To the outside world Ember Hill is an ordinary girl, but Ember has a deadly secret. A dragon hiding in human form, she is destined to fight the shadowy Order of St.George, a powerful society of dragonslayers. St. George soldier Garret is determined to kill Ember and her kind. Until her bravery makes him question all he’s been taught about dragons.
Now a war is coming and Garret and Ember must choose their sides – fight to save their bond or fulfil their fate and destroy one another.
As expected from Julie Kagawa, Talon is a splendid spin on traditional dragon lore, in a contemporary setting, and against the background of a Romeo-Juliet-esque romance. The book, though in two parts, can be divided into three story arcs. Ember is a rebellious dragon who is finally out of her compound, to learn how to assimilate among humans. Garret has been trained to be a soldier right from his childhood. Obviously, both haven’t had a ‘normal’ childhood, so finally coming among teenagers for their respective missions is a wondrous learning experience for them. When they meet, one is hunting the other, so things at the start build up slow. There is an attraction, but it is restrained by the upbringing of each, even though they don’t know the other’s secret. Second arc is them falling in love, while juggling their respective missions. Third arc is where it really picks up because the reality of Talon as well as St. George’s Order comes out, partially. They both question the lies they have been told and abandon their old beliefs. If you are expecting them to run off into the sunset, well, that does not happen because there is another guy in the picture – a rogue named Riley who wants to save Ember from Talon. Needless to say, it is a love triangle and romance does drive the story quite a lot.
The thing, though, for me not totally loving the book was it’s predictability. Even though the writing was great and kept me on edge, I practically knew the plot twists. Saw through the bravery, betrayal and secrets. So, for a Kagawa book, this one lacked the charm of Iron Fey and the rush of Blood of Eden. Not that this book is in any way related to those series, but after those, the bar is kinda set high, and this one – did not hit it. Towards the middle, the romance got a bit mushy too – with Garret’s constant ‘what if she’s the dragon? what if she is just a human?’ routine getting tiresome. The star-crossed thing worked in this book, since Riley isn’t really that appealing for a triangle. The secondary characters could have been explored better – I particularly felt that Dante was left out. However, with the epilogue, I hope a bigger role for him in Rogue. In fact, I am looking forward to Rogue quite eagerly, since I have hope for this series. 3.5 stars.
Received an ARC from Mira INK via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.