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4 star, YA

Review: Soldier by Julie Kagawa

Series: Talon Saga #3

soldier -julie kagawaThe 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.

4 Drink Me Potions

Soldier is everything its namesake calls for: action-packed, thrilling, sometimes ridiculously dangerous for our favourite band of rogues, but most importantly, features the past of one dear Garret Xavier Sebastian.

While the previous books focused heavily on dragons and rogue history, this one gave insight into how the Order of St. George – aka the dragonslayers – was run and more into Garret’s history with them. I normally think middle books are rather boring but Julie Kagawa has never really failed me yet when it comes to writing any exciting novel.

Betrayals, spontaneous escape plans and crazy quests for information to save the world continued to litter the pages of this book. And it wasn’t just in one location this time. While Riley and Ember were moving across the US, Garret’s off digging for information in the UK, headquarters of the Order. Globetrotting aside, let me just add that there were some Eastern influences here that made this story more diverse, although I kind of wish more could be expanded in that direction. I’m sorry for being vague but I don’t wanna be giving away too many tidbits!

But the true highlight of the plot was uncovering the juiciest bit of news: Talon may have some connections with St. George in the most unexpected place. To bring it to light and try to save the rogues (and the Order, of course)? Someone – ahem, namely a certain soldier ’cause who else is gonna do it – is going to have to risk everything to bring that info to the right people.

On the other end of the spectrum, romantic tensions are still ongoing. Ember and Riley’s dragon connection is finally given a name and definition. Does that bother me? Not at all. It’s becoming clearer to me that Garret is endgame, but I love Riley dearly and hope however it falls, he’s still got two good friends. Sorry Team Riley, but I think this may be less of a love triangle than you hope.

And as always, Kagawa ends off with an explosive finale that, compared to the other 2 books, spiraled into something that needs to be answered now! I certainly look forward to whatever may come next and hope my racing heart will be prepared for it.

Overall Recommendation:

As heart racing and spellbinding as the previous books in the series, Soldier definitely does not suffer from middle book syndrome. Diving into the heart of the Order of St. George, secrets come to light and lives are at risk as the band of rogues continue to fight for their freedom. With romance aplenty between Ember and the soldier or the rogue, this book ends on a bang that will leave you wanting to find out what happens next! I totally recommend you continue the series as it just never seems to disappoint!

book tag

The ABC Book Challenge ~ F

The ABC book challenge features a fun weekly post dedicated to interesting books that have been read or would hopefully be read starting with a specific letter of the alphabet.

While I do not know the original creator for this, I have seen this posted by Sofii (A Book. A Thought) and Tiana (The Book Raven ). Check out their sites ’cause they are amazing!

And this week, we’re onto the letter “F”!

Memorable titles starting with “F”

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine: I grew up reading Gail’s books and I absolutely loved this rendition of Snow White! It’s set in the familiar world of Ella Enchanted (which was also a memorable title during week E!), so it’s just as imaginative but you can easily still see the original fairy tale plot points in it. Even after all these years, I still recommend this book (and reread it a number of times too)!

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West: One of my first books by Kasie, I’m also down for a wonderful fake boyfriend trope where the two end up falling for each other for real. She does it well, keeping it sweet and realistic. My favourite combination for a feel-good contemporary!

Free to Fall by Lauren Miller: The first words that come to mind with this book is always this: thought provoking. Set in a “futuristic” world that you can totally see happening in our very present day and age, what happens when we use an app to decide our every decision? Do we then one day lose our own ability to choose for ourselves? It’s these kinds of things that kept me flipping right through the entire novel in a short sitting!

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking: Set in a familiar world created by Amanda, this first book in a companion trilogy features a bunch of new characters (and short cameos of old ones!) in another exciting adventure with changelings and trolls! This book hooked me in from the start, especially the little bits of forbidden romance between the protagonist and her slightly older boss.

Titles I want to read starting with “F”

Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West: I started the ARC and I’m hoping this one won’t fail me as it’s the companion novel to my favourite Kasie West book to date. I’m not feeling the romance yet but I hope it’ll help propel me through the rest of it soon!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I know, I’m really late to the party on this one but I’ve had it on my TBR for a long while. I’m just hoping the hype doesn’t elevate my expectations too high.

Finale by Stephanie Garber: The conclusion to the Caraval trilogy, I’m like bursting at the seams in excitement to read this when it comes out. I adored the world and the Caraval game that was introduced in book 1, so I really hope everything turns out well. Only reading it will tell!

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott: I’ve seen this book around as a staff pick at my bookstore, so that automatically piques my interest. And then I hear there’s a movie coming out next spring starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson and I’m completely ready to read this hospital romance (which is normally not my kind of novel).

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: I’ve actually put this down once before, but it’s marketed as the YA version of the TV show Scandal. I’m not sure how accurate that is but I’m thinking of giving it a second go just ’cause I really like Jennifer Barnes.

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig: There’s not much about this book that I know about aside from possible dragons and Asian cultural influences mixed into the plot. Either way, that’s enough to get me excited so I suppose we’ll see if that proves to be true!

Have you read any of these “F” letter books that I want to read? If yes, what was your opinion on them? And were you just as excited about some of the books I loved?

wrap up, YA

November Wrap-Up and TBR

It’s that time of the month again! I’m finally doing another wrap-up post after so many months. I know, it’s been absolutely crazy with the day to day life stuff but I’m thankful for all of you and the blogging community so I’m trying to get back into it!

This month’s been getting busier for me what with work and finding another job, but I managed to get through a few books. So let’s dig into November’s snapshot!

What have I read this month?

Favourite book: Soldier by Julie Kagawa

While the review will be up shortly on this blog, I can’t help but gush about the 3rd installment of the Talon series. I’ve been devouring them like chocolate and it just keeps getting better! I think I’m partial to this one ’cause a certain dragonslayer has more interesting POVs!

Most surprising: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Okay, I know I haven’t put up this review yet either but it’s coming! I loved the world building in this book and the different spin on parallel worlds mixed with magic. Absolutely intriguing, and I dunno why I’m so surprised that it’s all so interesting since this series has been highly hyped! But I can totally see why now.

New author book: Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

I saw this book on a nomination list for an award that I follow and thought the synopsis of cosplaying very interesting. Not everyday you see this in YA. I’ve never read Whitney Gardner but after seeing this book, I think I’m gonna check out more of her stuff!

Not-so-favourite book: Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

The sequel to a book I enjoyed, I thought I would equally like it but I guess something just didn’t click with me as much this time around. Maybe a certain other author featuring a similar context of Japanese mythology got me overhyped for this one…

Current reading list

I’ve been doing pretty well with balancing out the books I want to read and what I actually do read and finish. So here’s the shorter than normal list of books I’m juggling!

  • Legion by Julie Kagawa
  • Inferno by Julie Kagawa
  • Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West

My TBR List

I’m trying to control my TBR to a more manageable amount that actually seems doable without sinking into despair of never quite finishing all that I want to read. Some of these books have been on my TBR from the last time I did a wrap up but you know, I’ll eventually get to it, right?

  • The Reader by Traci Chee
  • These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
  • Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
  • Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

Did you share any of my top priority TBR? Or opinions of the books I’ve read this month? I’d love to hear your comments below!