Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .... Talon by Julie Kagawa

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just Finished Reading .... Talon by Julie Kagawa

Talon (Talon #1)
by Julie Kagawa
To be published on October 28, 2014
by Harlequin Teen

Source: ARC giveaway at BEA

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My take:  Talon was not at all what I expected. For some reason, I had the idea that the book would be a YA fantasy, rich with dragon lore. Instead, I thought that Talon read like a straight-up paranormal romance and was surprised that the dragon-y stuff stayed mostly on the back burner. However, this turn of events was not entirely disappointing; I'm not a big fantasy reader and dragons as protagonists aren't really that compelling to me.

After thinking about it, I decided that Talon felt a little reminiscent of a Vampire Academy or a Bloodlines. Talon features a contemporary American story world in which paranormal creatures live alongside humans. Twins Dante and Ember are dragons disguised in human form who are sent by an organization called Talon to live undercover in a Southern California town called Crescent Beach. There, the twins discover members of the Soldiers of St. George, who are dragon hunters, and also encounter rogue dragons who've fled Talon. So, a bit like the dhampir hunt the strigoi and Sydney is sent undercover to Palm Springs, Talon features paranormal creatures who can pass as human; several different factions in opposition, including one group that hunts another; characters who then begin to question their orders, and forbidden love that develops between various members of these groups. All these things made the VA and Bloodlines compelling to me, so while I was surprised, I was definitely on board for this kind of book.

I did miss the amazing worldbuilding that Julie Kagawa pulled off in the Immortal Rules -- the world in Talon seemed a lot less dark and a bit more pedestrian, though I'm sure more details will be added in fiture books. Then there's the matter of the romance. That aspect of the story started off strong, but then about three quarters of the way through the book, a love triangle developed. I wasn't thrilled about that, as I'd been hoping for a book without that particular brand of angst.

All in all, I enjoyed Talon. If you go in expecting rich, fantasy-style worldbuilding or a lot of dragon lore and dragon action, you may be disappointed. But there is a lot there to enjoy. Even given that love triangle, I'm intrigued enough that I'm willing to read at least one more installment of this series to see what develops.

26 comments:

  1. I love VA and Bloodlines so Talon sounds like a fun read :D And I'd already predicted a love triangle when I read the character bios and interviews in Talon's blog tour, so I'm not particularly surprised lol xD I can't wait to read Talon, and love this review :)
    –B

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  2. I have heard such mixed reviews on this that I stayed away. I am a huge JK fan, though, so I will likely find my way to it, at some point.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. I haven't read her IF series but maybe it's more similar to that? It wasn't what I was expecting but I liked it!

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  3. GAH! I still need to finish the vampire series and I definitely need to buy this one as well.

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  4. I didn't pick this one up at BEA. I thought it was fantasy too. I'm not sure this would appeal to me either though.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  5. Huh. You would think that a fantasy novel involving a dragon would have even MORE world building and fantastical elements than her previous works.

    Thanks for your honesty, I've only read The Iron Fey so I think The Immortal Rules is next! :)

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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    1. Well, since the story takes place in contemporary Southern California, I'd call the worldbuilding lighter. But maybe you'll disagree. Let me know!

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  6. I'm a huge fan of Julie Kawaga, but I'm really sad to know about the love triangle. I seriously hate them right now.
    However, this book sounds great! Great review, Jen!
    Lis @ The reader lines

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  7. I'm a bit disappointed to hear that it's not as deep into the fantasy genre as I was hoping, but I'll keep that in mind when I finally get to read it.

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    1. To me, it really read like PNR. Curious to hear your take!

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  8. I'm a huge, HUGE, fan of VA and Bloodlines series! SO, if this book's awesomeness comes anywhere near those two? I'm totally on board! Thanks for the review! :)
    Book Maniac Reviews

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  9. I thought this was a fantasy too. But fantasy is not my favorite genre so I'm kind of glad. And I love VA and Bloood Lines. Hope I like this one!

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  10. Actually the comparison to VA or BL makes me more eager to read it

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  11. don't know how i feel about this.. i disliked the fey series by her (only managed to get through one book) but LOVED LOVED her blood of eden trilogy… i loved the world building especially.. so a paranormal romance with a lacking world building? i'm somewhat disappointed.. i honestly expected high fantasy and lots of dragons..

    thanks for your review!
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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  12. Ugh, I HATE love triangles. I really do. I am bummed that the dragon lore was in the back ground and not more of a focus, but I freaking LOVE that cover :)

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  13. I was disappointed in this book. The idea is so great. There is NO world building at all. This drove me bonkers. I wanted more about the relationship of St. George and Talon. Why did St. George hunt them to almost extinction? And what are their motives? I was not happy with Ember, either. I needed more of her dragon. But all I got was angsty human teen, which is not how she was trained. And, while I understand her need to feel more "normal" I just didn't see it working like it did given how she was raised.

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  14. I'm now officially intrigued by Talon. Mostly because you compared it to VA and Bloodlines, which I loved. Boo for the love triangle though. Love triangles need to die.

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  15. I was super excited about this one but now I will have to lower my expectations as I expected you know full YA fantasy story and plenty of dragons in it. So yeah it's not that but maybe I'll enjoy it as it is. Great review, Jen :)

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  16. Oh that's not very comforting. I loathe love triangles. I don't think I will be giving this one a chance. Thanks for the honesty, Jen.

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  17. I'm glad you overall enjoyed this. I've seen reviews all over the board. I'm excited to read it myself. :)

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  18. Aw seriously? Another love triangle? I crey. BUT, it is Kagawa so I am definitely still gonna read this--probably will reserve it at the library for now instead, though.

    Lovely review, Jen! <33

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  19. I was actually excited to read a book about dragons or at least involving them some more, so it's a shame to see that they aren't really the focus but this is more so a paranormal romance. I think I could handle that alright though, and it sounds like a genuinely good book nonetheless ^.^

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/10/you-had-me-at-hello-review-giveaway.html

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