Published: April 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow / Harper Collins
It's a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.
I absolutely loved this book, from the first page to the last, but I have to say that it is violent. Violent in the way of cruelty, conditioning and torture. So beware animal lovers, you might not like what they do to the dragons in this book, or to the humans for that matter!
The torture is integral to the story, and very clearly shows the lengths that people will go to, to eradicate the dragons from the world, but it is not toned down in any way. I was ok with it, since to me it made the division between the two factions very easy to delineate. There are very definite good guys and bad guys here, and you're not going to like the bad guys.
This is a totally knew dragon lore but with shades of Anne McCaffery - telepathy between certain humans and dragons - for those who know their dragons. It was interesting to see how the humans and dragons interacted and how inherently trusting the dragons were of the humans they could communicate with. Which made the human betrayal even more despicable.
Melissa is thrown into the deep end and is left to flounder. How she survives makes for a tense and compelling read. For those of you who like a little bit of romance with your dragons, well there is some, but it might not play out quite the way you are expecting. It certainly didn't for me. 'Talker 25' is thrilling and gritty and not for the squeamish, but if you're a dragon lover like me, it's a must add to your TBR list. I am waiting with baited breath for the next one.
This book is receiving very mixed reviews, from 1 star to 5, so I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts if you've read it.