Talon by Julie Kagawa

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I’ve been waiting to read this series since the first time I heard the premise. A book about dragons in a modern day setting? Count me in! So of course I dived in the moment I saw the last book in this 5 book series set to publish next year. Overall I enjoyed the read, but unfortunately I have to day I may have over-hyped the series a bit.

Synopsis: Talon is set in modern day California and follows main character Ember Hill as she and her twin brother, Dante, are finally set free to complete the final part of their training to successfully infiltrate human society for a few months in incognito. Ember and Dante must learn about the outside world of dangerous humans, how to act and be one of them, all in order to continue to provide and keep safe their secret society of ancient dragons masquerading as humans (known as Talon). And of course, there is the evil society of dragon hunters of watch out for. But things aren’t what they seem. After Ember comes across a dangerous rogue dragon named Cobalt begins to question everything she’s been taught and been training for her whole life.

Rating: 6.5-out-of-10 Unicorn Horns.

Overall I enjoyed this story and the magical otherworldly aspects. The way the dragons have evolved and adapted over time in order to assimilate into human society is something that has kept me interested enough to keep picking up the next in the series. Normally this is the kind of story I love to pieces; ancient dragons, secretive societies, mysterious-not-what-they-appear characters, and a defiant, strong heroine, but the characters seemed to fall a bit flat. I kept recognizing them in the many other similar Y.A characters I’ve come across, and so found them all a bit too predictable for my liking. The only characters that really stood out to me were a couple antagonists.

Even though the story is interesting, I felt that the characters brought things down for me, that and everything seemed to be heading down an all too predictable road. I’d still recommend this book to teen urban fantasy lovers as the story begins to grow more complex in later installments, but would warn away those looking for stories with unique characters/character driven stories. 

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Written in Red by Anne Bishop

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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I am absolutely in love with this series! 9/10 Unicorn Horns!

Long ago, Namid gave birth to all kinds of life, including the beings known as humans…They bred and spread throughout their pieces of the world until they pushed into the wild places. That’s when they discovered that Namid’s other offspring already claimed the rest of the world. The Others looked at humans and did not see conquerors. They saw a new kind of meat.

The above quote is something a took from the first page of Written in Red- accurately titled “A Brief History of the World”gives readers an idea of the type of world Bishop has set for the characters of this amazing story. Set in a fantasy world that mirror’s our world, but with the addition of creatures known as Others, these Others (shapeshifters, vampires, and a few new/remodeled creatures from common fables), are the dominate species of the world and more or less control how much land and resources they use and produce. Getting to know these new and remodeled creatures is one thing I enjoy so much about this series, including the addition of a different type of human called blood prophets or cassandra sangue. It is the presents of these cassandra sangue, one in particular, that ends up bringing about huge changes in their world.  

This multi-perspective story starts off with a mysterious girl named Meg, also known as cs759, being chased by a group of dangerous humans. This chase brings here straight to a place most humans rightfully fear, a Courtyard. In Thiasia (what I assume is the equivalent of America) Courtyards are known as the place the Others have set up in order to keep a watchful eye on the humans near their territory, and as a place where Others can enjoy some of the goods made by these humans. Simon Wolfgard, a werewolf and the leader of the North East Courtyard in Thiasia, is the the owner of Howling Reads bookstore and just happens to be the first Other Meg ‘sees’ when inquiring about a “Help Wanted” sign posted on the store window. This unlikely encounter is the trigger for a series of events that left me on edge after each installment (I’ve read the 1st four in this 5 book series-the last installment set for release in a couple weeks).

While many of the creatures known as Others are well known to many urban fantasy readers (vampires, werewolves, and other animal based shifters) most have unique twist or blend to make them feel like new. This isn’t an adult series that’s big on romance (a nice but very subtle thing that takes the background to character development and plot) despite things seeming like it will quickly go that way in the very beginning. Either way this has quickly become one of my favorite reads, and I recommend it to any urban fantasy fan!