Book: Talon (Talon #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
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 sat down to write this review almost a week and two posts ago. That should give you an idea of just how difficult I found it to review this book.I may dislike writing negative reviews but I really, really hate writing disappointed reviews.
It’s hard to believe that this book is written by the same author who wrote the Iron King series and the Blood of Eden series. They were so good and this is so…not. At the same time, I can see that Ms. Kagawa tried to copy some of the elements which made the above series so compelling into this one. The keyword here is tried.
She tried taking the manipulative and violent nature of the fae and putting it into the dragons. And though the punishments in the book were certainly draconic in nature, the character themselves did not feel like dragons; they felt more human than anything else- too kind, to naive, too noble and too boring.
She attempted to duplicate the air of secrecy, double-crossing and back-stabbing that had us flipping the pages as fast as was as physically possible in the Blood of Eden but here too she failed. Can I just say, I saw it all coming from miles away?
The characters didn’t dazzle me or delight me either. You know they’ve been written badly when you feel completely detached even after 413 pages of reading. Part of it was the main character’s fault. She’s one of those annoying characters who aren’t really that special but has everyone tripping over their feet trying to kiss hers. Her twin brother (though promising in the beginning) barely made an appearance at all. To excuse his lack of presence, we were constantly told something like He went water-skiing with the guys’. And their relationship? Total fail. Ember constantly tells us she loves her brother, but honestly I can’t really see the love. She forgets about him all the time, constantly whines at him and resents him for the most pointless of reasons. Having a twin was more of a plot device than anything else. The secondary characters were just as bad. They appeared sporadically to be boy-crazy, make bad boy-decisions, push Ember at one of the boys and give her dating advice. They were totally inter-changeable and one dimensional.
The romance? Where do I start with this one. First of all, it’s a love triangle. I don’t get why YA authors think we like love triangles. We don’t. But we can tolerate them if the rest of the book is good enough. Or even if the love interests are interesting and different enough (take Puck and Ash from her Iron Fey series, for example). If it’s not already pretty obvious, the rest of the book wasn’t good enough.
There are two love interests- the dragon and the dragon-slayer <cough, cough Firelight by Sophie Jordan cough, cough>. In both cases, it’s a case of ‘forbidden-love’ and star-crossed lovers. In the dragon case, the dragon is a rebel and an outlaw. In the dragon-slayer case… hello? dragon- SLAYER here. But other than these two things, the love interests are pretty inter-changeable. Both of them are emotionally-distant and stricken with a serious case of insta-love. Both of them are non-human (I’m of the opinion that the dragon-slayer is a robot; he certainly acts like one). Both of them are boring. Blah, blah, blah.
If this book was more about dragons and less about the romance, it could have been salvageable. But it’s not. I still have a hard time believing the book was about dragons and not about humans occasionally turned into lizards with wings. Where was the treasure-hording? Where was the fiery and angry nature? Where was the freaking worldbuilding?
The blurb looks really interesting but don’t be taken in by it. There’s no moral dilemma or a struggle to understand different species. There’s only cheap, bland romance between robotic, self-obsessed characters who come with pre-written scripts.
This book suffered a massive case of blandness. It was extremely formulaic and seemed like it didn’t even try to get much originality in. There was no plot. No interesting characters. No hot romance. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Trust me, you won’t miss anything if you don’t read the book.
Plot: 1/5 (Plot? What plot?)
Romance: 1/5 (I really want to give this thing a zero)
Overall Rating: 1.25/ 5
Will I read the next book: No way. Dragons will turn generous and caring before I read the next book in the series again. And, no I don’t mean the so-called dragons in this book.
Book like this: Firelight by Sophie Jordan (more draconian dragons, an actual plot ,better sibling relationships, hotter love interests, -go read that instead)