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I Belong

Early Review: Talker 25 by Joshua McCune

Talker 25TitleTalker 25

AuthorJoshua McCune

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Talker 25 (Book 1)

Publication Date: April 22, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 006212191X (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062121912 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


Joshua McCune’s gritty and heart-pounding novel is a masterful reimagining of popular dragon fantasy lore set in a militaristic future reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker and Ann Aguirre’s Outpost. 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. After a high-school prank goes horribly wrong, Melissa Callahan becomes an unsuspecting pawn in a war between man and monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Talker 25 delivers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.

Quick & Dirty: Pulse-racing and action-filled, Talker 25 is an enjoyable read for a fantasy lover. For me, I was just so-so on the novel, but there were definitely great things about this book.

Opening Sentence: When Trish called me and begged me to go dragon hunting, I should have trusted my instinct.


The Review:

Talker 25 is the story of Melissa, who is living in an age that is full of dragons. The government has decided that all dragons must die long, horrible deaths, but the insurgents, or people like Melissa’s mother, don’t agree. When Melissa is unwillingly drawn into a rebellion, she soon finds herself and 24 others the victim of a secret agency tricking dragons to their deaths.

This book used short, simple sentences that packed a lot of meaning into them. The style of writing was unique, but if you are the kind of reader to skim through fast and miss a few sentences here and there, you’ll easily be confused. Things happen very fast in some instances, and very slow in others, so I had trouble with the pacing, but the writing style is easily compared to Shannon Hale’s (author of The Goose Girl and more). Altogether, I knew the large plot and could identify what was happening, but some of the ideas introduced in this book didn’t latch on. I will say that it is never boring. Though sometimes, it does slow down, you always face more action and excitement around the next corner.

I didn’t feel any connection with the boy character that Melissa supposedly is interested in. He’s not as likeable as other characters, such as Maxon (Kiera Cass’ The Selection) or Alex (Delirium). I oftentimes felt myself becoming annoyed with how endearing everyone thought he was, and when Melissa was trying to get over him it cheered me up more than it should have. Other characters were better, for example Talker 21, whom I actually loved. She has childlike qualities (she is young, after all) but you can tell she isn’t the least bit naive after being treated as she has been. And as for the main character, Melissa, for the most part I enjoyed her point of view.

I was iffy on this book. On one hand, it was a good novel and I enjoyed reading it. On another, I sometimes was confused and the characters irritated me. It might have been that I am one of those readers that sometimes goes too fast to catch everything. I’m not sure. Nevertheless, I would read the sequel should it be offered to me without complaint. I’m positive that a lot of people will love this series, and I enjoyed myself reading it, but it really depends on your style. Three stars is in the “I liked the book but wouldn’t necessarily reread” range for me . . . Try it out and let me know your thoughts!

Notable Scene:

“No, Mel. You don’t talk to me.” He raises his fist, gives me one last glare, and storms from the room.

“Wait! What about Dad? Sam?”

The slam of the door is the only answer I get.

“I’m done.” I say. “Take me back to my hole.”

Simon shakes his head. “Patience, Ms. Callahan. Just one more, and you’ll be finished.

Finished? All that’s left of this puppet show is Dad. He wouldn’t believe their lies. He’d trust me, believe me . . . love me.

No matter what?

Talker 25 Series:

1. Talker 25


FTC Advisory: Greenwillow/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Talker 25. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Early Review: Talker 25 by Joshua McCune , 7.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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