Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Series: The Talon Saga (Book 1)
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Urban Fantasy | Dragons
Date of Publication: October 28, 2014


Dragons walk among us in human form.

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 secrecy, 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 Xavier Sebastian 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 five up to find the truth about dragons.


Best Cover EVER!!!

Seriously, this cover is absolutely beautiful and makes me happy.

I will begin by saying that I read some absolutely scathing reviews about this book on Goodreads, which made me a little hesitant to pick it up. The cover and Kagawa's reputation made me read it. I will say that the scathing reviews are completely unwaranted.

I agree with many that Ember's character is a little lack-luster, but I don't think she was written as immaturely as others claim. I enjoyed the build up with the supporting characters. The characters were different and the plot was stronger with the various arechtypes. For the entirety of the novel, the story is centered on Ember's inner struggle with her desire for the relaxing and fun human world, versus finding her place in the cut throat and scary world of Talon.
This book has action, romance, drama, and DRAGONS! The premise of the book is interesting, with two secret societies being at war with each other. Not original, but it translated well in the book. I have a deep love for dragons, and I really liked how Julie Kagawa portrayed them. The Elders were especially cunning and arrogant--their words and body language dripping with the superiority I expect and love.

A quick note: the book is arranged in two halves. The second half of the book is absolutely stellar. Had there been as much action and development in the first half, I would have rated Talon higher.   

My biggest complaint, and the main reason why I'm rating this book 3 out of 5, is that I wanted to see more dragon stuff. The book is long--a little over 400 pages. There could have been so much more character and plot development had there not been multiple points of view in First Person. It was a huge distraction and took up way too much space. If you have read any of my other reviews, you know how I feel about multiple perspectives being written in First Person. I loathe it. It annoys me to the brink of insanity. Just use Third Person. Seriously.

Also, the other negative aspect that could have made this book exceptional is that Ember, Garret, and Dante fell a little flat for me. Not completely, just a little. I could have ignored one flat character, but when all three of the leading characters are flat, it really begins to bother me. Furthermore, there was something about the interactions that just seemed artificial. I didn't bond with these characters. This wasn't a deal breaker for me, it just made the story less engaging.
Despite that, I think this series has great potential and I recommend that you at least check it out and give it a try.   

Rating: 3 out of 5 owls


Book Trailer:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Series: The Selection (Book 2)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Dystopian | Teen Romance
Date of Publication: April 23, 2013


The selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she's swept up in a longing for the life they'd planned to share.

America is desperate for more time. But while she's torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want--and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.

Just when America is sure she's made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she's struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.


Why did Maxon have to go and ruin it?

If you read my review of The Selection, you know that I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel in the Selection series. Maxon was sweet and naive and head over heels for America.

Well think again, because every aspect of The Bachelor TV show that I despise showed up in The Elite. I'm disappointed in both America and Maxon. America was upfront with Maxon at the beginning of the series in letting him know that she had feelings for someone else. I commend her for that. But Maxon grows impatient and starts flirting with all the other girls, while still claiming to be in love with America. Even though America was stupid and let her past feelings for Aspen cloud her judgment, at least she was clear with Maxon on her feelings.

So why did Maxon run off to "make out" with the other girls? Because he's a douche bag, that why. He was such a jerk. I have read reviews of The One, but I have no desire to read the rest of the books in the series. I hate it when people cheat on each other in real life, so why would I enjoy reading about it? Not gonna happen. You don't tell someone you love them and then go be intimate with a bunch of other girls. 


In terms of the plot, there was some good development. I really like how America truly wants to help the people, not just show off for them. Cass has some great potential political discord going on that I enjoyed, but I wished there had been a little bit more emphasis. I think it would have helped the story for the better. 

I feel conflicted. When Maxon explained his poor behavior, I could understand it. When America finally realizes how much she really cares for Maxon, I rolled my eyes and scoffed. In theory, I liked the development of the sub-plot, but I just kept getting distracted by how badly all the characters were acting. Ugh! Why can't you just be honest with each other and love each other and get married and live happily ever after? I understand the need for drama to draw the reader in, but this was ridiculous.

I'm giving The Elite 3 out of 5 owls simply because I saw so much potential. The reviews I read confirm that Maxon and America get together in the end, but I'm too mad at the both of them to want to finish the series. My friend who finished the series loves it, so you should at least give it a read. The situation didn't suit my tastes, but there was nothing at all wrong with the writing style.

Rating: 3 out of 5 owls


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