Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Aus
Date published: May 1st 2015
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley.
Warning: This will contain some spoilers for Talon, so if you haven't read that yet, go and buy it and come back after you have!
You can read a chapter sampler of Rogue here.
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?
Dragons have developed the ability to hide in human form, it's pretty much the only magic left to them, and they use this ability to live and work among us under the direction of Talon. Talon is the organisation that all dragons are born into, and they are expected to follow Talon's rules throughout their lives. They are assigned to roles that best suit their abilities, and the organisation's needs.
The Order of St George are committed to wiping dragons from the earth. They believe them to be soulless, evil creatures who want to enslave humankind.
So when a dragon hatchling and St George soldier find themselves attracted to one another, you know it's not going to go well.
In Talon we met Ember and Dante Hill, dragon hatchlings learning to assimilate with humans. Garrett, seen by his St George comrades as the perfect soldier, is sent undercover to find and eliminate the dragon sleeper cell. Riley (dragon name Cobalt) is a rogue dragon who tries to break hatchlings free from Talon before they're fully indoctrinated. A confrontation is the inevitable conclusion and Rogue picks up where Talon leaves off.
Ember has joined Riley and gone rogue, Dante has remained loyal to Talon. Garret was captured by St George and will be tried as a traitor to the order.
Despite her confusion over her feelings for Garret and his role as a soldier, Ember enlists Riley's help in rescuing him from St George. Along with Wes, Riley's human helper, the 3 head to Las Vegas to find out how St George seem to know exactly where Riley's safe houses are. It's an uneasy alliance, and only their mutual hatred of Talon will keep them together. Dante hasn't given up on bringing his sister back into the fold, and some interesting new characters are introduced in his efforts to convince her.
I know people often have problems with love triangles, but what makes this one work is that Ember is warring with the two sides of her nature. She is a dragon, and her dragon responds to Cobalt, Riley's dragon, on a primal level. But she is also human and has human emotions, and Garret calls to these. This tension makes this much more interesting than just another girl who can't make up her mind.
I really enjoyed the chapters detailing Riley's past as a Talon operative and the events that led him to set up the underground network.
Kagawa doesn't shy away from violence, and the fight scenes, and injuries sustained, don't skimp on details.
As always, Julie Kagawa is a master at ripping your heart out and stomping on it, and leaving you gagging for the next instalment. The ending of Rogue is no exception, and I can't wait to read Soldier.