It had been awhile since I had read a Julie Kagawa series and in that time I had forgotten how great of a writer she is. She is seriously the master of taking something completely fantastical (dragons, vampires, faeries) and dragging them into a world that we readers are actually familiar with. And somehow..it fits.
The Talon series is about dragons. Dragons that can hide in a human skin and who have a secret society that are forever hunted by an order of humans called St. George—hell bent on ridding the earth of dragons forever. This book in particular is about much, much more (or less depending on how you think about it). It’s about young love, about wanting to have one summer to be a normal young person (or dragon I suppose). It’s about learning that there is more to the binary of “right” and “wrong” and how the beliefs that Ember and Garrett have held their entire lives up until now could be wrong.
Ember and her brother Dante, young dragons who are part of Talon, have one summer to learn how to mingle with the human race. One summer off before they are chosen for specific ranks within Talon and will spend the rest of their lives doing things to protect their race and ensuring their future. Of course, as you may have expected, things didn’t go down that simple. Ember, of course, makes friends with humans and even falls in love…with the wrong person (of course).
“Observe and blend in,” he stated in his cool, unruffled voice. “Learn how to engage with humans, how to be human. Assimilate into their social structure and make them believe we are one of them.”
Garrett is part of St. George and should be Ember’s enemy. Of course, neither one of them really knows that. Instead, they both experience love for the first time and it’s typical YA fluff and you can’t help but root for them but still worry anyway because you know that it will probably end badly.
“A ruse. That’s all it was. Pretend to like this girl. Pretend to have feelings, to pursue some kind of relationship. Earn her friendship and trust, knowing I might have to destroy it, and her, in the end.
It felt wrong. Dirty and underhanded, something they would do. But… I was a soldier, and this was my mission.”
There were certain points during this were I wanted more—I wanted to know more about Talon, more about St. George, more about the mysterious rouge dragons (Riley in particular but I know we’ll be learning more about him in the next book for sure). But then I thought to myself, no, we don’t necessarily need all of that information. Like I said, this book isn’t even really about Talon or St. George. It’s about two young people falling in love under the worst of odds. It’s about hope, and how these two groups could change…if they could ever come to terms with one another. I think that I will give this book a pass for leaving out this information. Especially because our narrators don’t know much information themselves. Why should we as readers get to know more than Ember does? Overall, this first book already has me hooked. With that cliff hanger of an ending, I can’t wait to pick up Rogue and find out what happens next.
I recommend to anyone interested in YA fantasy, young love, or dragons (quite the variety–I know!)