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Book Reviews

Review: “Rogue,” Julie Kagawa

September 19, 2015
Review: “Rogue,” Julie KagawaRogue (Talon #2)
Written by Julie Kagawa
Published April, 2015 by Harlequin Teen
444 pages
Genres: Dragons, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / Shifters
Purchase: The Book DepositoryBookworldBooktopia
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three-stars

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 was a steady continuation of Talon, but if you were hoping for some advancement on the plot or characters, I’m afraid if you’re of my opinion, you won’t find it here. I was fully prepared to love this one, as I LOVED the finale of Talon, but it just didn’t happen. A promising start of Rogue only led to a really weighty middle that I became bored with quickly.

 “A flame that burns twice as bright lasts half as long.”
– Riley

I had a really difficult time rating Talon, the first book in the series, and I realise that once again I’m in that position. While I did enjoy Rogue, I felt as if things became stale quickly and not much was happening in the way of plot or character development. For a 400-something page book, this can become quite tedious.

Ember Hill, our dragonell protagonist, didn’t do much in the way of ‘growing up’ in Rogue. I thought after the events of Talon, Ember might have become more aware of the world (and threats) around her, and not make the same stupid and rash decisions she had been making on Crescent Beach. Boy, I was wrong. Ember knowingly walks into bad situations time and time again. If someone tells her to stay put for her own good (and really, it IS her own good) she agrees, sighing that she’s not a child and doesn’t need to be told not to touch the shiny things. A minute later, what does she do? Touches all the shiny things.

I had a really hard time sympathising with Ember this time around, or even FATHOMING why both Riley and Garrett had it so bad for her. What exactly does Ember offer that another kick-ass Talon or rogue dragon doesn’t offer? Sure, she’s brave and has a fiery temperament, but so do a lot of the other girls we’ve met. I kind of understand why Garrett is so mesmerised by her, but Riley?

Rogue was a steady continuation of Talon, but if you were hoping for some advancement on the plot or characters, I’m afraid if you’re of my opinion, you won’t find it here. I was fully prepared to love this one, as I LOVED the finale of Talon, but it just didn’t happen. A promising start of Rogue only led to a really weighty middle that I became bored with quickly.

 “I swallowed, feeling something inside me respond, a rush of warmth spreading through my veins. My own dragon, calling to Riley’s, like he was her other half.”
– Ember

Let’s talk about Riley or ‘Cobalt’. I was liking the way things were unfolding with he and Ember by the end of Talon in the way of friendship. He seemed to be making her a little wiser to the ways of being a kick-ass dragon, and they made a great team. In Rogue, however, he seems hell bent on throwing twelve years of caution and careful planning escaping Talon to the wind when it comes to Ember

We get some flashbacks from Riley’s point of view, which was quite interesting, but unnecessary to the plot. Everything that we witnessed through Riley’s eyes had previously been explained in Talon through the discussions he’d had with Ember. I was hoping that maybe the POV chapters would help me ‘love’ Riley, but instead they did nothing for me. Unfortunately I still don’t care all that much about him outside of ass-kicking.

 “I am in love with a dragon.
Let the Order condemn me, I mused, perhaps my first truly rebellious thought in a lifetime. Let them call me a traitor and hunt me down. For thirteen years, I had followed commands, livid by the rigid code of St. George, become their perfect soldier, only to discover the Order I’d dedicated my life to was wrong. Everything I thought I’d knew was a lie. The only real thing was the girl in my arms.”
– Garrett

As for Garrett? I wish the boy would stop reminding us that he’s a ‘St. George soldier who shouldn’t feel anything for a dragon’. He’s been trained since childhood… yada yada. WE GET IT, OKAY? Can we move on? I felt that each chapter of Garrett’s was repeating this sentiment again and again. He can’t move past it, despite believing he’s no longer the soldier he was in Talon. No matter where I looked with the three main characters, there was simply no development.

I simply didn’t like them any more than I did in Talon, which disappointed me.

And as for the romance? Well, nothing really happens there either. Despite the fact that Rogue blew up the whole Ember/Garrett/Riley love triangle into basically a ‘choose me, no choose me’ situation, there was no romancing whatsoever. Yeah there were a few lingering ‘searing’ touches, but not much in the way of advancement for Team Garrett or Team Riley. There was one or two kisses between Garrett and Ember, but they seemed more of a familiarity thing than something born of raging passion. The relationship they shared in Crescent Beach has transformed into something like a security blanket slash friendship. It’s weird.

Plot-wise, a lot of things happened, but I felt we got no closer to unmasking Talon or St. George. The first quarter of the book was quite exhilarating with Ember, Riley and Wes teaming up to break Garrett free of the compound, though. I was thinking – yes, this is the book I want! – but once that task was done, it was mainly the trio plus Wes driving around the desert and hiding out in Las Vegas while Riley went and took care of ‘things’.

 “Oh you know, a little burned, a little sore. Nearly died a couple times. The usual.”
– Ember

We met some interesting new characters – Ava and Faith – and I enjoyed learning about their dragons and their positions in the world, but it wasn’t enough for my interest to remain piqued. I kept putting the book down and looking at how much more of it I had to read. There’s also a few POV chapters from Dante, but they weren’t that thrilling for me. Although I enjoyed seeing a bit more of the inner-workings of Talon, I didn’t find myself caring much at all about any of the characters by that point.

As for the epilogue, I don’t at all see where Julie Kagawa is going with this. I had a mad idea about Ember and Dante and their origins (which hasn’t come to fruition… yet) but what was revealed in the epilogue was just totally… new?

I’m not sure if I’ll be picking up Soldier or not yet. I feel as if I’ve invested a lot of time into Talon and Rogue, and that I should see where it takes me, but as neither of the books have ‘wow’ed’ me yet with the awesomeness that is Julie Kagawa, maybe I should just stop and focus on catching up with the series of hers that I love, The Iron Fey.

Recommended to: If you liked Talon, you will like Rogue. Although it doesn’t particularly advance much on what’s been established, it does offer more of the same characters.

About Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.

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