Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA, urban fantasy, romance
Published: 2015 (UK)
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Acquired: Bought at YALC
Book Blurb:: “There are a dozen soldiers hiding in that maze, all hunting you, all looking to kill you.”
To the outside world Ember Hill is an ordinary girl, but Ember has a deadly secret. A dragon hiding in human form, she is destined to fight the shadowy Order of St. George, a powerful society of dragonslayers.
St. George soldier Garrett is determined to kill Ember and her kind. Until her bravery makes him question all he’s been taught about dragons.
Now a war is coming and Garrett and Ember must choose their sides- fight to save their bond or fulfil their fate and destroy one another.
So I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I had my eye on this series for a while, mainly because:
- DRAGONS. Living as HUMANS. What’s not to love?
- That gorgeous cover! I mean seriously- the scales shine! ❤ Maybe I’m having hoarding tendencies like a dragon… come to me my pretty….
- Did I mention dragons?!
No but really, I am terrible at judging a book by its cover. I admired it on my TBR pile for so long that I was really worried that the contents wouldn’t live up to my own hype and expectations, but it was good!
Simply put, the story revolves around two viewpoints: Ember and Garrett. Ember and her brother Dante are dragons of the organisation Talon, a hidden movement aiming to survive in a present day dominated by humans. The siblings move to Crescent Beach in their human forms for the summer, in order to disguise themselves and blend in to the human lifestyle, as well as training for their designated roles within Talon. While blending in the dragons are also trying survive undetected from the organisation of dragon slayers, St George.
This is where Garrett comes in. An excellent soldier of St George, Garrett believes all dragons are monsters and need to be killed. That is, until he encounters Ember. The two characters meet while Garrett is on a secret mission to find the ‘sleeper dragon’ in Crescent Beach. The meeting between the two protagonists creates a relationship between the two, which sees both characters learn about themselves, their organisations and their desires along the way.
I originally had doubts about Kagawa’s writing style, the tone didn’t appeal to me at first. However I soon became immersed in the book and I found it really hard to put down!
Gosh, Ember and Garrett really are two sides of the same coin. Every time the two met up I was constantly on edge; looking out for when ‘secret’ lives would come out into the open and ruin everything, it was stressful (in a good way). I do love this trope of enemies becoming friends/lovers though!
There were definitely times when I disliked the whole ‘love at first sight’ vibe, but overall I really liked the plot! The content was different and I liked how it portrayed teenage emotions while also including the fantasy elements within it.
Ember is a very fiery character (very apt for a dragon, don’t you think?), which meant I struggled to relate to her as a character (I am quite a meek person really), but it was really nice to have that strong female protagonist in a book. Yet throughout the story you still get to see her vulnerable side. She is just trying to live her life as freely and as happily as she can, especially given the rules imposed by Talon. I really rooted for her to successfully blend in.
And Garrett! Despite being an elite soldier for his age, I really loved his innocent side. He is such a sheltered being and I love the fact that he can act his age around Garrett (the surfing scene was LOVELY). I really rooted for Ember and Garretts relationship, which is why I couldn’t handle the stress of knowing their secrets, haha!
I also liked Dante, well at least at first. He seems like such a charmer and I really felt the sibling relationship, even as it changes throughout the story. But that ending though, I just wanted to shake Dante a little!!! Dante, WHY!?!
There were so many nice things about this book and once I got used to it I really enjoyed having the boo written in dual perspective (from Ember and Garrett). However there were two things that I didn’t like as much:
- Was the love triangle necessary? I really don’t like Ember having what I call “two types of love”: in her case the emotional love and the animalistic love. It really complicates things and I don’t think this book really needs it for the overall plot progression. Though maybe I’m just a softie for confused little Garrett and a love between enemy factions. Riley was okay and I understand his character helps the plot along, but I really didn’t think romance needed to be involved.
- Talon. Okay wait, I did like the idea of Talon being an organisation for the dragons and all- especially the concept of the different factions within it. But I really didn’t feel the shock factor from them throughout the plot, which I feel was supposed to happen. I mean, especially after reading about the Talon bombshell once Ember and Dante get assigned their faction roles I feel I was supposed to be shocked/angry at the organisation, as it is supposed to incite Ember to choose her path, but like, I wasn’t? Talon weren’t exactly like a loving family to her anyway, so I couldn’t really feel surprised at any information (oh, except the identity of Ember’s trainer). I was honestly expecting to feel a stronger sense of shock and betrayal than I did, which I feel would have been a lot more exciting.
That said the book wasn’t terrible! I actually enjoyed the plot and everything, I think I was just expecting slightly more from Talon.
I really enjoyed the book, and I will definitely be continuing on with the sequel (the next book is called Rogue)! It is so refreshing to see dragons being portrayed in a different way to most fantasy books, a great read.
Has anyone else picked up this series? What do you think? Let me know in the comments! ♥