Talon by Julia Kagawa

Posted June 6, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 4 Comments



by Julia Kagawa

Series: Talon #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen on October 28, 2014
Genre: Dragons, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Target Age Group: Young Adult

Check out this book on Goodreads

THE DRAGONS OF TALON: Once hunted nearly to extinction, they are now poised to take over the world.

THE ORDER OF ST. GEORGE: The legendary dragonslayers will stop at nothing to wipe dragons from the face of the earth.

These mortal enemies are locked in secret and deadly combat, with humanity none the wiser.

To take her rightful place in the Talon organization, young dragon Ember Hill must prove she can hide her true nature and blend in with humans. Her delight at the prospect of a summer of "normal" teen experiences is short-lived, however, once she discovers that she's also expected to train for her destined career in Talon. But a chance meeting with a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught.

As Ember struggles to accept her future, St. George soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian is tasked with hunting her down. But when faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything the Order has ingrained in him—and what he might be willing to give up to uncover the truth about dragons.


DNF @ 47%.

Talon is the story of a girl who is also a dragon, but works for an organization that isn’t as pretty as she hoped it would be.  Like in Bloodlines, she believes she is doing the right thing until faced with an authority figure and a situation she doesn’t respect and she starts digging a little on her own.  Like so many other books, this is about an attractive sixteen-year-old who just moved to the California area and is in awe of the beach and a boy.

The instalove kills me.  It’s not bad from Ember’s POV, but when we switch to Garrett’s, it’s just sad.  We’re looking at a hardened killer who immediately falls head over heels for the wrong girl.  Take out the romance and I really liked his perspective.  The romance spoils it.  His personality changes, complete with phrases like, “I couldn’t believe myself!” and “Only a month ago, I would have…” and I couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive that.

Add a developing love triangle, and I am all set on this romance.

There are moments that are genuinely interesting.  At one point, Ember’s trainer has her go through a simulation to learn how to protect herself, and that was really interesting.  The surfing aspect was interesting, although very cliche for a California setting (more on that in a bit).  A lot of characters seem to exist only for the purpose of telling Ember “no”, which I found frustrating.  Doubtless we get more of her brother Dante in the continuing story, but so much of the story comes down to, “I am Ember, trying to be a human even though I am a dragon!  I really wish I could be in my dragon form, and I’m doing all these things that are soooo against the rules.”

I find it really interesting to see that Julie Kagawa is from California, because she must have a very different experience than many of my friends from that state.  While I was listening, I was getting frustrated by the Beach Boys-esque setting – the sufing, and the tans, and the blondes in bikinis and mall prowling, etc – because I know people who emphasize how not like the movies California is.  “Nobody calls it Cali, and nobody says ‘dude’,” a friend from LA told me once.  Maybe it depends on where you come from?  Either way it was a cliche extravaganza.

I mean, it was fine, really.  I just didn’t really want another book in this setting, with this plotline.  I like Sophie Jordan’s Firelight better, even though that’s also cliche and has instalove… but there are way more dragons and it’s more Romeo and Juliet.

I probably could have trudged through this book.

I did it earlier this year with Evermore and I was fine.  It’s only a thirteen-ish hour listen and it switches perspectives so it’s easier to handle than it could have been.  But when it came right down to it, Talon wasn’t for me.  I moved on.


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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4 responses to “Talon by Julia Kagawa

  1. Blah, instalove AND a love triangle?? You lost me as well! Although, to be fair.. With 16 year olds it’s ALWAYS instalove! *sees boy* “Oo, who’s that? They’re perfect. I’ll never love anyone as much as I love them…” *sees another boy*. “Ooo… Who THAT? They’re perfect. I’ll NEVER love anyone as much as I love THEM!” Ah, to be 16 again. 😉😂

    • Amber

      You know, that IS a good point. There’s a whole lotta instalove going on at that age anyway. 😛 The thing with Ember is: she goes ON AND ON about how she doesn’t like all the “boy talk” because she’s a dragon and doesn’t understand the appeal at all, especially of human boys, they’re all so strange and uninteresting. So she’s already said that everything about this instalove guy isn’t up her alley before she even meets him. And then she meets him, stands strongly by her word, and says “he’s different somehow”. Given your context (which I hadn’t really considered!) it’s a bit more fair… but I still don’t like it. 😛 I will try to keep that in mind more as I read YA. Dunno how that got past me because you’re absolutely right.

  2. Saxmei

    Agree with your analysis re: Garret’s POV. I could not STAND his perspective because he was sorely lacking as a non-obnoxious person. Also I felt that the book, overall, fell flat, which was a shame, since the concept of dragons hiding as people was awesome? And the romance had such potential, too!!!
    I finished it, but it did not get better, sadly. You made the right choice DNFing.

    • Amber

      Good to know! Even if everything else was moderately okay, there’s such a feeling of “I’ve read this before”. Which, I have. It’s called Firelight by Sophie Jordan and while it’s not The Best Book Ever, it is *better* and there’s way more dragoniness.