Format: E-Galley, 444 pages
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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 dragon slaying 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 is the second of five apparent installments in the Talon series by author Julie Kagawa. The author tells her story via several different narratives; Garret Xavier Sebastian, Ember and Dante Hill, and a flashback to when Riley/Cobalt was a dangerous operative for the organization he now wants to see taken down. As we open the story, while Garret is facing a court martial by the organization that he has served faithfully for years as the Perfect Soldier, Ember makes plans to rescue him with a little help.
Never once had Garret disobeyed a direct order, but that changed when he met Ember, and became guilty of treason for allowing his heart to guide his actions by not killing her when he had the chance. Garret has since learned that almost everything he's been told about dragons was false. Dragons like Ember are not monsters. They just want to be left alone to live their own lives without worrying about being stalked to death. He's fallen for Ember. So much so that he is rightly heart broken that another has taken up so much of her feelings.
Ember, who has since gone Rogue, has been twisted, and shoved in two different directions by her separate halves (Human and Dragon), refuses to allow Garret to pay the ultimate price for saving her life. She lays out a risky plan to rescue him with the help of Riley and Wes. Talon will do anything to get her Ember. I still don't understand the point of Talon's obsession with Ember, but alas, there you are. Ember is still a teenager at heart even though she was trained to become a deadly Viper. She make mistakes. She makes fly by night choices. It's part of what being a teenager is all about. You live, you learn, you grow up, you make your own choices and live with them.
Riley, never one to let Ember decide her own way or make her own decisions, joins the foray into rescuing the man, Garret, who has killed so many of his kind. What I really liked about Rogue is that Kagawa gives Riley a unique opportunity to explain to readers why he is so mad at Talon, and why he would do anything to see them taken down and destroyed. I get his rage. Especially towards Garrett who he can't trust. I get his desire for Ember as well. What I don't get is the obsession Kagawa has for older men, and much, much, younger girls.
Our final character is Dante Hill. Oh, Dante how I loathe you with every single fiber of my very being. You have fallen into the clutches of the evil empire, and they are close to turning you into a Sith Lord who will hunt down his own sister because she's seen the light and truth about Talon. You have grabbed power and really believe that you are doing the right thing. Dante, you need to be enlightened and saved from your own self. It is my fervent hope that you come to your senses before anything bad happens.
I'll just get to my point now. I don't get Kagawa's obsession with young girls and much, much older men. Think about that for a moment. Thank about the Iron Fey series. Who was the protagonist, and who was the person she ended up with? Think about the Blood of Eden series as well. Same. Now, here we have Ember, who is fighting both her human side with Garret her own age, and her dragon side with Riley a much more experience and older dragon. I personally think this is an unnecessary amount of story space that is being taken up by silliness.
There is a fair amount of action, intrigue, suspense, twisted storylines, and a bit of an wanted love triangle romance in Talon. There are action sequences when Ember, Riley, and Wes are rescuing Garret. When Talon is chasing after the group and Ember meets her match. When Ember and Riley are put into a position of fighting against their own people who really want Ember to come back to their organization. There is also heart break, but alas, that item I won't cover or spoil since this is only the second book in the series.
I appreciate authors who summarize previous events. I think Kagawa explains what happened previously well so that you can jump right into this story and move along with her storyline without missing anything. I do recommend, however, that readers new to this series start with Talon before picking up Rogue. Next up is Soldier, releasing in 2016.
**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**