Author: Julie Kagawa
Published by: October 8, 2014
Publication date: Harlequin Teen
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Summary 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.
I have to say that nothing is more disappointing than having exciting prospects (dragons! star-crossed love! historic rivalry!) dashed by cliché and boring storytelling. Julie Kagawa has a series called The Iron Fey, which I read a few years ago and enjoyed. I was hopeful for this book. However, within the first few chapters I started to wonder–maybe it’s just a start-up problem? You know how sometimes you read a book and the beginning is really rocky? Like, an author had a good premise for a book, but he struggled to set the groundwork in order to get to the actual story? This was not the case with Talon. The protagonists felt cliché, the history of dragonkind and the St. George rivalry seemed unimagined, and the love triangle was not very compelling.
Ember is a beautiful, fiery redhead with a personality to match. In typical teen form, she wants to shed her responsibilities to embrace her freedom. Understandably, for she’s been living in isolation most of her life for her own protection. During her summer of freedom, she meets a bad boy on a motorcycle (Riley) who her dragon has an instant primal attraction. He will explain why Talon is not to be trusted (but you’ll have to get through 80 percent of the book first!)
Ember meets Garret when she’s attacked and almost sexually assaulted by a frat boy. He takes this opportunity to infiltrate her life, rescuing her from chauvinistic frat boy. Ember has to be rescued by a boy, even though she’s a fierce dragon, because she can’t risk exposing herself while biting into the jerks throat.
As Ember and Garret spend more time together, they fall for each other, despite being mortal enemies (though they don’t know they’re mortal enemies).
Much of the book is spent developing Ember and Garret’s budding relationship (with a few dragoncentric Riley scenes to shake things up). Between Ember’s restlessness and Garret’s solemnness, there are long monologues about understanding their new feelings for the other. I wanted to know much more about Talon and St. George. Overall, I was a little bored. I picked up Talon because I knew the second book, Rogue, was publishing at the end of this month. Maybe we’re in for more history and excitement in the next installment. I haven’t decided if I’ll read it.
Would I let my teen read this book?
The content is mature enough that it’s firmly in the high school- age department. Despite that, there’s nothing to recommend against it, except that it might not be your kind of story. Your teen might like it better than I did!
Age recommendation: 14
Language – moderate, 1 F-word
Drugs and Alcohol – underage drinking
Sex – Kissing; characters’ sexuality is ignited (meaning – lead couple is experiencing sexual attraction for the first time with lines like “I feel it low in my belly and pull her closer…”
Violence – there are military scenes and battles with guns and explosions, but nothing described in gory detail; dragons like to talk about ripping people’s heads off
My Goodreads rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Buy: Talon on Amazon.com
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.