Sunday, December 28, 2014

Talon Review: Ember

I have spent the past 16 years away from the world.
Learning to act human, to assimilate.
To hide right in plain sight.

I am a dragon.
I am disguised as a human.
No one can tell the difference.

I was finally deemed ready to test my skills in the human world.
I am spending summer in California.
I am getting to know how human society works.

I was taught that we were superior to humans.
But there is a secret group that fights us back.
The Order of St. George will do anything to kill us all.

I won't worry about them.
I'm just here to have fun, to have a human summer.
I won't worry about a spy or the rouge dragon among us.

My name is Ember Hill.

Hey guys! Today, I’m Ember from Julie Kagawa’s Talon!

Book: Talon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon
Book Status: Book 1
Setting: Crescent Beach, California
POV: Ember, Garret and Riley, all in first person
Genre: YA fantasy, action

Reading: first time

Heads up: this is going to be a very long post.

Let me make this very clear: Julie Kagawa is my absolute favorite author. It’s no secret. I could go on and on about how her first series, the Iron Fey (first book is the Iron King--check it out!!!), changed my world, but I’m going to save that for another time. Right now, I’m going to obsess over Talon, and the beautifully crafted world of dragons she has introduced me to.

I’ve never really come across a good dragon story that really clicked with me. Sure, I’ve read Eragon, the Dragon Rider, and Scorched just to name a few, but none of them I could relate to very well on a personal level. Until Talon. Until Ember. This was a dragon story beyond my imagination, and one that I could relate to, It had a very realistic protagonist, realistic in the sense that all her emotions were spot-on and very human. Her wants are the same as any normal person's: wanting to spend summer having as much fun as possible, learning everything she can about surfing, everything.

Ember, being raised upon slews of rules and mantras of how humans are inferior, isn’t some complicated dragons-are-better kind of person; upon being released into the human world, she immediate makes it clear that she isn't in it to compare herself to the humans, but to have fun. Yes, learning to fit in was important, but that wasn't her goal. It was to be free, to have fun, and get as close as she could to having a normal, awesome and fun human summer. Hanging at the beach every day? Check. Surfing? Check. Mango smoothies? Check. Shopping-turned-arcade-sprees? Check. Fun, freedom, friends? Check. And let’s not forget possible romance. Basically doing everything any normal teen would do if given the chance to spend a summer at a California beach.

Through Ember, it really got me thinking about rules and laws. Who makes them? Why do they make them? What aren’t they telling me? Why? Ember challenged everything, never being able to willingly submit to orders without further explanation. And, it turns out, for good reason too. You have to be careful with who you take orders from, and always be cautious of superior motives.

Okay, I’m going to move onto another topic here. Yes, it might be a little bit of a spoiler, so don’t read onwards if you haven’t read Talon yet!

***Still here? Good. Because I’m starting. SPOILER ALERT!!!***

Welcome to the first instalment of Erika's book obsession over fictional characters and relationships.

Two names. Very simple: Ember and Garret. They. Are. Adorable. Am I being biased because Garret reminds me a tiny bit of Ash in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series? Yes. Maybe. But though they are similar, they are also different. You have Ember, the brave, fiery dragon disguised as a human. And then you have Garret, the “Perfect Solider” with a record so impressive and clean, it’s just unheard of. He’s that quiet, maybe slightly awkward guy who is new at having fun (he’s been fighting in a war since he was 14, so I guess he has a reason for not being able to unwind like a normal person), yet he can turn into a very scary and deadly solider in a blink of an eye. It’s just cute. Both of them, really. They’re cute and adorable and have officially made it up into my top couples of the year (yes, there is a list. I’ll be posting it soon, hopefully before the new year). The things Garret does for Ember (SPOILER: aka winning her a giant pink stuffed bear at at a carnival shooting game…CUTE because he’s obviously a really good shot and he knows it since he’s a solider) and the emotional turmoil he goes through when trying to convince himself to spy on Ember to see if she’s a dragon, it’s just adorable. He throws away his logic and dedication to his mission because of Ember. He even goes as far as helping Ember escape the rest of team, knowing that he’ll get branded a traitor and executed for it. IT’S ADORABLE. AND I WANT TO HUG HIM SO BADLY. And Ember, now determined to save him? Even though she knows he's her enemy, that he's been spying on her all summer, that he betrayed her? And still, she's going to try to save him from the wrath of the entire Order of St. George? EVEN MORE ADORABLE. I totally ship these two. And I also want to meet them and become their best friends.

Okay, end of spoiler section. Sort of.

I’m not really a summer person, because I can’t stand the heat. But after reading about Ember, and through her, experiencing what it’s like to surf and have an amazing California summer? Well, I think I’m willing to give summer another shot now. If only I lived in California…

I can’t wait for the sequel, Rouge! Let the countdown begin!

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