Author: Julie Kawaga
Series: Talon (#1)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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.
Talon is the first book I've read by Julie Kawaga, and I was wildly impressed with Talon, one of her new dragon-fantasy series. Perfectly paced plot with a captivating romance, Talon will definitely not disappoint its readers.
Talon revolves around Ember, a dragon who's feisty and wild, but a teenage girl at heart and the dragon hunting organization, Order of St.George. Ember does not want to be forced to abide by Talon's rules, she wants to be free and be able to live a normal life, however, being a dragon, she does not have opportunities to make her own choices. I could understand her constant struggle and what she would give to not have her life controlled by the organization.
The writing in the book was spectacular, and I was surprised how easy it was to read despite the descriptiveness and how quickly the plot moved. At the same time, it gave us a lot of insight on our characters because of the switching POVs. Ember was a main character I really enjoyed, I loved her personality and how independent she was. She's confident, fun, and real, and I was relieved when she wasn't afraid to make the first moves towards Garret (who is definitely a book boyfriend!) and I will admit that I was astonished when she did. We don't see too much of Dante's presence in Talon, although he plays a much larger role in Rogue.
Garret was a favourite of mine. Being a perfect soldier of St. George, his mission is to hunt dragons to extinction. We learn so much about Garret, and the enemy, St. George, so when he is assigned the mission to kill Ember, it was a thrill ride to see him hang around Ember--and unintentionally fall in love with her. His character development was phenomenal; we see him go from an emotionless killer who kills without batting an eyelash to a teenage boy who fell in love.
I found myself hating him, wanting to hurt him, to drive him away from the red-haired girl who was supposed to be mine.
Breathless, I slumped to the wall, numb with the realization. This anger, these illogical feelings of rage and possessiveness...I was jealous. I was jealous of a girl I was supposed to be stalking, seducing, for the sole purpose of revealing her true nature. This had become more than an objective, more than a mission.
I was falling for her.
The romance was fantastically written--it was not insta-love, but a slow burning relationship that had stages of development. I didn't really like Ridley, although he would have been the right choice for Ember. Ridley is badass and caring in a way that I hadn't expected, but falling in love with the enemy is so much more of a love story. I did predict that Garret would somehow have to face Ember and kill her, but what happened in the end just adds 100000% more to the romance between the two.
Kagawa left me with an exceptional first impression with a dragon-fantasy intertwined with a forbidden romance. In spite of the fact that the focus of the novel was more towards the romance than plot (not that I mind), the setup of the plot, St. George, Talon, dragons, and romance, made it a fantastic beginning to a trilogy with much potential.