Series: Talon #1
Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on November 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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In Julie Kagawa’s groundbreaking modern fantasy series, dragons walk among us in human form.
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 St. James 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.
Dragons in human form, where did we go wrong? Featuring almost every annoying YA trope ever, from love triangles, to insta-love, to a secret identity hidden amongst humans and a rash whiny heroine, Talon is possibly one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had all year.
I picked up Talon having loved Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey spin-off series and Blood of Eden, her gritty vampire series. Both of these series featured well written characters, a romance I could ship and great world building. Unfortunately in Talon, everything was lack luster, from the cheesy instant romance, to the men who turned dumb when it came to love and the heroine who is the lamest dragon ever.
But a day with Garret, alone…How could I say no? I liked being with him. I liked his quiet confidence and subtle sense of humour, the way having fun seemed like such a novelty to him. He challenged me, he was easy to talk to and he wasn’t bad on the eyes, either.
Talon pretty much reads like every YA paranormal romance ever, except for the slight twist on dragons, wondrous, fire breathing mythological creatures which we have come to fear and awe. Instead, Ember being one of these amazing creatures, decides to shirk all of her dragon duties in favour of being as human as she can, from surfing, to gossiping with friends, visiting the mall and checking out guys, to falling in love. She’s a dragon wanting to break free from the constraints which Talon places on her, and others in the book described her as fiery and defiant. I found her hot-headed, whiny and quick to make rash decisions without thinking them through, which was annoying and difficult to connect with.
Let’s talk about the two love interests. Garret, the soldier whose mission it is to find and execute the sleeper dragon puts his entire mission at bay because he’s so attracted to Ember from first sight. Instead of being true to his cold, soldier characterisation, he’s completely enthralled with the heroine and risks his livelihood for the sake of love. He annoyingly prejudges Ember just because she’s a creature. The novel gets eye-rollingly kissy about halfway through, which was the point where I decided to skim the rest of it.
I had to remind myself: if Ember was the sleeper, she wasn’t an innocent. She was a dragon, a creature who secretly despised mankind and possessed no empathy, no humanity, whatsoever.
Riley/Cobalt, the rogue dragon who wants to peal Ember away from the Talon organisation and make her run away with him, serves as the bad boy love interest. Of course he’s going to have feelings for her, and be attracted to her from first sight. Of course Garrett and Riley are going to have a run in over Ember. Of course it’s going to be completely frustrating when Ember flits between the two of them, not being able to decide who she likes better.
Because Talon is a last ditch re-invigoration at the formulaic paranormal romance genre, only substituting, vampires/fae/shifters with dragons. We’ve read this story before, folks, and with the lack of dragon lore and mythology, this is a book I would skip.
Talon has been optioned for a movie though by Universal Pictures, so perhaps they’re looking for the next Twilight franchise.
Talon is not the amazing mythological dragons we are expecting. Instead, it is a thinly constructed paranormal romance filled with YA tropes from insta-love to love triangles. With a lack of world building or mythology, I found myself disappointed with Talon and will look elsewhere for my fantasy dragon fix. Don’t let this put you off Julie Kagawa’s other series though, because I really enjoyed those ones.
Rating: 2 out of 5
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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