Talon by Julie Kagawa Review: Lamest Dragons Ever

December 3, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

Talon by Julie Kagawa Review: Lamest Dragons EverTalon by Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia on November 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
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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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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63 responses to “Talon by Julie Kagawa Review: Lamest Dragons Ever

  1. lornak99

    It actually does sound pretty lame. I haven't read this author so I guess I shouldn't start by reading this one : ) Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh no, I am so sad right now! I am so looking forward to this, it's been on my Christmas wishlist forever. I was really hoping someone would get me it for Christmas, but now I am not so sure. Oh dear!

  3. Aww man, I hate that this one sounds like such a big disappointment!! I've been debating reading it. Dragons aren't really my thing & I haven't read many (if any) dragon books. But I really enjoyed Kagawa's Iron Fey series & was hoping this one was similar! Great review though!
    My recent post The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

  4. Kim

    Oh man. That is so disappointing. When I heard of it, I was totes excited for all the possible dragon lore and awesome (as I'm sure we all had been). But I have no need for yet another pararom book with all the tropes, especially the insta-love aspect. ): I WANT DRAGONSSSSS.
    My recent post Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

  5. I've been putting off starting this book because I've heard so many negative reviews for it. I haven't read a Kagawa book before so not so sure I want to start off on a bad note. If you want a dragon book done right, I highly recommend Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 🙂

  6. Faye M.

    Ugh, this is seriously so annoying and so disappointing. Even if I had a lot of complaints for Blood of Eden, it was still a really nice book. To have Talon be a romance in essence between two hot guys who make and say cringe-worthy things… ugh. WHYYYY KAGAWAAAAA. 🙁 I was hoping so much for you! I'm sick of the YA tropes we keep getting. 🙁 And to think Kagawa will be doing this one for the next two years so I won't be getting any Kagawa fix soon since I will be skipping this. >.<
    My recent post ARC Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

    • I know, if someone had marketed this to me as a paranormal romance it would have been more accurate and I would have known what to expect you know? I had so much hope and yes, I think we're all a bit sick of the tropes.

  7. I couldn't agree more Jeann, I was really disappointed by this one too. It was less dragon and more teen drama. Seeing she's all about dragons, I expected so much more. I didn't enjoy The Iron Fay series as much as you did (only read book one), but LOVED The Immortal Rules, and you wouldn't have even expected it was the same author. Are you going to read book two? From the ending, it sounds like it might be more dragon than drama. but then again, I thought this one would have been much better too going by the synopsis. Sorry you couldn't have enjoyed this more Jeann, awesome blog title though 😀
    My recent post The Bookish Best Of… Wherefore art thou book?

    • I totally agree, I expected so much more especially after reading and loving the Immortal Rules. I haven't read the Iron Fey series yet but I have read the Lost Prince spin off which was amazing. I don't know, I'll probably skip book two because there's so many other books to read.

  8. literateture

    HAHAH Totally saw this one coming! Julie Kagawa, like you I am a big fan of hers and so when I heard about the dragons, I was so psyched but then that didn't last very looong..I've heard so many negative reviews…it doesn't particularly fall perfectly towards the main genre…It somehow reminds me of a contemporary. That is not a good sign. HAHA

    • Oh I just don't know why the dragon here was more preoccupied with being human and rebelling 🙁 sigh! I wish she was more awesome. Thank you lovely!

  9. Oh hot headed and whiney are like trigger words for me. But this is odd my buddy Mogsy just told me today she rather liked Talon but now you are so not liking it – WOE IS ME I AM TORN. I think I'll still give it a try but I think Tina has it right now at her house – so we'll see if she reads it – if not I definitely will still give it a shot. Cause still ya know…dragons.
    My recent post Review: The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp

    • Yeah I think we're all over whiny heroines these days. If you do end up reading it, I'd be interested in seeing what you think of it Tabitha!

  10. Oh man, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for this book which makes me scared because I got it from the library recently. I loved the Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series so I was really excited when I heard about this one, but most of the reviews I've seen are less than stellar. :/
    My recent post Waiting on Wednesday #25

  11. Oh no, how terribly disappointing. I thought this book was going to be mind-blowing, seeing I've loved all her previous books – and Kagawa knows how to write. It makes me sad to see she used all the wrong tropes for this story 🙁

    • I know, I think everyone has a similar reaction T_T *sad face* I'm looking forward to reading Eon though, after everyone's raves about it.

  12. cassietheweird

    I actually really enjoyed Talon…but I'm pretty good at ignoring the annoyingness of instalove, though I did find it ridiculous on both sides.
    But aside from the instalove, I loved it.
    And I'm fairly sure I'm in the minority here, but that's fine with me.
    My recent post 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me

  13. readerswonderland

    Man, this is really a shame. I know a lot of other reviews pinpointed the same issues though so I'm really debating on whether or not I should even try it, all the romance cliches bother me so much. Too bad, I also really liked her other series. It much be strange comparing this one to her Immortal Rules, since it was so dark and this one was so… romance-y.
    My recent post ARC Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

    • It really is, I think part of my rating is because of the disappointment you know? Yeah, Immortal Rules was fantastic, so coming into this it was like, uh….

  14. Ebony

    Very, VERY disappointed to hear this, Jeann! Although I guess I shouldn't be as I'd already heard it'd disappointed a lot of people. I guess I was expecting this to be rather fantastic as I'd heard fantastic things about Kagawa's writing and DRAGONS. However, insta-love and a love triangle?! And not just that, but the romance is cheesy? I feel as though this book is probably too heavily focused on the romance aspect of the novel and not the dragons…It may be wiser for me to skip this one. Thanks for the warning and a wonderful review, Jeann! 😀
    My recent post #RiteofRejection Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

    • I know, I just feel like the tropes used in this book kind of felt outdated you know? Like we've moved on from instant love and love triangles and everything…no problems Ebony!

    • So did I Bec, and it sounds like everyone else did as well unfortunately. It's so weird because not what I expected from Kagawa!

  15. Anahera

    I've heard similar things about this book, and I am so disappointed. 🙁 The premise sounded so unbelievably cool, but the execution of the story. Ugh. There was so much potential for dragon lore and cool things that would make it unique, but it gets thrown away and becomes just like any other trope-ridden YA narrative.

    I think we were talking about a book that had a similar problem. Chaos of the Stars, I think? We were looking forward to reading about Egyptian mythology but it felt more like a "girl ends up in the big city" kind of story. :\ Sigh.
    My recent post Talk To Me 49: Holiday food & other cultures

    • Oh I know, everyone is saying the same thing 🙁 it did sound like there was so much potential, but it was just stock standard! YUP it was definitely Chaos of the Stars too, but it just turned to be another paranormal romance. Gah, whyyyy?

    • It was lame because of the main character who is a dragon but turned into a character obsessed with romance *sighs* back to the drawing board!

  16. LilysBookBlog


    No but really. This one is one I've been waiting to get my hands on for months because I heard so many things about it before it came out and I love me some dragons but I just haven't heard good things about it since ht *sad face* Hopefully you're next read is more enjoyable Jeann
    My recent post The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy#1):Review

    • I know right, I think everyone was looking for that deeper mythology which comes when you hear "dragons"…oh wells.

  17. I'm not the biggest dragon fan but you'd think that a dragon book would actually explore some of the mythology, culture and whatnot. It's a total shame that this book failed in that aspect. That could potentially be the only reason that I'd read it, because I'd be curious about how dragons were done.

    BUT ON TOP OF THAT ANNOYING TROPES ALONG THE LINES OF INSTALOVE AND TRIANGLES? Oh hell no. I can't do that as well. Gah, thanks for taking one for the team here, Jeann. I think I'm going to give this a miss. I really appreciate the fantastic and honest review, Jeann! x
    My recent post If Everything Is Conventional Then What Does It Take To Be Avant-Garde?

  18. rlsharpe

    I love The Iron Fey (and am yet to read the Blood of Eden series) and have really high hopes for this one. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it. I've read many other reviews with similar feelings, which has me worried. I still want to read it and still hoping I will enjoy it, I'm just not going to rush out and buy it, might read the Blood of Eden series first. Thanks for sharing.