After days of debating with myself, I’ve concluded that stars aren’t the best rating systems. This book could’ve easily been a four but today I’m giving it THREE STARS.
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.
Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.
Soldier Garret St. James has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey — and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him — and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.
Firstly, how cool is the cover?! The gold text, the shimmering, crimson scales — I spent a few good minutes just staring at it. Secondly, I just wanted to mention that I’ve read the Firelight series by Sophie Jordan, so the premise wasn’t unique to me. I still decided to give it a shot because I’d heard good things about it. With that out of the way, let’s get crackin’!
- Flat characters. Honestly, I didn’t care for any of the minor characters except maybe Lexi, but even then, like the rest, she felt a little bland. While I can appreciate her friendship with Ember, their conversations weren’t all that interesting. It was usually just her asking Ember about Garrett and how their relationship was progressing. The minor characters were kind of like background noise.
- Riley’s attraction to Ember. I didn’t understand this one. It felt forced like it existed for the sake of a love triangle. Maybe it was because we don’t see much of him until the second half of the book where we have chapters written in his perspective, but there was just no gradual build up to that attraction. He showed up and then he liked her. Whenever I read his chapters and he’d say stuff like how she stirred his dragon and how he belonged to her, I grimaced. In my head, I was like, “shut up.” I think he would’ve become my favourite character if it weren’t for that, because his parts infused the book with a lot of life and direction that was kind of missing in the first half.
- The romance. I don’t know. At least from Ember’s perspective, I can understand that a feeling as strange and passionate as love is rare, new, and exciting; that it is something worth exploring. But I wish it was toned down a little. Just a little. There were so many interesting things in the story that I wanted brought to forefront (some of which I’ll put in the Likes section) and explored a little more, like her relationship with her brother, the Talon organisation, the history of St. George and her friendship with Lexi. Seriously, the latter was a disappointment I didn’t realise resonated so strongly with me until the morning after finishing the book. I love reading girl-girl friendships that are deep and complex. If the romance had been cut down a bit, we could’ve had some time to explore all these things, get to know Lexi a little more.
- Brother and sister relationship. I have a sibling, so I love stories that explore these kinds of relationships. I like how they look out for each other. Even when Ember kind of loses direction and slacks off in that department, her brother is never completely out of her mind when she’s making decisions or thinking things through. It was a shame this wasn’t explored more. I would’ve loved the story to be more centered on their relationship.
- The action. The training sequences with Scary Talon Lady (*chuckles*) were so fun. Those were the scenes I enjoyed the most, the thing that kept me going during the slower moments in the first half of the book. The action, overall, was well-written. I thought I’d have a hard time visualising fights between dragons but Julie’s writing style helped me form a vivid image in my head.
- The Talon. I’m sure we’ll get to see more of the Talon organisation in the following books, but either way, the little glimpse that I got in this book had me wanting more. It’d be cool to meet characters from the other branches in action, like the Gila and the Basilisk. But even more so, I’m interested in the dynamic between the humans and dragons in this world. There’s a few instances in the book where it shows how the humans in the organisation fear them, so it makes me wonder how they’ve come to work for Talon. Are there humans in high, important positions? How high can you go? How else do they serve the organisation, apart from being drivers, guardians, and techies?
A lot of questions, and a lot of hope for the next book!
(I feel like my reviews are getting progressively longer.)