Friday, March 18, 2011

Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke (The Dragon Diaries, Book 1)

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (June 7, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0451233883
ISBN-13: 978-0451233882

The next generation of shape-shifting dragons from the popular author of the Dragonfire novels.

Zoë Sorensson is perfectly normal, except she's been told she's destined for great things. Zoë's the one female dragon shapeshifter of her kind. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr and her powers are AWOL, so she's sent to a Pyr boot camp.

Zoë quickly realizes that she has to master her powers yesterday, because the Pyr are in danger and boot camp is a trap. The Mages want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line-unless Zoë and her friends can work together and save their own kind.

Review:

As it turns out, this first book in a spin-off series of the Dragonfire Novels exceeded my expectations and went beyond.

Zoe knows that she’s a failure when it comes to conjuring the makeshift powers of the Almighty Wyvern. Being the only female dragon shape shifter is suffocating, especially when she does not meet expectations. Finally, in a scene at her high school, Zoe discovers this new rage that triggers parts of her Wyvern powers. Along with this new discovery comes a field trip to spend a week with her Pyr friends at boot camp. Despite the obligatory feelings that come when hearing the words “boot camp”, Zoe is thrilled to go because she will finally have a chance to prove herself to her destined mate, Nick.
However, when it’s time to leave for this adventurous competition, an obstacle enters Zoe’s path in the form of all the bad-boy traits any rock-star fan girl can imagine. Jared has the attitude and persona of all things masculine.
When they all arrive at the boot camp site and find no sign of Donovan, Nick’s father, they know something must be amiss but figure it is just another test in the line of competition. Soon, they find out how deeply wrong they assumed.

While I haven’t read many fantasy books that involve fire-breathing dragons, I imagine that Cooke really nailed it on the head with Flying Blind. She creates the heroine to be this lost skinny girl who doesn’t know white from black when it comes to differing what it is a Wyvern’s responsibilities. Hence the titles meaning, Zoe is flying blind in a world where the men around her find it effortless to conjure and control their dragons. This is the part where Jared is introduced, and I have to say that the chemistry between him and Zoe was practically steaming off the pages. There is a lot of male eye candy in this book, and that had to be one of its lovely attributes. The writing style really flavored each character’s individual personality in a sense that it complimented their contribution to the novel.

With a more than fascinating background, the Pyr initially had a long history before it’s introduced to us in Flying Blind. In its self, that is what makes up the stepping stones that Zoe must follow in order to fulfill her great destiny. A lot of what’s holding her back is what makes up a big message in her story, be bold and believe in yourself, and you shall succeed. The plot truly ascends to the climax where secrets are unfurled and the truth and deception of others comes to light. Alongside the creation an admirable heroine, Cooke is able to surmise that confidence needed in the most trifling of battles to save the fellow Pyr. With such vivid and beautifully written settings, the mental movie that plays in one’s head as they read Flying Blind is clear and conspicuous.

Unlike Cooke’s Dragonfire Novels, I hope that she keeps The Dragon Diaries centered around Zoe’s struggles and triumphs in the Pyr world. (If only to see more of the infamous Jared.)

Grade: B+

This ARC was provided by the publisher for my uninfluenced review.

LiLi