Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

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3.5 out of 5

This is the 2nd book in the Talon series. I did a lot of waffling deciding on a rating for the first book. I finally decided book 1 was a 3.0, but I would give this a 3.5.

This is set in a world where dragons are real, hidden among us as humans, and controlled by a powerful organization called Talon. Ember, our main character, is on the run with Riley, a rogue dragon who helped her escape and for whom she feels an indefinable pull towards… just like a heroine in a YA novel. Unfortunately, Garret, her other love interest, yes, it’s one of those, has been captured by his former comrades, the Order of St. George, who are hell-bent on destroying every dragon they come across. Having helped Ember and Riley get away, Garret faces a firing squad for aiding and abetting the enemy. Ember has no intention of leaving him to die, and Riley knows it.

This book is much better than the first one. I liked the world, but my major complaints on book 1 were the angsty romance, soppy language, and repetition. This one was mostly free of those moments. The romance blended much better into the action and it wasn’t as soppy and eyerolling as often this time. There was still a lot of repetition, especially on Garret’s side. If he started moaning about “oh she’s not gonna love me because I was a member of St. George I am a dragon-killer boo hoo me” one more time I was going to kill him myself. The tension between the characters was great… again you gotta wonder why it is that even in female-fronted YA you only get one main female character. There were a lot of other female dragons but they were all weak side characters or villains.

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There are some serious logic gaps for me in the way this world works. First: dragons are dwindling, there are just not a lot of them around and breeding and rearing them takes a very long time, so their numbers can’t recover quickly. So why would they be so ruthless as to kill each other off? The regime holds the lives of dragons very cheaply if you ask me, killing off those who try to leave, risking even more lives of the dragons that go to hunt them down. They also kill off anybody who doesn’t 100% toe the Talon line. This is a terrible squandering of resources for an organization/culture that is under threat. Second: Talon forces people into whatever job they are assigned/trained for. This includes putting someone like Ember into Viper training, someone who obviously has a lot of empathy and is not fit for hunting down and killing her own kind. Forcing people to do jobs they aren’t suited for causes dissention, which causes desertion, which causes more death. It makes no sense they would be so unbending and cause more harm to themselves.

The main problem with this installment is that nothing was solved. It was a good action adventure, with a plot that rocketed ahead (until about pg 250 when we hit a lull and I was like… come on, plot, and it dutifully got going again) but in truth, nothing but action adventure/plot happened. There were also a twist or two that I saw coming. But in the end, nothing was resolved. We saw more of the Talon operation, with Dante being pulled in to try and drag his sister back into the fold. I really don’t like the slick, Wall Street version of the dragons. They work like a corporation, with the head “Elder Wyrm” as the CEO and a proxy called Mr. Roth is in charge. It’s all very Enterouge, and douchey as hell.

I did like the book, and read it really fast, but I didn’t love it, I don’t have a lot to say. It was all about the epilogue, just like the last time, where we got a two line BLAMMO! THIS IS HOW WE GET THEM TO READ THE NEXT BOOK!! I think these might make better movies than books. I was really looking for something with more substance.

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