Talon: Review

February 13, 2015 2014, 3 star books, dragons, fantasy, Julie Kagawa, Peyton 17 ★★★

Talon: ReviewTalon by Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1
on October, 28 2014
Genres: fantasy
Pages: 449 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
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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.

I didn’t know I needed a book about dragons masquerading as humans until I found one. Talon is about a world where the remaining dragons hide in plain sight in human form in order to stay alive and a girl who wants more for her life than what has been laid out for her. Although I had some issues with it, I liked the interesting characters, their relationships with each others, and the dragon culture.

The book follows multiple perspectives, but the main character is Ember. She and her twin brother, Dante, have been moved to a small beach town for the summer by Talon so they can learn to blend in with normal human teenagers. For Ember, this is her one, brief period of time where she can have fun and do whatever she wants before the next stage of her mysterious training begins and she is officially locked into the dragon organization permanently. She has lived in seclusion for her entire life, her brother being the only person her own age she’s known, and is itching to have some freedom.

While in this town she meets two boys—Riley, a rogue dragon, on the run and living outside the control of Talon, and Garrett, a member of the organization out to eradicate her race, who is there undercover with the sole purpose of finding and killing her. If you guessed love triangle, you guessed right. Luckily, though, the focus is mainly on the developing relationship between Ember and Garrett. Riley is not given a whole lot of page time for most of this book, though I think that will be changing as the series goes on.

Garrett and Riley are more of a representation of Ember’s battle with the two sides of herself—Riley representing her dragon nature and Garrett her desire to fit in with human society and make connections with others her own age. Both pull at her desire for freedom outside of Talon’s control, as neither boy is feasible for her while living under Talon’s totalitarian rule. I liked that even though there is a lot of focus on the developing romance between Ember and Garrett, and a little bit of angst when Riley is thrown into the mix, the story always remained centered on Ember and her desires for herself. Her frustration with the lack of choice in her life, her brother’s inability to understand her problems with Talon, and her inability to talk to anybody with total honesty, rang very true to me and made her really relatable as a character.

I also enjoyed Garrett quiet a bit. He is not just the love interest and he has more issues than just maybe being in love with a dragon. Going undercover to find the sleeper dragon is his first time being in a situation where he has to interact with other teenagers. Much like Ember, he is not completely happy with his life being laid out for him and he struggles to connect with and interact with his peers. It is their outsider status that draws them together, even though they don’t know the truth about each other. Although at times I thought it was silly how long it took Garrett to realize Ember was the dragon (come on, her name is Ember), I thought it was more about how the Order’s prejudices kept him from seeing the truth. The fact that Ember was not the cold, power-hungry creature he was taught she should be, caused him both to doubt whether or not she was a dragon and if the organization he devoted his life to was as infallible as he was lead to believe. Garrett’s journey was just as intriguing to me as Ember’s, just in different ways.

Although I really liked the emotional arcs of Ember and Garrett, there were still some things I wasn’t as crazy about. At over 400 pages, this is a pretty long book, and a lot of it follows Ember doing normal teen things, like going to the beach, going to the mall, and going to the smoothie place. Seriously, the smoothie place is mentioned so many times I think it could be a character in its own right. In a book about dragons, I wanted more dragon stuff. More shifting into dragon form, more doing dragon things, anything. The beach-going and surfing lessons started to drag after a while. I thought it could have been cut shorter to make more room for awesome dragon battles!

I did enjoy Talon and I will definitely be reading the next one. This book ends on a pretty serious cliffhanger. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dragons and cute romances, but if cliffhangers drive you crazy, maybe wait until it’s a little closer to when book two is released.


I am sad to say this will be my last post here on The Midnight Garden. This is something I have to do, but I am still very sorry to have to go. I am so glad for all the friends I made here and all the thoughtful comments I have received on my reviews. Thank you everyone for making my time here so amazing!

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17 Responses to “Talon: Review”

  1. Carina Olsen

    Great review Peyton. <3 I'm glad you ended up liking this book despite some issues :D I'm excited about it. And will be reading it soonish. Probably. Just worried about the love triangle :p but excited about the story :) Thank you for sharing your awesome thoughts sweetie. <3 And aw, I'm sorry you are leaving TMG :( I'll miss you.
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Cover Reveal: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  2. Andria Buchanan

    I sort of feel like I need to read it because… dragons! But I sort of don’t want them ruined either. So this is a library borrow not a buy I think.

  3. Pili

    Yes!! I enjoyed this one and liked the whole Talon as an organization and the mysteries of what they really do and the guys of Saint George and what’s real and what’s not on what both sides say, but I was so surprised that there was so much normal teenager-y stuff going on too!

    I’m guessing on the next book we’ll get more to the gritty stuff of it, more dragon-y so to speak! And I’m quite looking forward to it!

    The love triangle made me groan a lil bit, even if it makes a lot of sense given Ember’s dual nature and her battle with herself, but I’m all team Xavier! ;)

    Sorry to see you go, Peyton! But one has to do what they feel it’s right! Thank you for your insight and reviews on your time with the Midnight Garden ladies!
    Pili recently posted…Saturday Pages: ARC Review of Collide by Melissa West!

  4. Wendy Darling

    Peyton! You are going out with a bang, because this is such a great review. I literally LOLd at your description of the dragons constantly going out for smoothies, hah. That would bum me out, too. SHIFT, DAMN YOU, SHIFT.

    I’m glad you liked this enough to continue with the series at least! My friend Tandie remarked on our Facebook wall (actually, on your review of ZODIAC) that she thought sometimes book ones in series take too long to set things up, which I thought was a pretty interesting observation. It does sound like there was a lot more teenager-ing than dragon-ing here, though. Hopefully more in book two.

    And I’m so sorry to see you go! We’ve barely gotten to know each other and here you are flying the nest. I do hope you’ll stay in touch, though, and obviously wish you all the best in the world. <3
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Talon: Review

  5. J. Oh

    I’m curious; have you read Seraphina? I know it’s well loved, but I only finally read it a few weeks ago, and it really blew me away, despite the fact that it has many elements that I don’t like. The stunning prose and complex characters really wowed me. Anyway, I’m curious because that’s also a book about dragons masquerading as humans, kind of. (Not so much masquerading, for most of them.)

    If you have read it, I’d be curious to know how they compare (although I’ll admit that Seraphina made me an undying fan of Hartman’s prose). I haven’t read Kagawa’s books yet, but I want to.

    :( Wishing you all the best! Thank you for your lovely reviews.

    • Peyton

      I feel like this series will either get better as it goes on or get much, much worse, but they sucked me in enough to find out! Thank you! :)
      Peyton recently posted…Talon: Review

    • Peyton

      Thanks! Yes, this was why I originally picked it up. I love dragons in high fantasy, but in a paranormal romance? Even though I had some issues with it, it gave me a hankering for more unique supernatural creatures in my YA.
      Peyton recently posted…Talon: Review

  6. Nikki

    I most likely won’t be hitting this series. Not too big of a fan of dragons or romances. But I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • Peyton

      Aww yeah, then this is probably not the book for you. Shape-shifting dragons seem like something you either like or you don’t! :)
      Peyton recently posted…Talon: Review

    • Peyton

      I’ve read the first Iron Fey book and didn’t like it all, but I liked this one enough to continue on. Maybe you’ll be the same! :)
      Peyton recently posted…Talon: Review