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 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.
I fully expected to enjoy this book, or at least find plenty of entertainment value, given that it was written by Julie Kagawa.
I was wrong.
Last week I read the fantastically craptastic Firelight which was essentially Twilight with dragons. So my standards weren’t high to begin with. This book was only marginally better, and only so due to Kagawa’s writing.
Kagawa is a writer whose works I enjoy. Fuck, I liked the much-reviled and oftentimes stupid Meghan in the Iron Feyseries, I overlooked the tragic love triangle, because those books were fun. Not so with this one.
I could tell from the first few chapters that this wouldn’t be a book I enjoyed, and the fact is reinforced throughout the story. Dragons are cool. Dragons are deadly. They breathe fire, they kill people, they’re awesome! I wanted a main character like that. Instead, I got a main character who’s a dragon but really just wanted to fit in with the humans.There is literally no distinguishing her from every other rebellious teenager ever besides for the fact that she can turn into a dragon. She’s rebellious! She wants freedom! She wants to go to the beach and chill and have friends, yo. So badass. Not.
I was tired of rules and isolation, of watching the world go by without me. I was tired of Talon and their endless string of policies, laws and restrictions. No more of that. The summer was mine, and I had big plans, things I wanted to do, before it ended and we’d be forced back into the system. This summer, I was going to live.
There is nothing original about the main character that would make her different from every other Mary Sue in existence. For example, she is one of a super super rare couple of dragon twins, and besides, she’s designed to be physically stunning.
When choosing the form that would be ours for the rest of our life, everyone in Talon was groomed to the highest standards of human beauty.
Fuck that shit. I don’t want a stunning human girl, I want a bad-ass fire-breathing, ass-kicking, princess-eating dragon.
And then, for fuck’s sakes, there’s the whole OH MY GOD THIS CRAZY MYSTERIOUS AND HANDSOME BOY HAS NEVER LOOKED AT ANYONE BEFORE BUT THAT’S BECAUSE HE’S ONLY BEEN WAITING FOR YOU.
“Gorgeous Biker Boy,” Lexi replied as the strange dragon continued to stare at me, almost challenging. “No one knows who he is. He showed up a few weeks ago, and has been coming around all the popular hangouts. He never talks to anyone, just checks the place out, like he’s looking for somebody, and leaves.” Her knee bumped mine under the table, making me jump, and she grinned wickedly. “But it seems like he’s found what he was looking for.”
“Gorgeous Biker Boy,” Lexi replied as the strange dragon continued to stare at me, almost challenging. “No one knows who he is. He showed up a few weeks ago, and has been coming around all the popular hangouts. He never talks to anyone, just checks the place out, like he’s looking for somebody, and leaves.” Her knee bumped mine under the table, making me jump, and she grinned wickedly. “But it seems like he’s found what he was looking for.”And then there’s the insta-love. Come on, now!
But I remembered the strange dragon’s eyes, the look on his face as he’d stared at me, the way my blood had warmed at the sight of him. I remembered the heat of his gaze, the instant awakening of something fierce and primal inside me when our eyes met.
The rogue dragon was trouble. Plain and simple.
And I was intrigued.
All of that idiocy is uncovered within the first few chapters.And I have a clear idea of how things are going to go.
From her rebellious and not-so-charming-free-spiritedness, I’m going to guess that Ember constantly does stupid shit to put herself in danger. Like changing into human and back into dragon form because it’s so important that the dragons keep their existence a secret.
The art of Shifting—changing into human form—was so widespread it was common dragon knowledge now. All our kind knew how to do it. And those that couldn’t were either taught very quickly, or they were hunted down by the Order of St. George, the terrible cult of dragonslayers whose only purpose was our destruction. Shifting into human form was our best defense against genocidal dragon killers and a world of unsuspecting mortals; one did not just wander about in full reptile form unless one had a death wish.
I’m going to guess that she flouts the rules every chance she gets. I’m going to guess that there’s a love triangle, involving that gorgeous forbidden dragon from the quote above, and someone else. That other someone will either be her long-lost friend or an enemy whose purpose is to kill her, à la Firelight. Am I wrong?