Thursday, 30 April 2015

Rogue



Rogue
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher
Check out my review of Talon....here!

Days after the events of Talon, Ember is free from the organisation and is on the run with Riley and Wes, however, Ember is determined to go after Garrett the boy who turned out to be an enemy soldier of St.George, and who she just can't forget. Lucky for him really, seeing as he's just been sentenced as a traitor to the Order who raised him, and is due to be executed. Ember manages to convince Riley to free Garrett, and once Garrett's all rescued...well....they don't just have Talon after them. The Order don't like it when the enemy come in to their territory and steal from them, so they're even more determined to track down the gang and they're hot in their tails.

Ember and co flee to Vegas and one of Riley's safe houses, officially on the run from pretty much everyone. While in Vegas, Riley is determined to find answers as to why his safe houses are vanishing. It would appear they have a leak in the network. But before Riley can seriously start to question it, two hatchlings in need show up. Meanwhile, Ember's brother Dante is the one leading the hunt for her, while Ember is still determined to save him from the clutches of Talon.

Not everyone is who they seem and Talon and St. George are swarming Vegas to hunt for them. The gang are beginning to realize there might be more to the battle of the two factions than they originally thought. Secrets are everywhere, and some of them are about to come out in to the light, and change everything they thought they knew.

"That's okay. If we are attacked by zombies I don't have to run fast. I just have to run faster than you."

I LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH OKAY! Seriously, I love all of Kagawa's books and I'm yet to be disappointed by one, and this one is very close to becoming my new favourite Kagawa series. This is just as awesome as the first book, it's the kind of sequel that is perfect. Rogue is the perfect continuation of Talon, we pick up where we left off, the stakes get higher, more comes out in to the open, making the series even more intriguing, and it's just literally the perfect sequel. It's equal to, if not superior to the first book and I just need the third book now okay!?

The uniqueness and originality from the first book seeps in to this one as well as we learn more about Talon, and more about the characters and more about what's going down with the over arcing storyline. Which is clearly going to be badass and in the third book I have a feeling the shit is going to hit the fan. I'm still in love with the concept, dragons in a fight with St. George and all of that. It's just awesome, and the whole dragon fire thing, I can't remember if we learned about that in the first book, but it was another unique touch.

Like with Talon, I was drawn in from the beginning and I read this one in one sitting because I knew I would't be able to put it down, especially towards the end, it reached a point when I just knew there was no way I would be able to put it down and walk away, and so I was doubly glad that I'd specifically made time to read it in one go! The pace was fast, the action constant, with points where you where on the edge of your seat and holding your breath. The plot twists and turns where shocking and most of them where a total surprise. I mean I had Mist pegged from the beginning but Faith, she totally had me going.

The world was engaging, and vivid and totally engrossing, it's a huge part of what sucks you in, as well as characters and the plot and so on. The atmosphere of each setting leaks off the page, while the world building throws you straight in, so you feel like you're actually there with the characters. I could picture Vegas so clearly, and it was a different angle and side to Vegas than the side portrayed everywhere, especially with the little twist about who runs Vegas.

We already gained an understanding of the politics of both sides in the first book, this side expands on that. You get an understanding of St. George's politics thanks to Garrett, and how they treat traitors. It's very military, but then we already knew that, this however, drives it home. They're military, they think they're in the right, that they're protecting the people and so on. You understand that, but you don't entirely agree with it because you love Garrett as a character and they want to kill him, and then you love Ember and Riley and they want to kill them.

"I don't feel like playing whack-a-mole with a trained sniper right now."

We also got to know the rich mythology and background to Talon, well in this instalment we learned loads more about Talon and how they work and what they may or may not be up to. You realise there's more going on, there's the whole question of why they care so much about getting Ember back rather than just having her killed like they usually do, and why they want Riley's hatchlings. Thanks to Dante's point of view, you really get to know Talon and the higher ups a little bit better, as well as what they're willing to do, and you really understand that Dante actually doesn't know what they're willing to do. I feel like in Talon we got all about St. George and this time round we got all about Talon and what they're like.

Kagawa is an expert at writing colourful and rich characters with plenty of depth, and in this book we get to know more about our new favourite characters, as well as meeting some new ones that we'll most likely see again in the next book. Mist, she was a total bitch, but she did have me going at one point and I already mentioned Faith, she had me going multiple times, by the time Faith's reveal came I didn't even know what to believe anymore.

We get to know more about Dante thanks to his POV, seeing as he gets a couple of chapters, which are nice and ominous. Dante is a hard character because I kind of want to hate him, because he's doing all this to his sister and so on, but at the same time, reading from his POV, you can see he's just trying to protect Ember, as well as himself, and he really thinks he's right and Riley's corrupted her and he genuinely believes that Talon are right. It's also important to know that while he thought he was in charge, Faith had orders that he did not give, so he still doesn't realise exactly what Talon is about.

This is why Kagawa's multi POV approach is perfect. She does the perfect multi POV. Each POV is a new scene rather than the same scene, with matching dialogue from different views. Each point of view adds something to the story, gives away little clues, and gives doses of intrigue as well as helps you to understand characters even better. I love how when you think something happened to Riley, there's no Riley POV for a while so you can't be entirely sure! Each POV change is perfectly timed, you get the POV you need when you need it, and each narrative, as I mentioned in my Talon review, is engaging. As well as the fact that each character has a distinctive voice, and you can feel the difference in the characters, particularly Riley and Garrett.

The multi POV's where just spot on at the beginning as well when everyone was being reintroduced after everything had gone down, I could picture the scenes in my head like a movie, which isn't hard seeing as this is so cinematically written! The first book was all about discovering what Talon was about and setting up and so on, this one is all about finding answers, things being revealed and building up toward a battle.

Thanks to the multi POV we learned loads about Talon and how they work and what it's potentially up to, as well as St. George to a lesser extent, and they where more about the tactics and so on. But it also means we get to learn more about Riley. There's more Riley POV in this book, with less of Garrett, like waaaaaay more Riley. Why? Because we get Riley's POV and Cobalt's POV. Yes they are the same person, but Cobalt's POV isn't an actual current POV, Cobalt's are all flashbacks.

I'd get excited about that if I was you because Riley's flashbacks where VERY interesting. Very interesting indeed. The flashbacks showed a couple of Riley's missions, how his thinking changed about Talon and what they where doing. We see his final two missions and how he became rogue basically, as well as what his life was like after he went rogue, how he met Wes and how the two of them set up their underground thing. So yeah, we learn loads more about Riley and what happened to happen and how he became who he is, as well as learning more about Wes.

I LOVED Wes in the first book, and I still love Wes in this book. He's so perfectly British. He's one of the things about the book that made me chuckle, as well as Riley, the two of them bring the humour that's for sure. But we finally got to see why Wes was with Talon and how he left and begin to understand him a bit more! I was sad not to see more of Remy and Nettle though! I want to see more of the other hatchlings Riley saved!

"Silly me, here I was thinking we needed big neon signs that said Here We Are, Shoot Us Please on top of the roof."

The romance is still present in this book, and it's a bit less subtle and in the background, but that's okay because it fits with the plot. They have to save Garrett and then flee and then help some hatchlings and so on, but the romance is there, and it's not as subtle, but like I said, it fits. It's what you'd expect at this point now that everything is set up and the story is heading towards battle, high stakes territory. The thing I like is that the romance with both guys is different, and both romances are very realistic and natural and both give you the warm and fuzzies.

The love triangle solidifies in this book, in case you didn't guess. Like I told you in my Talon review, Kagawa writes epically good love triangles, she seriously knows how to write a good love triangle, not to mention her badass fighting scenes, but I digress. Last time we could see the triangle forming and see both sides. This time Garrett admits his feelings for Ember to himself and to her, Ember is struggling with her feelings for both, and then Riley goes and tells Ember how he feels about her and says he's going to fight for both of them this time, which was all kinds of "aaaaawwww!".

Ember doesn't know what her feelings are right now and then Garrett left, so hopefully after all of this Garrett and Ember time, we finally get to see what could happen with Riley and Ember if Garrett hadn't been around all the time. This is going to be a very interesting love triangle to watch play out, I think my wording from my Talon review was something like Garrett being the true love despite the odds option and Riley is the fellow dragon who's older and more badass. In this book we see what odds it is exactly, that Ember and Garrett would face, with the whole dragons living for ages and humans...well...not, and you see how dragons feel about the whole dragons and humans having a relationship thing.

Ember and the reader get an understanding of what the two would be facing, and I think with Ember it really starts to hit home. It's just an interesting love triangle because the human part of Ember wants Garrett because he makes her feel normal, but the dragon part of her, which is the larger part I would think, wants Riley and it's hard to tell which way it's going to go when it's concluded! It's a total toss up as to who it's going to be and I love that it's not blindingly obvious and that it's going to be a bit of a close call! I can't wait to watch it play out!

The thing is, the POV's make it clear that Garrett and Riley are both totally different, well...more different than the obvious. In this book Garrett struck me as more closed off and distance, with the whole soldier veneer on than in the previous book, maybe because he's not as present in the POV's, either way  he seemed a lot more quieter this book. Sure there was the whole romantic reunion and then he kind of tagged along after Ember and defended her and stuff, but it had never been more obvious how different they are and it really hit home that Garrett has killed Ember's kind before and has no problem doing it again to save her.

With Riley, he seems more open with his emotions as much as he tries to fight them, and he's doing all this stuff for Ember, he's saving Garrett, he's doing all this stuff that's a danger to him and everything he's worked for and to the hatchlings he looks after, and he kind of blows Garrett out of the water on that front. Garrett risked his life to save her and nearly got executed. Riley is risking himself and his entire life's work as well as other's to help her save the other guy she likes.

When I reviewed Talon I said that unusually, I hadn't picked a team, normally I pick a team pretty early on, but with Talon, I couldn't choose, both had a spark with her and both brought out a different side with her. However, after reading this book and learning all about him and what he's done and so on, I really loved him more this book, this book was heavy on the Riley whereas Talon was heavy on the Garrett and there's seriously loads of Riley in this book compared to Talon, and I think this was done on purpose. We've learned about both, seen loads of both of them and I have finally picked my side.

So yeah....in case you didn't guess, I'm totally Team Riley now! Like I said, I get Garrett and the whole Garrett thing but from my perspective, Riley totally blew him out of the water, and I'm not entirely sure that if it came down to it, Garrett would pick Ember over saving humans if something bad happened with the dragons. The fact Garrett left as well instead of staying to fight for her, when she couldn't say what he wanted her to say? TEAM RILEY.

I'm so Team Riley that I actually got annoyed at Ember at one point being all over Garrett and upsetting my precious flower (Riley) and being mean to him! Like hello, he's doing all this life endangering stuff for you....and it's still not enough!? I didn't have this problem with Iron Fey, this is so weird for me, because I was Team Ash from the beginning, and as I'm typing this, I'm like so does this make Garrett the Puck in this situation or is that Riley? I have an uncomfortable feeling it's Riley, but we'll see.

Anyway, the great thing about the multi POV is that while I love Ember and I connect with her and fully understand her thoughts, I can still get annoyed with her without it ruining the book, and I can be just as invested in Riley! After this book, I feel like I connected with Riley more than in the first book as well.

"Oh you know, a little burned, a little sore. Nearly died a couple times. The usual."

I'm excited for the third book and intrigued to see what's going to happen with the love triangle, and the plot, and I want to know why Ember is so important to Talon, I can't even begin to guess, and then the epilogue being all "SURPRISE BITCH SHIT JUST GOT REAL" like it wasn't a proper cliffhanger but I feel like I'm hanging you know?

The next book has been perfectly set up, there's questions we want answered, so much intrigue
all over the place, Garrett's off on his little mission to see what's up with the shady order of St. George, and Ember and Riley are about to go off on a hunt to see who's betraying him and his network, and I have no clue who that could even be. Seriously, I don't have any theories, I'm stumped, which is awesome, cos it'll be a surprise and a shock and yeah.

Rogue is the perfect continuation to an excited and original series. Rogue brings the feels, the intrigue, the higher stakes, and really raises the bar. Once you're drawn back in to the world it's hard to leave, and it's like you never left in the first place. I'm excited to see where this series is going, and I couldn't love Kagawa's books anymore. Rogue has everything you could want, badass action scenes, cute romance, an intricate plot, shadiness all over the place, and a plot direction that's impossible to guess, it's full of surprises and thrills and edge of your seat tension.

You guys know I'd never lie to you, and I promise you, this is a series you need to read, Kagawa is an author to look out for because she brings it every single time with her books. (There's also an excerpt from the next Iron Fey book in the back of the UK version and don't even get me started on my longing for that book). Read it, love it, and join me in impatiently waiting for the third book! 

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