successfully assimilate into human society, they will earn their position in Talon, the international organization of dragons.

Ember wants to taste freedom. She befriends the locals and finds a love of surfing. Not as good as flying above the waves-which is forbidden-but enthralling nonetheless.

Her summer is cut short by the arrival of adult dragons to train her and her brother. Separately. Wait a minute! They’ve done everything together for their entire sixteen years of life.

Soon, Ember is chomping at the restraints Talon places on her. Encouraged to defy their rules by a rogue dragon, she finds herself doubting everything she knows about dragons and drifting further from her beloved brother.

Enter the spies from St. George, the dragon hunter’s organization. Garret is known as the Perfect Soldier, but when Ember pushes him to embrace living, unexpected emotions – and doubts of his own – emerge.

Review

Kagawa creates two complex organizations with ideologies that diametrically oppose each other. She throws a teenager from each together. Conflict results. This conflict is central to the story and really the best part of the book.

The two secret societies battling each other is a perfect backdrop for this novel. What do teenagers care about some remote war?

Ember wants freedom. She’s not going to find it in Talon. Ever.

For Garret, he’s been a soldier his whole life. He learned to kill dragons at 14 and has more kills than anyone his age. But is there more to life than hunting the beasts that killed his family?

Some reviewers complained about the ease with which Dante and Ember fit into human society since they’d lived in isolation for sixteen years. Ember’s inner thoughts made it believable to me. Dragons have a natural chemistry for soothing people, easing in, making people trust them.

I enjoyed viewing the dragon society through the different eyes of the three narrators. Is Talon the evil organization the rogue dragon believes? Is there a greater purpose behind their disguises? Those answers must wait for the sequel.

Usually, I’m not a fan of love triangles. In this case, it didn’t bother me (as much) because it was obvious that Ember had a duality – dragon and human. Each side of her preferred the guy from its race.

I wasn’t thrilled with the ending because, while the story question was resolved, it introduced the problem for the sequel. Was she afraid we wouldn’t read the next book unless she wrote it this way?

It still earned 4.5 out of five stars from me because I loved the characters, the conflict, and the constant tension. Were there unbelievable moments? Not enough to throw me out of the story.

But I predicted the outcome fairly early on (although I didn’t guess every angle). And the ending could have been stronger.

Recommendation

If you love dragons, you want to read this book. They are everything you expect while being unexpected in their human disguises.

If you like snarky heroines, you will enjoy this book. Ember Hill has attitude. Being inside her head made for a great ride.

This book has violence but it’s handled with taste and delicacy, so the story is suitable for younger teenagers. The romantic element is secondary to the character development. A PG read in that respect too.

The biggest drawback of this book – the library didn’t have a copy of the sequel available for me to check out.

Rogue, consider yourself added to my TBR list.

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.