Sunday, 6 September 2015

Book Review: Talon

TALON by Julie Kagawa
3 Stars 
Verdict: A romance novel with the slightest touch of dragon.

I haven’t read a book on dragons before, I somehow I still don’t feel like I have after this one. The reasons that drew me in to the book didn’t transpire on the page. That said, Kagawa has a way with words that melts descriptions off the page to form images right there in front of you. Although Talon wasn’t my favourite read of the year, I’m tempted to checkout Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.

Let’s get one thing straight. Talon is a romance novel, not action. It has a slight fantasy twist as the word ‘dragon’ is used a lot, but it doesn’t have a fantasy feel to it. If you think you’d enjoy a love triangle centred on the military and secret operatives, this is probably the book for you.

As far as young adult novels go, this book felt on the younger side of the spectrum. Our main dragonell, Ember, sounds and acts younger, so maybe that’s why it didn’t appeal as much to me. I prefer the older side of YA where things are a little less cheesy, less predictable, and less going to the mall.

Most of the plot was obvious and simple. The instant attraction(s) felt cliché, the propaganda from each side of the dragon war felt cliché, and the whole ‘for the good of the many but we won’t say what we actually do’ vibe was nothing more than run-of-the-mill.

Talon is an organisation, but I had a lot of trouble working out what Talon means. Are they spies? A species trying to integrate? Why was Ember sent to live near a beach for the summer? Because she was told to doesn’t really cut it for me, especially after I’ve finished the book.

There were some fantastic terms. The Order of St George, vipers, dragonell... but themed titles don’t really constitute as world building. The way Ember and the other dragons acted, thought, and appeared for the majority of the book felt entirely human. There were only glimpses of proper world building here and there. It was mostly just clever names for things, which is why it didn’t feel very dragon inspired. Just themed.

What disappointed me the most was that the pace was slow. S-l-o-w. The last 20% really kicked off and became the book that I hoped the first 80% would be, and that’s too late.

The multiple points of view didn’t do this book any favours either. Instead of moving forwards, the plot tended to linger in the same moment in another point of view. Often the change in perspective was in order to spoon feed more of the story, rather than show it. Usually I love seeing the same conundrum from a different opinion, but this really was mostly romance and too predictable.

Sometimes the dialogue was realistically quirky, but Ember often sounded like a parody of American TV. Inside her point of view she felt more natural, but seen through the perspectives of the guys inside her love triangle, I half expected canned laughter to follow.

The ending is just a lead into the next in the series. The only problem with that tactic is that I don’t trust the author to take me on a kick-ass, fire breathing, heart-breaking but laugh-out-loud adventure of freedom against the system. I expect a dawdle.

I think one of the last paragraphs sums up this first book very well.

‘No more surfing, volleyball, parties, or hanging out with friends.’

If only this line had come earlier within the book, I might have been tempted to read more.

Source: Brought it with my own money and everything...