Talon by Julie Kagawa, published by Mira Ink on 15th January 2015
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 give up to find the truth about dragons.
'Talon' is the first book in a brilliant new Dragon series. I'm absolutely convinced that Julie Kagawa can turn her hand to any paranormal/supernatural subject and weave a captivating story around them. Faeries, vampires and now dragons all get her special treatment, making this an extremely hard to put down title. I thought it was going to be gripping and exciting and boy, it certainly was!
The central heroine, Ember, is sent to Crescent Beach along with her twin Dante to assimilate themselves into the human world. Ember and Dante are both dragons but in their human forms they get to experience a sense of freedom for the very first time. Although Talon keeps them on a tight leash, Ember gets to enjoy sun, sea and sand, as she makes new friends and begins to question the organisation that she has always obeyed.
Ember's point of view alternates with that of Garrett, a St George Soldier who is tasked with hunting and killing dragons. He and Ember are both used to following orders, but after they meet, Garrett's long-held beliefs start to waver. I liked the way that we got to see the perspective of both the hunter and prey but before long I was starting to question which might be which.
Love may be on the cards between Ember and Garrett but then there's a rogue dragon on the scene who might just come between them. Yes, there's something of a love triangle in the book but don't worry because it's not your typical boy loves girl, who loves other boy. This is a love triangle with a twist which will keep you guessing. I'm not sure who I wanted Ember to end up with more as there are elements to both male characters that I liked. I'm sure other readers will be equally torn.
Fast paced, exciting and with a strikingly gorgeous cover, this was a fantastic paranormal read to kick off the new year. The sequel, 'Rogue' is due out later in 2015 and I shall be queuing up to get a copy.