Friday, July 1, 2016

Audiobook review: Soldier by Julie Kagawa

Title: Soldier (Talon #3)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Narrator: Caitlin Davies, MacLeod Andrews, Chris Patton, Tristan Morris 
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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Reviews for book 1 and book 2

The price of freedom is everything.

When forced to choose between safety with the dragon organization Talon and being hunted forever as an outcast, Ember Hill chose to stand with Riley and his band of rogue dragons rather than become an assassin for Talon. She’s lost any contact with her twin brother, Dante, a Talon devotee, as well as Garret, the former-enemy soldier who challenged her beliefs about her human side.

As Ember and Riley hide and regroup to fight another day, Garret journeys alone to the United Kingdom, birthplace of the ancient and secret Order of St. George, to spy on his former brothers and uncover deadly and shocking secrets that will shake the foundations of dragons and dragonslayers alike and place them all in imminent danger as Talon’s new order rises.

Talon is a series that I never thought I'd get into. I'm not into contemporary fiction and I don't really get the appeal of dragons. But against the odds, I ended up really enjoying the first two books in the series and I obviously had to pick up book three! To be honest, when I first went hunting for this, I thought it was the last book in a trilogy, but... Nope. It's book three in a five book series. I'm not sure why exactly this is five books long, but okay. Luckily, the third was a solid addition to the series!

This book begins with Garret and Ember having gone their separate ways and each missing the other, but knowing they can never be together. Ember is firmly on Team Riley/Cobalt at the moment, but she still battles with the desire to be back with Garret. Still, she knows that "her dragon" would not be happy with that. So... basically, this book is one huge love triangle. I guess that's not a huge change from the other two, now that I think about it, but sometimes you can forgive the romance when the story is super interesting and here it mostly is!

I did enjoy that, like Talon did for Ember and Rogue did for Cobalt, Soldier gave a lot of insight into Garret's history. We learn about his childhood, his upbringing in the Order, how he was singled out among his classmates, and how he came to be the perfect soldier. I liked having more of a clear understanding of his motivations and his relationships, especially with Tristan, who I hope to see more of in book four.

After enjoying Cobalt so much in the last book, I really expected to be more firmly on his team during Soldier, but I found myself disliking him more as the book went on. He was extremely possessive of Ember and went overboard at times trying to stake his claim. I didn't like how he told her that she was his because it didn't seem romantic, in my opinion. It seemed aggressive. I know you might say that's because it was "his dragon," but I'm not buying that the "human" and "dragon" sides are two separate things. I was glad that Garret didn't act ridiculous also and am surprised to find myself on Team Garret at this point.

Speaking of dragons/humans, one of the things that has really started to annoy me about this series is the way each character has 380174910 names. For example, Ember is also Firebrand, Riley is also Cobalt and The Rogue, and Garret is also Sebastian and The Soldier. I understand the author's need not to be repetitive, but come on. I know by book three that Riley is a rogue and Garret is a soldier. Just stick to their actual names, please! But I digress...

Even with the heavy handed romance, this installment is pretty much non-stop action. Although the book begins with Garret on a different continent, it doesn't take very long for them to find their paths crossing again in an attempt to save both dragons and humans from the corrupt plans of both organizations. I was riveted by each piece of the plot that was uncovered by Ember and Co. and couldn't wait to see what happened next! This book definitely held my attention and never really lagged.

Something I really enjoyed was getting to know about the Eastern Dragons and learning the ins and outs of a completely new species. I did think it was interesting that they had never been mentioned before though. Jade was a fun new addition who I'm hoping plays a role in future books as well.

Soldier did have it's problems, but they were mostly more of the same problems that I've had with the last two books as well. I wish that the back and forth of the love triangle would hurry up and die in a fire and I would really like for Cobalt to back off of Ember and stop acting like a caveman. The action was great and I liked learning new things about the world, though. I definitely do plan to continue the series when book number four is released!