Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Talon: Combat Tracking Team

When Aspen Courtland's twin brother, Austin, is declared MIA while serving in Afghanistan she doesn't believe her brother is MIA or "presumed dead". With the aid of his tracking dog, Talon, and a slew of his combat buddies and other military personnel she travels to Djibouti to determine what has happened to him. There's so much going on in this book, but that is basically the driving force behind the story line. 

This book was really overwhelming. It was non-stop action and not in a good way. It never settled down or had moment in between the action where the reader is able to get to know the characters. I was so confused the whole time while reading this book. One problem was that I couldn't keep track of all the characters. Half way through the book I discovered that what I thought was two separate (minor) characters were actually one character. This is because every character has several names they go by. First name, last name, and nick name. Some even have alternate identities added to the mix. I admit, I didn't read the first book. However, I don't think that was why I couldn't keep up. The first book in the series, Trinity, appears to focus on a character only mentioned a few times in this book and this story is totally separate from that one.

I also felt like the characters were all either very distinct stereotypes or were all placed in the book to serve one very definite purpose and those characters had no interactions outside of whatever served their purpose. For that reason, many of the characters came off as very one-dimensional to me. It was also very dark and violent. This is the first book I've read where the overall subject matter involved the military, so that's probably typical for this sort of book, but it wasn't really for me. Especially, for a Christian book the overall outlook of this book was rather grim. Which brings me to another point- this book didn't incorporate the religious aspect very much.

 I also had no idea who was the bad guy. First we're hoping to find/save Austin, then he is running away from those trying to save him/shooting at people including his own sister (I think- like I said I was confused, but this is how the story appeared to me), then Austin is sort of helping his sister when she's in a dangerous position, then he's hiding from her again and maybe helping smuggle "yellowcake" or something??? Then, suddenly he's helping find Aspen and he's the good guy again and despite being declared "dead" by the government and having a top-secret job and new identity he's back in Texas chilling with his friends and family?? Honestly, I couldn't understand why Aspen still wanted her brother in her life. He has issues.
/End Spoiler-Alert

At the end the story doesn't really seem to explain much. I didn't understand how all these military-types were (1) able to go on whatever mission they chose (for example, help Aspen find her brother) and (2) travel to Texas at the end to hang out together or just stop working for the military (the author never specifies what they all are doing in Texas). I guess I don't have a full-understanding of how the military works, but not much about that was really explained. I was left with a lot of questions. 

I am giving Talon 2 out of 5 stars because it was not a very enjoyable reading experience for me. I'm unsure if I'll read the first or third book, though I have a feeling they might be a better.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. in exchange for an honest review.

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