Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Talon Saga #2
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: E-Book, 432 pages
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Release Date: May 1st, 2015
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
From the limitless imagination of bestselling author Julie Kagawa comes the next fantastic adventure in the Talon Saga.
Deserter. Traitor. Rogue.
Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant.
Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember’s own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.
A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?
Ember’s story continues with this second installment of The Talon Saga and we find her and her allies exactly where we left them – on the run from the dragon organization of Talon. Ember has finally made her choice in leaving her old life behind by becoming a rogue like Riley, or Cobalt, but first there is something she has promised herself to do – rescue the soldier that saved her life. Forming a team of two, Ember and Riley infiltrate a St. George facility to get Garret out before he’s executed for treason. Together, the team, with the help of Riley’s trusted friend and loyal hacker, Wes, are on the run and head to Vegas in search of aid from Riley’s allies. Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, is working alongside Talon to retrieve his sister and bring her back to her old position, no matter the costs.
This book was somewhat better than the first. Let me start off by saying that anything would be an improvement from the whine-fest that was Talon. There was more action and we get to learn more about the two antagonistic organizations and how they operate. We also got more backstory on Cobalt and how the whole rogue thing started, which was cool, if not a little random, given the chapters just pop up with no explanation. Yet, it still couldn’t redeem this series. Rogue is, by no means, a good book. The characters remain insufferable, and the plot is just as ridiculous as it was before.
Ember is definitely up there in my list of characters I’d love to punch in the face. She’s supposed to be a vicious dragon, especially since Talon has been prepping her to be a Viper, and yet she acts like a little girl. Weren’t Vipers supposed to be the deadliest assassins that can come out of the organization? What exactly did they see in Ember that made them think she has the right traits to be a ruthless assassin? Not her wits, surely.
Riley, or Cobalt, remains the same as before. Honestly, before reading this book, I would have said he’s the only one with a grain of sense from this entire cast, but… Sadly, I can’t agree to that anymore. What could have been a great multi-dimensional character is ruined by the need of a love triangle by adding a “connection” between “his dragon” and Ember’s. I’m sorry, Julie Kagawa, but I am not buying what you’re trying to sell. Not only is this love (attraction? whatever it is) not believable in the slightest, but it’s also completely unjustified. It literally comes out of nowhere just to create unnecessary conflict in Ember, maybe to make her look more three-dimensional and ~relatable~, I assume.
Garret was still too sappy for me to actually believe he was once a trained soldier, let alone the Perfect Soldier™, envied by all. At times I honestly thought he’d turn into a pile of goo. Still, at least in this book we saw a little bit more inner conflict than the previous, him starting to finally question whether what he did was right – and was it worth to give up his whole life for a creature he’s been raised to hate and kill. His decision to abandon St. George in the previous book was too easily made and I’m glad this was addressed here, although I still could have gone without all the added melodrama.
Wes was definitely the character I liked most. He was the only one with a brain, as well, it seems. But his constant use of “bloody” was too much for me. We get it, he’s British. We don’t need that fact shoved in our faces every time this character speaks.
I’m not going to talk about the sheer stupidity and lack of logic use in the characters, because I’d only be repeating what I said in my review of Talon. This is a pattern that definitely carries itself into this book as well, and everything I’ve already said still applies. Something else that caught my attention in this book was every character suddenly obtained the tendency to state the most obvious things. I’ve highlighted at least ten occasions in which someone will be doing something and the narrator will literally be like, “That person is doing that thing.” Or “That thing was a thing that things.” Thank you so much for the clarifications, I never would have known.
In conclusion, Rogue is a step above Talon, but a very minor one. Like, say, 2cm above. The saving grace was definitely the actual movement we got. Not plot-wise, because plot movement was almost non-existent. But there was definitely more action and we finally saw some dragons, well, be dragons. And yet, the few scenes we got were not able to make this story better, nor the characters more bearable. And the “plot twist” at the end was so underwhelming that it almost made me go back and rewatch Attack Of The Clones.