Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: January 15th 2015
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
‘There are a dozen soldiers hiding in that maze all hunting you. All looking to kill you.’
To the outside world Ember Hill is an ordinary girl, but Ember has a deadly secret. A dragon hiding in human form, she is destined to fight the shadowy Order of St.George, a powerful society of dragonslayers. St. George soldier Garret is determined to kill Ember and her kind. Until her bravery makes him question all he’s been taught about dragons.
Now a war is coming and Garret and Ember must choose their sides – fight to save their bond or fulfil their fate and destroy one another. (from Goodreads)
While Talon was not my favourite Julie Kagawa book, it was an interesting take on dragons and though I had a few issues with it, it was not a terrible read.
Ember had to grow on me. She was a little naive at the beginning and didn't seem to understand how important it was to Talon to conceal the existence of dragons to humans and the lengths they would go to ensure the secret was never revealed. Some of her actions were a bit reckless, though as someone who had been raised in isolation with only her twin for company and a bunch of trainers, I could understand her wanting freedom. I started to get her feelings more later on in the book, especially when she felt she was drifting away from her brother Dante (though again I feel she was a little bit naive/blinded when it came to him - it was so obvious what was going to happen at the end but she just couldn't see it). I also liked when she stood up for herself and didn't just take things at face value. Another thing I appreciated was how she immediately got on with the girls at the beach; there was no unnecessary drama and she became actual good friends with them, especially with Lexi, who was my favourite (though to be fair, Kristen kind of disappeared in the second half. I did feel that Kristen was not treated entirely fairly as a character but let's not go off on a tangent).
Garret had to grow on me as well. I felt he was really wooden at the beginning and his thoughts in his POV seemed kind of unrealistic. There was one line which I think was "I felt no remorse in killing the beast" that for me did not feel like something anyone would ever really say, even if they had been a soldier in a dragonslaying organisation their whole life. But his character did improve later on and I began to find his actions more believable. My favourite parts were the scenes where he had no clue how to react when he was with Ember, because he had spent his whole life killing dragons and didn't really know how to talk to a girl. As a love interest, I did prefer him to Zeke from the Immortal Rules series (though he had nothing on Ash from the Iron Fey), but I felt his feelings for Ember were perhaps a little, I don't know, dramatic? I think it was too soon for him to say she was "the most important thing in his life", when he LITERALLY knew barely anything about her because her whole backstory was a lie (and vice versa, because he lied about his past as well).
Riley was just an okay character. I felt the random inclusion of his POV half way through was kind of annoying and unnecessary. When I've gotten used to only having two POVs, I don't then want a random and sporadic third POV added half way through. And though this was supposed to be a love triangle, and undoubtedly Riley as a love interest will be explored more in book two, I personally didn't see him as a real contender. His attraction to Ember had even less substance than Garret's; they literally only liked each other because they were both dragons and there was some sort of instinctive connection going on.
Plot-wise, most things were kind of predictable, which meant I skimmed a few scenes that were set-up to something that was supposed to be surprising but wasn't because it wasn't very difficult to work out. There wasn't a lot of action, most things were just Ember's daily life and her finding out information about Talon and her training and things like that, but most of it was okay. I am intrigued to find out what will happen next though, though I'm hoping the next book will explain a little more about dragons and their history, because we didn't get to find out too much in this one. I would also like to see Ember put her training to use and actually do cool things in her dragon form.
Overall, Talon wasn't fantastic but it was worth reading and I'll likely continue with the series (I just like dragons too much).