Saturday, 16 May 2015

Review: Rogue

Waiting for a highly anticipated sequel can be difficult, but when the author is as talented as Julie Kagawa and the book in question exceeds your expectations... Well, let's just say the result is worth the wait. Rogue, the second book in the exciting, dramatic Talon series, is even better than its predecessor. Tons more action, character development, and a lot more depth into the world. A great sequel that left me begging for more. Spoilers to follow.

Love the simple but textured look to these covers!

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 wastes no time picking up where it left off– with main character and dragon Ember hauling her new ally, Rogue dragon Riley, to rescue Garret, the dragonslayer who saved her life and is scheduled for execution. Riley, vying for Ember's affections, isn't exactly thrilled about the idea, especially since Ember's twin brother, Dante, is deep in the clutches of the secret dragon society, Talon and determined to bring Ember back to "where she belongs."

Most of the book involves the characters living on the run, but we're offered insight to Riley's past, what drove the rebellious dragon to leave Talon and start his own underground network. While Riley isn't my first choice for Ember, I have to say that I like him as a character. He's intense, clever, and tormented by his feelings for Ember.

Ember herself is as spunky and lively as ever, her heart torn between the Rogue dragon and the dragonslayer she can't stop thinking about. I was pleased with her growth as a character, and mostly understood the complications she was dealing with.

Garret of course, remains my favorite of the leads. His growth is the most interesting as he struggles to begin life outside the Order that schooled him, especially now that he knows that their beliefs were wrong. And that he's fallen in love with one of the enemy.

Of all the main characters, I would say that Dante's perspectives had the most to offer in the way of extending the story of the series as a whole. We got a good insight into the world of Talon, and from the perspectives of other characters, learned how Dante is being manipulated without his knowledge. The ending promised a particular interest to me, and I can't wait to see what he'll do when he finds out the Talon plot.

I mentioned before that this book mostly revolves around the characters running from not one but two secret organizations, and that doesn't seem like a whole lot to keep a story going, but you would be surprised. Kagawa was able to keep my interest the entire time, providing strong character development and action scenes that kept my blood pumping. I was very, very impressed with this book, which is so far my favorite in the series.

If I have one complaint, it's the ending. It's pretty obvious who Ember should be with, and taking him out of the equation so soon felt like unnecessarily added drama. Do I think he'll stay gone? Absolutely not. He's too popular a character, has too much of an arch to fill, and if I've learned anything from reading Julie Kagawa books, it's that she loves to pull at readers heartstrings. This just seemed like a way to keep us sighing and wondering when he'll come back– and how dire the situation will become for those involved.

But that's just a minor complaint from a fangirl. Rogue is tightly written and crafted with skill and love. It was absolutely worth the wait, and I would recommend this and its predecessor to all urban fantasy/YA lovers. It's a fresh take on the dragon genre, filled with excitement and intrigue, and loveable characters. Definitely not to be missed because let's face it– who doesn't love dragons?


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