Rogue Review - Talon Book 2

by Julie Kagawa

Rogue – (Talon#2) – The Talon Saga Review (2015)

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Mira Ink

Genre: Fantasy / Romance / Young Adult

Contains Spoilers for Talon

Rogue picks up the story straight after the events of Kagawa’s first human-dragon shape shifting book, Talon. Our main protagonists are Ember, the red haired hottie that everyone fancies who also happens to be a dragon hatchling, Garrett, the muscle-y soldier hottie that Ember fancies who also happens to be a professional dragon assassin and Riley/Cobalt, the cool rogue dragon that Ember’s inner dragon fancies, a chap turned his back on the secret organisation of dragons – Talon – and has convinced Ember to follow him.

Caught up? Right. Have you ever found yourself lost and confused in Las Vegas? Possibly. But not lost and confused and hunted by a dragon killing SWAT team I bet. Whereas the first story focussed on teenage life, first love, beach cafes, parties, surfing and (oh yeah) dragons, this book is more mature, darker, and far more enjoyable as a result.

Sure the love triangle is still present, but we’re away from the beach and the surfing lessons of the first novel and into the dusty surrounds of Nevada, infiltrating a top secret base of dragon killing soldiers within the first chapter, and the pace of the story doesn’t let up from there. Kagawa has crafted what is essentially one long chase story, with our plucky trio of dragon killer, dragon hatchling and rogue dragon (plus the rogue’s computer hacker, Wes) forming an unlikely alliance to evade the two resourceful organisations that are hunting them down.

Plot wise, not an awful lot happens really, once Garrett is freed from the prison of The Order of St. George the three characters go on the run and hide amongst the slot machines of Las Vegas. Talon Operatives (teams of smartly dressed humans which can shape shift into dragons) and St. George operatives (SWAT teams with machine guns and fire resistant armour) chase the three heroes from hiding place to hiding place, action set piece to action set piece. But it works. And the main reason why is the quality of the foundations that were established in the first book.

The characters aren’t the most interesting in all honesty, but it’s the situations that they’re put in and the relationship between them which entertains, the book taking each chapter as an opportunity to switch first person perspective to each of the main characters. Garrett is frustrating to read about, a soldier who’s a bit dull and a bit one dimensional, he doesn’t really grow over the two books and spends the majority of this book in a loop of confusion. I fancy this hot girl but she’s a dragon and I used to kill dragons. BUT, this girl’s really hot. But isn’t she a dragon? I used to kill dragons. But she really is hot. OK, you get the idea. The good news is, when the action starts, he kicks ass.

Ember is also a bit of a one-trick pony of reckless indecisiveness, and she too needs to develop quickly before frustration sets in. Her romantic choices are all well and good (when she’s human she prefers Garrett, when she’s a dragon she prefers Cobalt. Try counting the times the words inner dragon are mentioned and it’s likely it’s an Ember chapter) but it’s the life choices of her character which are the most interesting. The dilemma she’s in. Is Talon really as bad as she suspects? Has she done the right thing by going Rogue? The none-action elements of this book work best when this dilemma is explored.

Riley/Cobalt is probably the most interesting character to read, the dragon that turned his back on the main dragon organisation Talon to start his own Rogue group of dragons. We learn more about what Talon are up to in this second novel, we get to find out a bit more about their secrets and their overall plans for world domination (?) with dragons. This is through nice flashback scenes into Riley’s past and through the eyes of Dante primarily. Remember him? He’s Ember’s twin brother, the dragon hatchling that decided to remain in Talon and who believes that everything they did was for good. Is he wrong? Undoubtedly. But will he end up killing his own sister before he finds out the truth? That remains to be seen.

Dragon Zoo Recommends: A step up from the first book this is a story filled with moral dilemmas, life changing decisions, intrigue and (of-course) dragons. Readers of YA fantasy/romance/action books will find absolutely loads to enjoy in this page turning follow up to Talon. Soldier (Talon#3) is scheduled for release in 2016 and will continue what is growing into a thrilling franchise.

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