Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke

Title: Flying Blind
Series: The Dragon Diaries #1
Author: Deborah Cooke
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Supernatural Fiction
Elements: Dragons, Shapeshifters, Mages, Psychic Abilities
Publisher: New American Library, Penguin Group
Format: Paperback, 322 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-23388-2
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Source: Borrowed from Wentworth Library
Rating: 4/5

Tagline(s): ~None~

Summary: Zoë Sorensson is perfectly normal---well, as normal as a girl obsessed with drawing dragons can be. The thing is, she's always been told she's special and destined for great things. It's not just because of her good grades, either. Zoë is the Wyvern of the Pyr---the one female dragon shape shifter with special powers. But Zoë is at the bottom of the class when it comes to being Pyr, and her powers are AWOL. Worse, there's no reference book to consult, and the last Wyvern is dead... 

Everything changes when Zoë's best friend is bullied and Zoë reacts. Before she can blink twice, her inner dragon is loose, and she's suspended from school and headed to a shape shifter boot camp with guys she's known all her life. But soon she's doubting her powers---and even some of her friendships. 

Zoë quickly realizes she has to master her powers yesterday---there's danger ahead and boot camp is a trap. A secretive group, the Mages, wants to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line---unless Zoë and her friends can solve the riddle and work togetherto save their own kind.... 


To be completely honest, I didn't like the beginning of the book all that much. It starts with Zoë dreaming of a hot guy (nothing wrong with that), then she goes into a little about the Covenant (information is good, especially for those who haven't read the Dragonfire series). But what really bothered me was how much Zoë complained about her non-existent boobs and period. It's a bit immature for a fifteen-year-old. I was hoping the "Puberty Show" would get on the road, too, just so she would stop complaining about it even five seconds. Now when it comes to her Wyvern powers, I'd probably be doubting myself too if they hadn't manifested yet. 

I have to admit that I did admire Zoë's readiness to protect her best friend when she was being bullied. It shows us a glimpse of her inner strength that we don't see much of until later in the book. Zoë's anger at these mean girls is what triggers her first semi-transformation. But because she's being ruled by anger she doesn't have any control over her dragon. In the end, she ends up suspended from school (when she didn't even do anything wrong, she didn't even touched anyone), she broke the Covenant twice, and is headed for boot camp. 

I found Zoë's jealousy over Nick and Isabelle's obvious feelings for each other kind of annoying. (And in her jealous fits her immaturity shines bright). Having grown up with the Pyr she should have realized a lot sooner than she did that two Pyr cannot be mated. Sure, she was being influenced by a spell to feel that much jealousy, but I thought it was a little too much. Especially when there's Jared showing interest in her. Where can you go wrong with a guy who believes in you even when you don't believe in youself, and offers you support when you need it? 

I love the atmosphere that the setting of boot camp creates. What could be more foreboding that being stuck in a cabin in the middle of nowhere during a Minnesota blizzard? I love books that take place in my state where I live and grew up. I felt the Minnesota winter setting fit pretty well with the events happening at boot camp. Winter, in any place, but mostly those places where it's known to be really cold and snowy, like Minnesota or Maine, always gives off that "Oh no, what's going to happen next?" feeling. And the plot and storytelling help give it that foreboding, dangerous feel.

I liked how throughout the book we were given small doses of Pyr history without it all being dumped on us at once. That's really helpful when you haven't read the parent series that the Dragon Diaries is spun-off from. There's isn't a lot of romance in Flying Blind, but where it does show up it's very swoon-worthy. Finally, you have this younger generation coming into their own. It's a heart-warming moment when all their father's show such pride in them.

Zoë's connection to the other Pyr being blocked somehow is only the beginning as tempers flare, friendships are tested, and jealousy rages.

About this Author: 

Deborah Cooke has always been fascinated with dragons, although she has never understood why they have to be the bad guys. She has an honors degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. Deborah has written romances as Claire Delacroix and as Claire Cross. She has published over forty books and novellas, and has won numerous awards for her word, including the Orange County RWA Book Buyer's Best and the Colorado RWA's Award of Excellence. She has been a nominee for the Quill Award and for numerous Romantic Times awards.

Deborah makes her home in Canada with her husband. When she isn't writing or reading, she can be found knitting, sewing or hunting for vintage patterns.

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