by Julie Kagawa (Goodreads Author)
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.
Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.
“My twin chuckled. “I wouldn’t go that far,” he murmured, gently tugging a strand of my short red hair. “Remember, we’re here to blend in, to study the humans and assimilate into the community. This is just another phase of training. Don’t forget, at the end of the summer, we start our sophomore year of high school. But more Important, our real instructors will show up, and they’ll decide where we fit into the organization. This is a brief respite, at most, so enjoy it while you can.”
I made a face at him. “I intend to.”
And I did. He had no idea how much. I was tired of rules and isolation, of watching the world go by without me. I was tired of Talon and their endless string of Policies, laws and restrictions. No more of that. The summer was mine and I had big Plans, things I wanted to do, before it ended and we’d be forced back into the system. This summer, I was going to live.”
—-Talon by Julie Kagawa
“I turned in my seat, scanning the parking lot, but I didn’t see anything unusual. A pair of girls walking back to their Camaro, drinks in hand. A Family with two tiddlers heading to the door. None of them were staring at me. But that tingle rippling across my neck hadn’t gone away.
And then, a dragon pulled up on a motorcycle.
Not in its real form, obviously. The art of Shifting–changing into human form–was so widespread it was common dragon knowledge now. All our kind knew how to do it. And those that couldn’t were either taught very quickly, or they were hunted down by the Order of St. George, the terrible cult of dragonslayers whose only purpose was our destruction. Shifting into human form was our best defense against genocidal dragon killers and a world of unsuspecting mortals; one did not just wander about in full reptile form unless one had a death wish. So, the dragon who cruised casually to the edge of the lot appeared human, and a fine specimen of humanity, too. He was slightly older than us, lean and tall, with a tousled mess of black hair and a leather jacket over his broad shoulders. He didn’t kill the engine, but sat there staring at me, a smirk stretching his full lips, and even in human form, there was an air of danger about him, in his eyes that were so light a brown they were almost gold. My blood heated at the sight of him, and a flush rose to my skin–instant reactions to another of our kind, and a stranger at that.”
—–Talon by Julie Kagawa
“Clicking the send button, I closed the laptop and leaned back in the chair, thinking of the encounter this afternoon. My mind kept drifting back to the red-haired girl, Ember. The other two girls I’d nearly forgotten, though I knew I shouldn’t write them off so quickly. But Ember was the one that mattered. When She’d first looked at me on the beach, my entire body had seized up for a moment, something I’d never experienced before. I couldn’t catch my breath; I couldn’t do anything except stare at her. And for a split second, I’d wondered if she knew who I was, why I was there.
Fortunately, Tristan had appeared, and the fight with the college students had cleared my head, though I was still fairly annoyed with myself for losing focus. I was a soldier. What had happened between me and the girl, whatever that was…it was a fluke, something that wouldn’t happen again. I knew my mission. I was here to find and kill a dragon. Nothing else mattered.
I had to stay focused. I would not let myself be distracted by thoughts of a red-haired girl with bright green eyes, even though she’d surprised me today and made me laugh. Even though I admired her fierceness in standing up for herself and her friend.
Even though, hours later, I could not seem to get her out of my head.”
—-Talon by Julie Kagawa