Talon by Julie Kagawa | Book Review
Updated: Mar 28
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An underground war has been waging for centuries between the dragons of Talon and the humans of St. George. Ember is one of the latest hatchlings to begin assimilation. She must learn how to blend in with human society and keep her dragon side contained. But left in the human world, fighting against her dragon instincts, the human side of her begins to take over. As she gathers a group of friends around her, she begins to question why Talon wants to destroy them all. And to question Talon is heresy.
One of the top soldiers of St. George, Garret is sent to hunt down the latest dragon sleeper. Used to the life of a soldier, he must learn how to relax and fit in with civilians. When he targets Ember and her friends, he starts to ease his way into their group. As he researches and tests each one, Ember catches his eye. But even as he starts to doubt her humanity, the way she behaves leaves him confused. Can she truly be a dragon when she seems to care for the humans around her? Or is it just a well-placed disguise?
The concept of this story caught my eye. Dragons assimilating to human life, hiding among us to overcome a hidden militia filled with dragon slayers. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? And to make it even better, one side of the story is told from a dragon’s point of view by Ember, while the St. George side is told by Garret. But while this intense storyline seems to be the focus of the book, it took a turn into romance and forbidden love instead. A version of Romeo and Juliet with dragons. Now some readers may enjoy this angle, but I was looking for a more detailed look into the Talon organization and St. George.
There is very little information given on the two organizations. There is a brief overview of how Ember grew up in Talon and how the organization is run. The reader is told what different jobs the dragons can have, and that most of the older dragons are in hiding for their own safety. And yes, it is told many times what happens if a dragon goes against Talon. But I wanted to know more about their day to day. And I wanted more of their history. I wanted more details of the secret war’s origin. Why do all humans have to die? And as for St. George, the reader is pulled into a single battle with an older dragon. During this, the gear used by the organization is explained, but again there is next to no history told. Why did St. George decide to start hunting dragons? How did they become a set organization?
I was also left rather confused when the second half of the book introduced a new point of view since the character of Riley was barely mentioned in the first half of the book. When his viewpoint popped up, I paused and tried to remember the last time he even appeared. But then again, this happened a lot. Certain characters seemed to only have page time when they needed to progress the story. Ember’s brother was built up to be someone Ember was always with. Ember mentioned many times that they did everything together, and yet he was rarely ever with Ember during the story.
I would have enjoyed this book more if there had been more balance between characters. The secondary characters in this book seemed to be plot devices more so than actual fleshed out characters. And this is certainly a book for those who prefer the focus to be on the romance aspect of the young adult genre.
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