(Dragons Walk Amongst Us): Talon by Julie Kagawa

(Dragons Walk Amongst Us): Talon by Julie KagawaTalon by Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
on 6th November 2014
Pages: 448
Goodreads
four-half-stars
n this groundbreaking modern fantasy series, dragons walk among us in human form.

“There are a dozen 'St. George’ soldiers hiding in that maze,” my trainer said. “All hunting you. All looking to kill you. Welcome to phase two of your training, hatchling.”

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragonslayers. 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.

Mythological creatures, shape shifters, contemporary setting and organizations who aren’t quite what they seem. These are a few of my favourite things and Julie Kagawa has managed to incorporate all of them flawlessly into Talon, the first book of her new YA fantasy series of the same name.

I’ve always been a huge fan of dragons. When I was a little girl instead of the usually occupations children want to be when they grow up like doctors, firefighters and that sort of thing – I wanted to be a DRAGON! Needless to say I was excited to read Talon.

Talon tells the story of Ember Hill, a seemingly normal teenage girl. Except she’s anything but typical. Ember is a dragon who, along with her twin brother Dante, has been given the summer to live in the real world and learn to live alongside humans. They are to make like regular teenagers and enjoy the beach without the humans knowing she isn’t one of them. Ember can’t wait to live outside of the Talon facility for the first time in her life but a complication cuts her summer of freedom short and training begins. Garret Sebastian is a human who knows just how dangerous dragons can be. He’s been working for St. George since he was barely a teenager and when he learns the location of a female dragon – he is determined to put an end to her before she can wreak havoc on humans. Both of them have spent their entire lives hearing how bad the enemy is, how humans and dragons are nothing alike – but what if they have been taught wrong?

I really enjoyed this first book in the Talon series. The first part alternates points of view between Ember and Garret with each of them trying to carry out their missions. For Ember it is to observe and assimilate. For Garret it is to locate and destroy. Both of their stories blend well and I loved getting to learn about their organizations (Talon and St. George) and how life is for a dragon and dragon-slayer in the modern world. Ember is an interesting character to follow with her constant reiteration of her non-human status whilst acting with more human emotion than many of the non-dragons in the story. There is a great contrast between Ember’s actions and those of her twin, Dante.

Garret was a character who took me a little longer to warm to. His training with St. George has made him cold but his story and previous interactions with dragons was an interesting read. Watching him get to know Ember was lovely and I liked how their relationship developed over the course of the novel.

The second part of Talon added an extra point of view and things really started to move along plot wise. I liked the additional perspective however it felt like it wasn’t enough to really draw me into their story as well. That said, I loved how the second part of the novel really brought to the foreground the true colours of Talon and St. George. These organizations may have very different agendas however both are more dangerous than they first appear. I loved the secrets and way Ember and Garret stumbled upon the truth.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the Talon series. The ending of Talon has whetted my appetite and I have such high expectations for what is to come. Fans of well written and exciting YA paranormal stories will love Talon and be just as excited as I am for what happens next to Ember and Garret.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen Australia for the review copy. 

8 Comments

  1. Ahhh Kate I had convinced myself that I didn’t need to read this one because of a few negative reviews I’d seen, but now you’re making me change my mind! Just maybe I’ll snag a copy and hope for the best 😉 I do love dragons.

    But does it really have a lot of lines that are like “my inner dragon does [example]”? I read a review that had a few quotes like that, and it’s ultimately my killing point because it reminds me too much of 50 Shades of Grey.
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted…Saturated Reads Special Edition: A Key of SortsMy Profile

    • To be honest – the my inner dragon stuff didn’t bother me because Ember is a dragon who has the dragon part of herself and the more human aspect. It’s not overdone – nothing like 50 Shades with respect that that.

      I’ve read a few negative reviews too and whilst I can see why they felt how they did, I thought this was a great start to the series. I’m excited to see where everything goes in the later books!

  2. This book looks so. Good. I’ve been a really big fan of the author for quite awhile, now, so I’m really looking forward to reading this. I couldn’t help but buy a copy of it yesterday — so hopefully I’ll find the time to read it soon! Great review, I’m looking forward to this. I have seen quite a few people who’ve been disappointed with this, so it’s good to read something so positive. ^_^
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Top Ten . . . Thursday? Top Ten Books I Wish I Had the Time to Want To RereadMy Profile

  3. Ahhhh, everything about this book sounds so intriguing and unique. I haven’t read any Kagawa yet (I know, I know *hangs head in shame*), but I was hesitant about this one for some reason even though I love dragons…your fantastic review has definitely persuaded me that I NEED to give this book a go sooner rather than later. 🙂
    Ebony @ Daring Damsels recently posted…Daring Damsels’ Travelling BookMy Profile

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