Thursday, January 15, 2015

Talon by Julie Kagawa (Talon saga book 1)

Humans assume that Ember and Dante Hill are twins but the two of them aren’t human, they are dragons. Dragons usually only lay one egg at a time so instead the two are really clutchmates; they were hatched at the same time and grew up together. The two are rare among their own kind. With similar appearances, the two consider themselves to be twins. Now at the age of sixteen, Ember and Dante are being moved into the next phase of their training by Talon, the secret organization that keeps dragons safe. Leaving the desert compound of Talon behind, they are going to Crescent Beach to begin their assimilation with humans. High strung and not one who likes to be confined by rules, Ember cannot wait to live her life as her own for the summer. They will be under the care of guardians and in the fall will enter high school as sophomores.

The “guardians”, Uncle Liam and Aunt Sarah, have a house overlooking a public access beach and Ember cannot wait to get on the sand. After splashing in the waves for a while, the two spot a group of teenagers playing volleyball. Uneasy with making friends, Dante leads the way and smooths things over for Ember. The two fit in pretty quickly. As night begins to fall, the two go to a beach burger shack with siblings, Calvin and Lexi, two of their new friends. While sitting at the table, Ember feels a strange prickle on the back of her neck, like she gets when an evaluator is watching her. Turning around, a dragon on a motorcycle pulls up, in his gorgeous human form. Lexi tells the group that Gorgeous Biker Boy has been hanging around for a couple of weeks and this time it looks like he has found what he is looking for. Lexi is implying that Ember is in his sights. The guy leaves. Ember looks at Dante and his look is cold and dangerous. Dante is ready to go and they promise to meet up the next day. Walking home, Ember asks Dante what is going on. He would bet money that the dragon in the parking lot was a rogue; a dragon who has broken away from Talon and was on the run. They are considered criminals and traitors to the organization. Dante warns her not to tell Liam and Sarah because they will inform Talon. The two agree.

The next day while on the beach, Dante and Ember receive texts from their guardians at the same time. Begging off from their friends, the twins head home. Waiting for them when they arrive are their aunt and uncle as well as two dragons who are scary even in their human forms. The female announces to Dante and Ember that there has been a change in plans. Now, their summer of freedom is all but over when their education is accelerated. Every morning, the two will take the basement tunnel to a garage three blocks away where two cars await them. Ember and Dante will be taken to separate locations where their training will take place. Ember is with the Scary Dragon Lady who puts her through her paces strength training. Dante will only say that he is studying political science but Ember unloads at the unfairness of her situation.

After trying to surf one morning with no waves coming in, Ember gives up and looks for Lexi. She finds Lexi and Kristin talking to three boys who are in town from Colorado State. They are leering at Ember and her friends. She gets the  prickling notion again but doesn’t see the motorcycle guy. Her friends are ready to show them around and they ask about Lone Rock Cove. Even Ember knows that the hidden inlet a couple of miles out of town is isolated where “questionable things” occur. The boys want to go on a picnic and everyone but Ember is eager to go. Later, she wishes that she had listened to her inner dragon.

Garret Xavier Sebastian’s entire family was murdered by a dragon when he was just a toddler. He was taken in by the Order of St. George, a group of dragonslayers whose purpose is ridding the world of dragons, and trained to join their ranks. Becoming a soldier at the age of fourteen, he has partnered with Tristan St. Anthony for the past three years. A week after a successful mission, the two are called to a superior’s office. The Order has received intelligence that Talon is integrating a rare female dragon into society. They will be sent to Crescent Beach to try and find her so that she can be killed before Talon can hide her away again. The reason they are sending the two of them in is because Garret is the only experience soldier who can pass as a high school student since he is only seventeen. After several weeks scouting out the town, Garret and Tristan think they have narrowed down their search to a group of girls who hang around the beach every day. While watching them one day, the two notice that the girls ride off in a yellow jeep with some boys. They decide to follow them.

At Lone Rock Cove, everyone but Ember starts drinking. She wants nothing to do with the situation. The group begins to pair off but Ember isn’t interested in the boy, Colin, who has his sights set on her. Pawing her, Ember begins to fight him off. She struggles to keep from Shifting and revealing herself as a Dragon. Lexi tries to help her a little too late but Kristin has no interest in leaving her new boy behind. With her temper flaring, Ember pushes Colin off of her. Furious, she doesn’t see him move before he slaps her across the face. Knocked down on the sand, it is all Ember can do to control herself from erupting into her dragon form. Before she can get up, a new boy punches Colin. Soon, it’s three against one but not for long. An older boy joins the fray. The two new boys obviously spend a lot of time in the gym and the three college boys are quickly subdued. For the first time that summer, Ember realizes what Lexi keeps saying about human boys, her rescuer is gorgeous. The younger boy asks Ember if she needs a ride home. Colin starts in about Ember being a slut like all the other West Coast girls. Before Garret knows what is happening, Ember knees Colin in the groin. Tristan and Garret take the girls back to the beach.

On the ride back, Garret goes over the facts he knows about Ember Hill. He has studied her and her two friends extensively. Garret has pegged Ember to being the sleeper dragon planted by Talon, except for one glaring detail, she has a twin. Dragons only have one offspring at a time. Back at the beach, Kristin invites the two to her birthday party that weekend. Tristan sees it as the perfect opportunity for Garret to assimilate with the group.  

Will Garret go to the party? Are sparks flying between Garret, the soldier for St. George, and Ember, the dragon he has been sent to kill? What are Talon’s real motives for Ember and Dante? Are they to be trusted? Why is the rogue dragon looking for Ember? What does he want with her? Is Dante receiving the same kind of training as Ember? What happens when secrets are spilled and who will survive the fall out?

Readers will be eagerly anticipating book two in the Talon Saga, Rogue, due out April 28, 2015.

Visit Julie Kagawa’s website.

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