Review: Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder

Title: Shadow Study {Soulfinders #1; Study#4; The Chronicles of Ixia #7}

Author: Maria V Snyder

Published: HarlequinTeen Au March 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from February 26 to 28, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Shadow Study launches an exciting new fantasy adventure trilogy by Maria V Snyder featuring characters familiar from her Study and Glass series.

It opens as Yelena, on her way to meet Valek for a brief reunion, is attacked by a hidden assailant who shoots her with a poisoned arrow. Able to heal herself, Yelena enjoys a passionate reunion with Valek before he returns to Ixia, but twenty four hours later she realises her magic has disappeared. Returning to Sitia, Yelena is desperate to find out how she has been stripped of her powers, and how to get them back. Without them she is vulnerable, especially since an old enemy is bent on revenge, and a new one is determined to destroy her.

While Yelena sets out to find the answers she needs, Valek is busy in his role as the Commander’s second after being gone for almost a year. His point of view details life at the keep, as well as Valek’s recall of his past as a student of the The School of Night and Shadows, desperate to avenge the murders of his family, and sets up what I assume will be the main thrust of the plot for this trilogy – a brewing war between Sitia and Ixia.

I don’t think it is strictly necessary to have read the previous books set in this world to enjoy Shadow Study, but those that have will have the slight advantage of being privy to both the history of Snyder’s world, and the development of the characters and their relationships. Snyder does introduce a few new characters in Shadow Study, most notably Onora, a talented assassin with her eye on Valek’s job, and Gerik, a soldier, who are partnered with Janco and Ari.

For established and new fans alike, Shadow Study should prove to be a fast paced and entertaining fantasy adventure. Fair warning though, the book ends on a cliffhanger and the second book, Night Study, won’t be published until 2016.

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Poison Study Magic Study Fire Study


YA Adventure

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Title: Red Queen {Red Queen #1}

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Published: Hachette Au February 2015

Status: Read from February 11 to 12, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

A fast-paced high fantasy adventure, Red Queen introduces Victoria Aveyard’s debut trilogy.

Perhaps the weakest aspect of Red Queen is its fairly formulaic concept. Aveyard pits an elite group – the Silvers – against an oppressed faction – the Reds. The Silvers, so called because of their silver blood, have a range of special abilities and hold all the wealth and power. The Reds, who bleed red blood, have no such gifts and are used as little more than slave labour or as fodder for the war with neighboring factions, subject to the whims of the ruling class. Enter the Scarlet Dawn, a band of Red rebels determined to overthrow the Silver’s.

“We will rise, red as the dawn.”

In terms of plot however, the author ably develops exciting conflict, intrigue, and betrayal. There is plenty of tension, high emotion and drama as Mare struggles to deal with the dangerous situation she finds herself trapped in. The story is fast paced with plenty of action and the obligatory romantic triangle, though with a surprising twist.

“I see a world on the edge of a blade. Without balance, it will fall.”

I liked Mare a lot, she is daring, feisty and loyal to those she loves. She has never simply accepted her lot in life as a Red, rebelling by becoming a petty thief in order to help support her family, and she jumps at the chance to become part of the revolution. Mare’s idealism is tempered with a hard earned streak of pragmatism but it proves to be not quite enough to protect her from intrigue of the Silver Court. She makes mistakes, tending to take things at face value, and as such is vulnerable to placing her trust in the wrong people with dramatic consequences.

“It is impossible. It is foolish. It is our best chance.”

The other main characters introduced in Red Queen also prove to be interesting, particularly the Silver Princes, Cal and Maven. Their complicated dynamic is integral to the plot development and Aveyard uses it well.

“He’s strong, he’s talented, he’s powerful – and I’m his shadow. The shadow of the flame.”

Entertaining and exciting I really enjoyed Red Queen and I am looking forward to the next book.

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Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig


Title: The Fire Sermon { The Fire Sermon #1}

Author: Francesca Haig

Published: Gallery Books February 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from February 05 to 07, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A dystopian blend of fantasy, sci-fi and adventure with a touch of romance, The Fire Sermon is the first book in a planned trilogy from Australian author, and award winning poet, Francesca Haig.

In the world four hundred years after The Blast, every person is born with a twin. One is always healthy and whole, while the other suffers from some abnormality. Identified as the Alpha and Omega, the twins are separated in early childhood, the Alpha is given the privileges of education and power, while the Omega, whose life only has value because their fate is entwined with the Alphas, is branded and banished to a life of poverty.
Cass and Zach have been raised together much longer than most twins while waiting for the Omega trait to surface. They are thirteen when Zach, eager to embrace his birthright of entitlement, finally betrays Cass as a seer and she is cast out.
Seven years later, Zach has risen to a position of power on the Alpha Council and to protect himself from his rivals, imprisons Cass in an Alpha facility where she is confined to a cell, her only regular visitor The Confessor, an Alpha colleague of her brother, determined to exploit Cass’s ability as a seer. It’s another four years before Cass has an opportunity to escape and she sets out to find the Omega Resistance, hoping to change the world.

The idea of Alpha and Omega twins is interesting though the general concept of a society, where one faction is privileged and another oppressed in a post apocalyptic setting, isn’t a new one. Haig doesn’t offer any explanation for the ‘twinning’, but I like the way it allows her to exploit the ‘greys’ of the premise. The physical link between the twins raises some philosophical and ethical questions that relates to issues in our own society.

AU Cover

I’m in two minds about Cass. I admired her determination to escape and search for something better but she is more pious and naive than I was comfortable with, with her compassion, and her eagerness to find excuses for her brother’s behaviour, verging on being a weakness of character rather than a virtue of idealism. Neither did I find Cass particularly brave or heroic and overall I didn’t feel her character demonstrated much growth over the course of the novel.

The pacing is somewhat uneven, Cass and Kip’s road trip in particular drags on a bit and I felt that Haig waited a bit too long to introduce the Resistance, but the writing is strong enough to encourage momentum. The tension is there when needed and there are a couple of twists designed to surprise the reader.

Marketed at a crossover adult/YA audience I’m sure the Fire Sermon will find readers among fans of dystopian fiction. Though the Fire Sermon didn’t wow me, I do think the trilogy has potential and I’m interested to see how the story develops.

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Blog Tour Review: Avery by Charlotte McConaghy

Title: Avery {The Chronicles of Kaya #1}

Author: Charlotte McConaghy

Published: Random House Feb 2015

Status: Read from February 03 to 05, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Avery, the first book in Charlotte McConaghy’s romantic fantasy adventure trilogy, The Chronicles of Kaya, introduces a nation divided by war. For centuries the people of Kaya and Pirenti have fought bloody battles for dominance. The Pirenti, ruled by the sadistic Barbarian Queen, have the advantage of size and strength, the Kyan rely on the magic of the Warders and the bravery of their people to fight the tyranny.

During a mission to assassinate the queen in her castle, Avery is caught and savagely murdered much to the horror of his bond-mate, Ava. The people of Kyan die in pairs, and his passing should condemn Ava to death, but instead she is the first of her kind to survive. With her soul ripped in two, and cast out of Kayan society as ‘unnatural’, Ava assumes Avery’s identity and plots her revenge on the Queen but her plans are thwarted when she is captured by Ambrose, the Pirenti Prince.

Ambrose, like his elder brother Thorne, has been raised by his mother to hate the Kyan, scorning their physical weakness and soft emotions. A fierce and merciless warrior he is nevertheless beginning to question his mother’s cruelty and the endless bloodshed. Tasked to transport the Kayan boy he captured to the Pirenti prison isle, and then shipwrecked during the journey, he slowly comes to admire Avery’s courage and tenacity, challenging all he has been taught …and his barren heart.

Unusually, the narrative of Avery is carried by the first person perspectives of Ava and Ambrose, as well as Thorne, Ambrose’s elder brother, and Thorne’s wife, Roselyn. The focus of the tale is on the emotional journey of these four characters, struggling to reconcile their expectations and desires. The characters are quite complex and stir a mixture of admiration, pity, distaste and respect.

It wasn’t until I began to organise my thoughts to write this review that I realised there were elements of the romantic relationships that made me really uncomfortable. There is the idea that a man’s violent nature can be changed by love, that Roselyn’s patience with her abusive husband, and Ava’s endurance of Ambrose’s violence, are eventually rewarded by that change. That the Prince’s are excused because of their twisted upbringing, and eventually redeemed simply because these women love them. There is some attempt to mitigate the dysfunction with apologies, promises and redemption, but it is still a troublesome model of romance.

I did enjoy a number of other elements of the plot, particularly the twist that reveals the Barbarian Queen’s secrets. The action scenes, even those that are quite brutal, are well written, as are the more intimate and emotional scenes. Avery explores a number of facets of love – the love of country, and the bonds between siblings, parents and lovers. The world-building is fairly simplistic, I understood the Pirenti but didn’t feel I learned much about Kaya. I did find I could easily visualize the Pirenti castle, the hazards of the Prison isle and Ava soaring through the sky on the back of her Pegasi.

Avery is a tale of love, hate, revenge and redemption. Though I have my reservations about the romance I did enjoy the story in the moment and found it to be a quick read.

Follow the Avery Blog Tour

29 January 2015 – Booklover Book Reviews 31 January 2015 – Book Muster Down Under 5 February 2015 – Speculating on SpecFic 6 February 2015 – Book’d Out 9 February 2015 – An Adventure in Words 12 February 2015 – Inside my Words 13 February 2015 – Words Read and Written 16 February 2015 – Stephanie Gunn blog 17 February 2015 – A Word Shaker 19 February 2015 – Inside My Words 24 February 2015 – Thoughts by Joy 26 February 2015 – The Rest Is Still Unwritten

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Review: The Martian by Andy Weir


Title: The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Published: Crown Publishing Jan 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from January 29 to 31, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Edelweiss}

My Thoughts:

“So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days. If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m fucked.”

I wasn’t expecting The Martian to be funny but I found myself chuckling surprisingly often. Watney’s logs are full of witty wisecracks and good humour, even if it is occasionally juvenile and crude. Mark Watney is an optimist – perhaps the ultimate optimist. No matter the challenges thrown at him – lack of food, an exploding tent, a smashed faceplate, disco music, he just keeps going, solving one problem at a time. Watney’s MacGyver-like skill may be a little hard to swallow but I was willing to go with it and believe in him.

“Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can’t improve on duct tape.”

The amount of tension was also a surprise, with each setback on Mars, and back on Earth as the rescue effort gets underway, I found myself more and more anxious for Watney. I really wasn’t sure if he would or would not survive, but I desperately wanted him to find a way off of the planet and get back home.

“Mars and my stupidity keep trying to kill me.”

I have no idea if the science in The Martian is accurate, but I believed Weir anyway, plus this is science fiction so he is allowed plenty of leeway. While I admit that on occasion I found some of the technical detail tedious, I appreciated the sense of authenticity it lent to the story, and I feel like I learnt stuff – always a bonus.

“The chemistry is on my side. the question now is how do I actually make this reaction happen slowly, and how do I collect the hydrogen? The answer is: I don’t know.
I suppose I’ll think of something. Or die.”

Witty, clever and thrilling The Martian is a terrific read. Science fiction is far from my favourite genre but this book may well be one of my favourites of the year.

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SciFi set in space

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon


Title: The Mime Order {Bone Season #2}

Author: Samantha Shannon

Published: Bloomsbury January 2015

Status: Read from January 22 to 24, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

The Bone Season introduced nineteen year old Paige Mahoney, a ‘dreamwalker’, fighting to survive in a world where possessing any clairvoyant ability is considered high treason. Caught and arrested by the governing body, Scion, Paige was sent to ‘The Tower’ where she was horrified to learn that captured voyants are handed over to a enigmatic otherworldly race that call themselves the Rephaite, to serve them as slaves or food.

The Mime Order begins as Paige, along with a few dozen other voyants make their escape, with the help of a handful of sympathetic Rephaite, after a bloody rebellion. Though forced to lay low as the Scion, whom she now knows is controlled by the Rephaite, hunt for her, Paige is determined to alert the underground community to the truths she has learned, but no-one, including her Underworld boss Jaxon, seems to care. Paige is baffled and frustrated by the disinterest until she uncovers evidence that several of the Syndicate gang leaders are in league with the Rephaite, profiting by handing over their own people. To fight back, Paige has only one choice…to become the Underqueen of the Syndicate, and then convince the voyants to stand with her against the Rephaite.

I like Paige a lot, she is smart, resourceful, feisty and both her talent and her personality are interesting. She has a core of incorruptible humanity and cares even when it is in her best interest not to. She is faced with some difficult challenges and decisions in The Mime Order but handles them well.

Set in future London following a timeline that splits from ours in the early 1900’s, Shannon’s world building is intricate and vivid. The focus here is on the underbelly of the city, forced underground, London’s clairvoyant’s have formed criminal enclaves each led by a Mime boss and nominally lorded over by an Underking or Underqueen. Paige is a Mollisher (second in command) to Jaxon (also known as the White Binder) but after the events in The Bone Season their relationship is an uneasy one, and only worsens over the course of the novel.

At 528 pages, The Mime Order isn’t a quick read. The pacing can be a little uneven though Shannon tries to ensure crucial information and detail isn’t simply dumped in the reader’s lap. There is plenty of action, danger and suspense as the novel progresses, and the conclusion ends on another cliffhanger.

An action packed fantasy adventure, well conceived and well told, The Mime Order is a strong sequel to The Bone Season. This series is expected to be seven books long, at the moment I can’t quite see how Shannon will manage to sustain the story for that long but I am eager to find out what will happen next.

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Read my review of The Bone Season


Review: Emergence by John Birmingham

Title: Emergence {Dave Hooper #1}

Author: John Birmingham

Published: Pan Macmillan January 2015

Status: Read from January 17 to 19, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher)

My Thoughts:

Emergence is a darkly funny, action packed fantasy adventure from Australian author John Birmingham.

An oil rig off of the coast of New Orleans is under attack, not from terrorists, but from a group of terrifying monsters who have clawed their way up from the deep. Dave Hooper, the rig’s safety engineer, is hungover and pissed when he finds a hairless, scabrous ape like creature that calls itself a Hunn snacking on the ribcage of his best mate and in a fit of rage crushes its skull with a splitting maul. Hours later he wakes in hospital and discovers his battle with the monster has somehow triggered super hero like abilities… and now Dave must save the world.

Dave Hooper is an anti-hero, who works hard but plays even harder. He takes his job seriously but he spends his downtime partying with hookers and blow, dodging the IRS and calls from his wife’s divorce attorney. He is a lousy father with a crude vocabulary and politically incorrect opinions. Dave is not a man you could expect to count on, but the world it seems will have little choice.

The fast paced, explosive action sees the military struggling against the frenzied attack of an advance troop of Hunn as they storm their way through the tears in the veil and set upon New Orleans unprepared citizens. It has been centuries since the Hunn last roamed the earth and they don’t expect any resistance from mankind so they are dismissive of what they encounter, for though armed only with primitive weapons and basic armour, the Hunn possess enormous strength, speed and thick hides. As New Orleans threatens to become overrun by the man eating demons, Dave is forced to step up and vanquish the Hunn back to the Underworld.

Emergence won’t appeal to everyone but I found it richly imaginative, hugely entertaining and inappropriately hilarious. I’m looking forward to Dave Hooper’s next adventure in Resistance.

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AWW Feature: Fairytales with Fiona Price


I’m welcoming Fiona Price to Book’d Out today to share with you her debut  Let Down Your Hair, a novel with a very modern spin on the Rapunzel fairytale.

Fiona Price has a lifelong passion for words. She has studied multiple languages, talks too much, and spent her teens exchanging long letters with penfriends all over the world. After declaring she was going to be a writer, aged six, she began work on her first masterpieces: a novel about a wild pony and an incisive satirical song called ‘Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep’. Since then, she has attempted just about every form of writing, from bush verse and screenplays to elegies and academic articles. When not writing, Fiona uses her storytelling skills as a cross-cultural trainer and public speaker. She runs workshops on cultural diversity issues, is a member of Toastmasters, and was MC at the 2014 Chinese New Year Dinner for the Museum of Chinese-Australian History. Her non-fiction book Success with Asian Names was published in 2007, and she was a co-author for the HarperCollins International Student Survival Guide in 2014. Fiona is plotting further novels based on fairy tales, and is currently working on a fantasy trilogy for young adults. She has an Australian father and a Chinese mother, and she lives in Melbourne by the sea.

About Let Down Your Hair

 At 22, Sage Rampion has led a strange and cloistered life. She’s been homeschooled, and she’s never owned a cell phone, watched TV or spoken to a man on her own. Everything she’s seen, read and watched has been vetted by her grandmother Andrea, Professor of Women’s Studies and hardline old school feminist.
When Sage and Andrea see Ryan modelling naked below their office window, Andrea marches out to charge him with indecent exposure. But he waves up at Sage, and his grin is the warmest thing she’s seen in her lonely existence. She rushes down to warn him, and as they grow close her sheltered world begins to unravel. Sage starts asking questions about the way she was brought up, and the beautiful teenage mother who abandoned her.
But answering those questions means confronting Andrea, and she’s not a good enemy to make. Taking her on brings Ryan and Sage more trouble than either of them could have imagined.
A timely re-telling of the Rapunzel fairytale in the era of selfies and smartphones.

My review of Let Down Your Hair can be seen HERE, in the meantime please enjoy this guest post from Fiona Price.

Re-imagining Rapunzel

My first encounter with fairytale retelling was “Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes”. I was seven, and I thought Dahl’s rhyming twists on well-known tales were the funniest things I’d ever heard. Inspired by his gun-toting Little Red Riding Hood, I wrote a story called “Petrolella” for my next primary school assignment. I’m happy to say my teacher gave me a star for it!

The idea of retelling Rapunzel came to me many years later. My plan was to find crafty ways of adapting the tower and the hair for a modern-day setting. I toyed with a few ideas, but the one that grabbed me most came when I fell pregnant with my first child. For the first time, I found myself looking at the world as the place where I planned to raise a child. And the more I looked, the more scared I got about the prospect of having a daughter. How could I protect a girl from the message that Looking Hot is a girl’s most important duty? I figured there was no way to stop that message reaching her; I’d just have to arm her against it.

Then I got to thinking. If I did want to protect her from crippling sexist messages, what would I have to do? I’d have to home-school her, and vet everything from what she saw and read to the company she kept. No TV. No unsupervised internet. No commercial music. No contact with anyone who might leak that message through to her. I’d pretty much have to lock her away from the world… rather like the Witch in Rapunzel.

What sort of modern-day woman might bring up a child in so extreme a way? A feminist, obviously, but not an ordinary, sane feminist. A zealot. A purist. An unhinged hardliner with separatist leanings and a powerful need for control. A woman, in short, like Andrea Rampion, Professor of Womyn’s Studies.

Making my Wicked Witch a feminist professor was a risk, but it worked on so many levels. Not only could I milk the term “ivory tower”, I also got a strong link to hair. Because, of course, a woman like Andrea would emphatically reject the pressure on women to keep their bodies bald, brows groomed and head hair long and luscious. All I had to do was figure out how Rapunzel managed to grow hers so long while living under Andrea’s hairy thumb.

Turning a short fairytale into a novel means you have to take some liberties. In Let Down Your Hair, I added a second tower, and expanded the cast of five quite a bit. All the same, I tried to keep all of the key symbols and plot twists, including the gritty ones cut out by the Brothers Grimm. To my mind, if you’re retelling a fairytale, you need to do it properly!

The other thing I did was update the archetypes in the tale to familiar ones we see in the media today. The Humourless Man-Hating Feminist. The Blonde Alpha Girl. The Rich Guy Who Dates Blondes. The Ugly Duckling Who’s Really A Gorgeous Actress In Glasses. I wanted to take these tropes and turn them into real people with histories and inner worlds of their own.

‘Let Down Your Hair’ is my debut novel, and I’m really excited that it’s out. If all goes well, I’d like to tackle another fairytale soon, and I’ve already got my eye on Snow White…

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Review: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix


Title: Horrorstör

Author: Grady Hendrix

Published: Quirk Books September 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from November 17 to 18, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

I first discovered Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix on Leeswammes Blog where the quirky cover, designed to imitate a IKEA catalogue, caught my eye. I was further intrigued when I learned she had given it five stars and I immediately added it to my wishlist based on her recommendation.

After the staff of IKEA ORSK repeatedly find soiled furniture, broken glass ware and other damaged products each morning with no evidence of an intruder, store manager Basil recruits two of his employees, Amy, a reluctant floor leader, and Ruth-Ann, an ORSK lifer, to work an overnight shift. His plan calls for hourly sweeps of each floor and when they stumble across a homeless man hiding under a bed, and two colleagues making out on a couch, they believe they have solved the mystery. But the man vehemently denies he is responsible and Amy’s colleagues, aspiring ghost busters, Trinity and Matt persuade them to take part in a seance, and suddenly the ‘Bright and Shining Way’ is a dark path to an unimagined hell.

Really I am surprised it has taken so long for someone to set a horror novel in a big box store like IKEA which, with its funneled walkways, empty staged rooms, and horse-meat meatballs, has a creep factor even on an ordinary day. It is easy to imagine the magnified eeriness of the echoing spaces at night, especially if you believe someone, or something, is out on the floor stalking you.

The format of Horrorstör includes chapters prefaced by the familiar innocuous blueprints and product descriptions of furniture with names like Müskk (a bed) and Liripip (a wardrobe) which grow increasingly bizarre however as the story progresses. These add a humourous touch which offsets the dawning horror. Also included is an order form, a map and even staff evaluation forms.

Horrorstör is a quick, entertaining read designed to elicit a chill or two in the same way that the store is designed to encourage you to purchase a bookshelf or two. A horror novel with a touch of the absurd, you will never look at IKEA in quite the same way again.

PS. If you need more convincing that IKEA is the perfect setting for a horror novel, check out IKEA Singapore’s TV ad to promote its late night opening hours – a tribute to The Shining.

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Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa


Title: Talon { Talon #1}

Author: Julie Kagawa

Published: HarlequinTeen November 2014

Status: Read from November 04 to 05, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

Ut omnes segimus. As one, we rise.

Talon is the first in a new contemporary fantasy young adult series from author Julie Kagawa.

Centuries ago, dragons were forced into hiding, hunted near to extinction by the legendary dragonslayers, The Order of St George. Shifting into human form allowed dragonkind to survive and even thrive in secret, building a network which has successfully infiltrated human society, biding their time until the day Talon will rise up and reclaim the world.
Ember and Dante Hill are hatchlings who have lived their whole lives hidden within a Talon facility learning the skills they will need to survive as operatives within the organisation. Their last training task requires them to seamlessly assimilate into human society and so for one summer they will live as human teenagers on the sunny coast of LA. Ember is delighted with her new found freedom, but her experiences living among humans, as well as a chance meeting with a rogue dragon, causes her to begin to question the dictates of Talon and when she learns of the organisations plans for her, she is forced to make a difficult choice.

Talon unfolds through the perspectives of Ember, the teenage St George soldier, Garret Xavier Sebastian, tasked with discovering the human identity of the dragon known to have been seeded into the locale, and later, Riley aka Cobalt, a rogue dragon on the run from both Talon and the dragonslayers.

The pace is a little slow to begin with, allowing Kagawa to establish character and back story. There are elements of suspense, intrigue and drama as Ember defies Talon, her scary trainer, Lilith, and her brother, Dante, in search of the truth, while the Order of St George grows ever closer to exposing her. I enjoyed the action as it develops and the last few scenes are tense and fast paced.

Though the love triangle has a bit of a twist in that both Garrett and Riley – one a St George soldier, the other a rogue dragon – are ‘bad’ boys, it is still, well, a love triangle, not my favourite trope. That said, I liked both of them and there is chemistry between each boy and Ember.

Talon isn’t as strong as I perhaps hoped, the plot lacks some originality, but there is potential for Kagawa to create something more unique as the series develops. Talon is a light, quick and entertaining read, but be warned, there is a cliffhanger ending and the second book, Rogue, won’t be published for another six months or so.


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