Blogmas Book Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

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GoodReads Summary:
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?
Rogue (Talon, #2)Review:
I just am having a really hard time WANTING to read these books. I remember loving them when I first read them. But I’m just over it. Antonia said that they get really good in this book and the next one. While I didn’t hate Ember in this one as much as I did in the last one, I still didn’t love her for most of the book.
Ember is now a rogue dragon. But instead of helping Riley figure out who the mole in his system is or literally doing anything useful, she is determined to rescue Garret, who is going to die because he spared her life. I get that she loves him, and in any real situation I probably would do the same thing, but I just hate him. Aside from that, Ember does and experiences things that really affect her. It was nice to see her trying to work through these issues rather than just glossing over it like too many stories do.
I love Riley. He is the end game I want and if I don’t get it I’m going to be very upset with Julie. We get bits and pieces of his backstory and the events that led to him going rogue and I really enjoyed that. I just love Riley.
Garret is okay, I guess. I mostly just want him to go away. I don’t hate him only because he does anything in his abilities to protect Ember. I just wish Ember had never gotten involved with him.
Overall, Ember did grow and become less annoying in the second half of Rogue. I’m interested to see what the gang does next. I am going to do my best to finish this series, but if I’m not enjoying the next book I might just have to give up on it. There’s no shame in DNF’ing friends.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Talon by Julie Kagawa

GoodReads Summary:
To take her rightful place in the Talon organization, young dragon Ember Hill must prove she can hide her true nature and blend in with humans. Her delight at the prospect of a summer of “normal” teen experiences is short-lived, however, once she discovers that she’s also expected to train for her destined career in Talon. But a chance meeting with a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught.
As Ember struggles to accept her future, St. George soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian is tasked with hunting her down. But when faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything the Order has ingrained in him—and what he might be willing to give up to uncover the truth about dragons.
Talon (Talon, #1)Review:
This is my third time reading Talon by Julie Kagawa. This was clear to me because I ended up skimming the first fifty or so pages. I just felt like I’ve read the start of this story so many times. I think because of that, I was a bit ‘meh’ toward the rest of the story. Also, already knowing parts of what will happen in the future had me rolling my eyes at certain events. I think I’ll end up liking the next books in the series more because I don’t remember them as well as I do for the first book.
Ember had me rolling my eyes left and right. The fact that she was suspicious of Garret being St. George but repeatedly ignored the signs and convinced herself that he couldn’t be was so dumb. Like, WHAT TEENAGE BOY HAS NEVER BEEN TO AN ARCADE EMBER??? This really drove me crazy. He said and did so many suspicious things and she just brushed it off like an idiot. But other than that. I liked her. She wasn’t willing to just do what she was told, even when he brother tells her she needs to fall in line, she doesn’t let her love for him push away the doubts she’s having. I liked that.
Garret was interesting because it wasn’t as obvious that Ember was the Dragon he’s been sent there to find. But then he falls in love, and when he realizes that she is a Dragon, his whole world is changed. I think he was interesting and complex, fighting what he’s been taught with what he has seen for himself.
Then there’s Riley. He’s my favorite. He’s just a dude trying to help little dragon babes escape Talon. He’s completely my first choice for Ember. I wish I could just get rid of the love triangle and have Ember be with Riley.
Overall, this was a pretty average book. Maybe if I didn’t remember parts of this story so well I’d feel differently. But Ember was a little annoying when it came to Garret and don’t even get me started on her brother Dante.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – Hidden Gems books that haven’t been talked about as much or haven’t been marketed as strongly that I think deserve some recognition.
ttt1. Flamecaster (The Shattered Realms series) by Cinda Williams Chima – I love this series and this author. I just feel like I don’t really see her books advertised anywhere. I don’t see other bloggers talking about her books like I do. I definitely think she should be a more widely read author with the incredible worlds shes built full of diverse and loveable characters.
2. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – This one I feel is always overlooked in favor of Vampire Academy. Because they’re part of the same world everyone turns to VA instead of talking about these books.
3. A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest – I found this series on my Kindle but it’s definitely one that I think more readers should try. The reviews vary but I think Forrest has built quite the reading adventure with this 50+ book series.
4. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum – Buxbaum’s debut novel was so excellent. I thought I would hear more about it from my fellow bloggers. It makes me sad that I don’t hear more about it.
5. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files) by Sylvain Neuvel – I listened to this audiobook at the recommendation of a BookTuber (Thoughts on Tomes) but aside from the brief mention as one of her top audiobooks I haven’t hear others talk about this series. This is a mistake because Sleeping Giants was insane and amazing.
6. Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World) by P.C. Cast – I found this series outside of the blogging world. I haven’t heard a single blogger talk or write about this book/series. It’s a shame because they’re super interesting books with unique storylines and great character development. I can’t wait for the third to be released later this year.
7. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher – An older book, but still great. Creative and full of mystery. I don’t know why more people don’t talk about this story.
8. Talon by Julie Kagawa – While I see that her other series, The Iron Fey, get attention I never see bloggers reading this series.
9. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – See above comment.
10. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Deborah Biancotti, and Margo Lanagan – With the superhero obsession that’s been going on the last few years I’m unsure how this series hasn’t made a bigger splash in the reading world.

What books do you love that you think deserve more attention?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

I Heart Characters!

I Heart Characters! is a weekly meme hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer to showcase our book blogger love for characters! Each week she’ll supply a topic and you’ll supply the character. Post on whatever day suits you, about characters from whatever media you love (books, movies, K-dramas, television, manga, anime, webtoons, whatever!) and link up on Thursday so you and others can blog hop and share the character love.

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This weeks topic is A Biker (Literally any character who rides a bike, a motorcycle or a scooter…)

Amanda

Del Bellator is a Firesoul. This means that she inherited part of a dragon’s soul. Because of this, she has the ability to steal the powers of others (but also killing them). She also inherited the covetousness of the dragons as well. One of the things that she covets is her motorcycle. She’s a kick-ass girl who is part phantom as well as firesoul. This means that she can basically be a ghost at will. Del is the star of the Dragon’s Gift: The Seeker series by Linsey Hall. I’d advise reading the first series before this one that follows Del’s sister. I just love everything about Del. She’s strong-willed and feisty. She’s loyal and fierce. She’s an excellent female lead that may or may not have a little too much affection for her motorcycle.

Antonia

Riley from The Talon series by Julie Kagawa. He’s the dreamy, gorgeous, rogue dragon that convinces Ember to abandon everything she’s known to follow him. Even though my feelings about their relationship changed by the end of the series, I will always love Riley. He’s an amazing character.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Series I’ve Given up on

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten series I gave up on or do not plan to finish. This is going to be a bit of a challenge for me because I rarely give up on books. So let’s see what I can come up with this week. Okay, so after coming up with an insufficient list I’ve decided I’m going to do a few series that I will definitely be finishing, but haven’t managed to get around to it yet.

ttt 1. House of Night by P.C and Kristen Cast – This series just had so many books. It got to the point where it was hard to keep up with the story and when new books came out. So I just stopped trying to stay on top of it. Now they’re coming out with books again and I just don’t think I’ll ever get around to rereading them all.
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I read the first four books in this series. I borrowed them from Antonia’s mom. But I ended up losing the fourth book and by the time I bought a new copy she had caught up to me and needed the books back for her to read them. I may eventually pick this series up again, but I have no real burning desire to do so anytime soon.
3. The Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn – These books were another series that I had a hard time keeping up with. There are so many books and I just lost track of which ones I’ve read and still need to read. I may pick them up again because I did really like the books, but it’s not high on my priority list.
4. The Women’s Murder Club by James Patterson – Once again, too many books coming out to keep track of. I will eventually read these again because they’re easy mystery reads but it won’t be anytime soon.
5. The Princess series by Alexa Riley – I just was not impressed by these books. I think I only read the first and part of the second before giving up.
6. The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard – The final book in the series came out recently and I’d like to reread the whole series. When am I going to do that? Eventually, my TBR list seems to just keep growing instead of getting smaller.
7. The Talon series by Julie Kagawa – Again, the final book in this series was finally released and I’m planning to reread the entire series, eventually.
8. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld – A few weeks ago, I learned that the third book, Nexus, was released sometime last year and I didn’t even realize. So I need to buy this and get around to finishing the series.
9. Millennium series by Stieg Larsson / David Lagercrantz – Literally just now while looking for books to add to this post learned that another book has been released in this series. I will read it, but when I get around to it and who knows when that will be.
10. Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter – I finished the main series of these books; I actually own all of them. But there’s a few spin-off series with other characters that I haven’t managed to get around to reading yet, but I definitely plan to.

This is my top ten for this week! What series have you given up on?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Summary: TODAY, WE STRIKE BACK.

WE SHOW TALON THAT WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR NEW WORLD.

Ember Hill has learned a shocking truth about herself: she is the blood of the Elder Wyrm, the ancient dragon who leads Talon and who is on the verge of world domination. With the Order of St. George destroyed, Ember, Riley and Garret journey to the Amazon jungle in search of one who might hold the key to take down the Elder Wyrm and Talon—if they can survive the encounter.

Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, will travel to China with a message for the last Eastern dragons: join Talon or die. With the stakes rising and the Elder Wyrm declaring war, time is running out for the rogues and any dragon not allied with Talon. 

The final battle approaches. And if Talon is victorious, the world will burn.

Review:

DISCLAIMER: Since this is the last book in the series, there may be spoilers from previous books in this series. If you haven’t read books 1-4, you may not want to continue reading.

I. Love. This. Series.
Inferno is the fifth and final book in the Talon series and I’m happy to say I was very pleased with this last installment. That’s not to say it was perfect, but I wasn’t really disappointed by anything.
Ember continued to grow into herself right up until the end; from the impulsive, immature child to the daring rogue ready to take on everyone and finally, to the young woman at the end who I’d love to be friends with. Good character development is one of my favorite things so the fact that Ember went from someone who really annoyed me to a character I can actually admire made me extremely happy.
This was somewhat true for Riley and Garret as well. They didn’t have as much growth as Ember did but as I slowly got to know them better throughout the series, I liked them more and more.
The only character I actively dislike is Dante. There are a lot of bad guys in the series that I can appreciate as villians but Dante wasn’t one of them. He really just annoyed me for most of the series until I ended up hating him at the end. I think mainly it’s because his actions in this book felt off to me; the Dante I’d been reading about wouldn’t act like this. It might just be me but I definitely found the end of his story arc frustrating.
I really enjoyed most other aspects of this book. As with most series conclusions, there was a lot happening but it didn’t feel like I was being overloaded with information or like everything was happening too fast. One of my favorite bits was that Riley finally got a chance to go after the Talon facility that houses their breeder females. (It’s basically a lab where female dragons who aren’t considered important enough for anything else are kept as broodmares. It’s despicable but I can’t get started ranting about it or I’ll never stop.) This has been Riley’s white whale for at least a few decades. He’s been searching and searching for it in order to free the dragonells but was never able to find it until now. I really loved seeing what this meant for his character.
I also really liked getting to finally see the Elder Wyrm in dragon form. It. Was. Amazing.
Overall I really loved this book. It made an excellent conclusion to a wonderful series. It fits more into the YA and fantasy genres but I believe it can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone. Let me know what you think in the comments and thanks so much for visiting our blog.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Legion by Julie Kagawa

Summary: The legions are about to be unleashed, and no human, rogue dragon or former dragon slayer can stand against the coming horde.

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all–dragons do not suffer human emotions–let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante–the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.

Review: So this one’s probably going to be a little short because I just want to read the last book.
Like the last book (see my review here), Legion had a lot more forward momentum than the beginning of the series. Tons of action and it really felt like the story’s progressing quickly and in the right direction. One of the things I loved about this book was the protagonists finally starting to convince members of Talon and St. George to question the beliefs each organization has instilled in them. Don’t get me wrong, everyone didn’t suddenly decide to get along but a few have made an attempt to see other points of view and it makes me hopeful for where the series will go from here.
Ember once again had some really great character development. I mentioned in my review of the first book (read it here) that Ember’s human side and her dragon side were kind of at odds and it’s continued that way since. In this book, Ember finally realizes that while they are different aspects of her personality they’re still the same. They’re both Ember and it’s okay that they’re different, she can still be both. Her realizing this also led to a big decision in her love life so the love triangle is officially over!
I won’t tell you who she picked. It wasn’t who I initially wanted her to end up with but I ended up being really happy with the way it turned out anyway.
I’m not going to talk too much about the men in the story since my thoughts on them haven’t really changed since the last book. I keep liking Garret more and more. He’s also had some really great character development and he has flaws but is mostly just a really kind person.
I still love pretty much everything about Riley and Dante still drives me nuts. I think the only difference in my feelings for Dante was that I’ve lost hope for his redemption. I always figured Ember might find a way to make him see Talon for what it really is but at this point I think he’s too far gone to see reason.
Overall I loved this book and I can’t wait to see how the series ends. I’d recommend this series to pretty much anyone, but it’s definitely targeted more towards YA and fantasy. Let me know what you think in the comments and as always, thanks for reading.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!