Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Fantasy
Opening line: "Ember, when did your parents die, and what was the cause of death?"
Blurb: 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 hatchlings in the world of dragons. Trained in isolation to infiltrate society, and now doing a ‘practical,’ Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are being hunted. Garret is a soldier in the Order of St. George and has been given the mission to seek and destroy Ember and Dante. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember. Is she a dragon, or human? Garret too begins to question everything he has been told as he starts to find the truth about dragons.
My Thoughts: TALON is the first in a new series for Julie Kagawa – and the first book I have read that was written by her. The story open as Ember and Dante, a brother and sister dragon hatchling duo, are relocated to a beachside suburb in LA to hone their techniques for living as humans. Ember takes to the human life as a duck to water – she loves surfing and socialising – her inner dragon not so much. Life is not all fun and games though, for the first time ever Ember and Dante are separated for extra Dragony training each morning by top Talon agents, Ember gets Lilith who is a particularly unpleasant dragon and her training sessions are brutal. Ember is puzzled that Dante won’t tell her what his training consists of, but before long she herself is keeping secrets from her brother in as she starts to question Talon. Ember has two guys interested in her – one is a rogue dragon, called Riley, the other is a human called Garret. As the story progresses Ember learns, to her horror, what her future role in Talon is going to be and she is forced to make a difficult choice.
The story is told from the points of view of Garret and Ember – the hunter and the hunted. The pace is slow to start as the two main protagonists are introduced and their backgrounds filled in. The tension gradually builds though as Ember meets Riley and Garret and starts to question Talon and search for the truth. Garret is undergoing a similar crisis of faith, as he gets up close and personal with Ember as he tries to work out if she is a dragon he has no idea if he will be able to kill her. By the time the story gets to the cliff-hanger end it is edge of the seat stuff with twists and turns, abandonment and betrayals.
TALON is a story of a girl being torn between two guys at the same time, and two youngsters starting to question everything they believe to be right – but it really works. I liked how Kagawa created the angst ridden decision making of Ember and Garret, their growth towards realising that everything they’ve been told is not necessarily right. The two hatchlings have always been told that dragons were more powerful than humans and stronger, they live longer (ok this one is true), and they’re smarter. Ember is finding out that this is not always the case. I also loved how the dragons morphed from human form to Dragon in a blink of an eye. It really worked for me.
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4 Stars – Great. I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre
With thanks to Harlequin TEEN Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.