Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review: Flying Blind (The Dragon Diaries #1)

Media Type: Book
Title: Flying Blind
Author: Deborah Cooke
Publisher: New American Library
Pages: Paperback; 336
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Source: Publisher/TBS
Intended Reading Group:
Young Adult

Content Screening:
Mild violence

HDB Rating:
4 Keys to My Heart

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.

First off, let it be known that I am dragon obsessed. Second only to zombies, dragons top my list as one of the most interesting and richly described mythological beings of all time. What does this have to do with anything? Well this means that every book I go into with dragons is a treat for me, but also that I'm rather picky about my dragon lore. I want to either be wowed with new developments, or at least have a story that sticks to what has been created in the past. So going into Flying Blind I was really excited! What would the pages hold for me? I opened the book, and dove in.

Let me be the first to say that Deborah Cooke has hit the nail on the head with her dragon lore! I know that this new YA series is a spin off of her original "Dragonfire" series, and so I should have known it would be amazing. Cooke not only paints the reader a gorgeous portrayal of dragon kind with the Pyr, but she also gives them a rich and detailed history about them as well. Add in a few bad guys and some fight scenes, and I was hooked. Learning with Zoë was seriously fantastic. I felt myself frustrated when she was, excited when she was, all the while uncovering history with her. As I read I found myself immersed in the world that revolved around Zoë. Just in terms of setting and back story, I was already in love with this book.

In terms of characters, Flying Blind has quite a few different personality types to offer. First up is Zoë, the main character. She's fiesty and a bit overzealous sometimes. At 15 years old she is supposed to be developing her Wyrven powers. Unfortunately... it's slow going. I loved the original voice that Zoë had, and swooned over the fact that she wasn't a lovesick puppy dog at any point in the book. Jealous yes, angsty and depressed no In fact, as the Wyrven to be, Zoë kicks some behind! Round out her character with a good old fashioned love interest, her best friend/crush, and a few other Pyr, and you have a great cast! Besides Zoë I'd have to say that my favorite character was definitely Liam. He's a sweetheart, and when you're a dragon that is a little tough to pull off sometimes.

The only reason that I am giving this book a slightly lower rating is that it is exhausting to read. I don't mean that the writing is poor, it's truly amazing, and you've seen how much I love the characters. So let me explain. At the beginning of the story I was allowed to meet Zoë and she was truly what dragged me in. Her wit, her inner pondering, it was all great! Things were moving along at a nice pace, and I was throughly enjoying being in her world. Then as the book neared the middle, it got a little slow. I thought it was understandable, since important information was being revealed. However then, towards the end, I felt bombarded with fight scene after fight scene and problem after problem that needed to be solved. It was all a bit overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I love action. However presented in this fashion, it kind of broke my connection with the book. By the time that I finally got to the end of the book, I was a bit torn as to what to write in my review. Overall I enjoyed the read, but I always strive to be honest with my readers. I've sat back though and I'm ready to give the bottom line.

Flying Blind is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise saturated market. The simple fact that Zoë is so strong and calculating makes her different than a lot of other MC's her age, and that makes her intriguing in my book. Add in some great dragon lore, and you have a series that I can fully get behind. I know that my issue with this book is my own opinion, and honestly I'm sure that it only happened because there was so much important information to fit in this first installment. Therefore I'm extremely excited for the next book! I can't wait to see what happens next.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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