Author: Deborah Cooke
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: NAL Trade
The Dragon Diaries #1
Genre: Young Adult
Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book
We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.
From the author’s website:
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, want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line – unless Zoë and her friends can solve the riddle and work together to save their own kind…
What Gikany & Una are talking about:
Flying Blind is the debut novel in the Dragon Diaries. This series seems to be a spin-off her adult Dragonfire series. Although neither of us have read this series (however it is on our TBR list), you do not need to have read it to enjoy this book. The premise is intriguing with the mythology of the existence of dragon shape-shifters. Within this group known as Pyr they are all male, except for a single female Pyr called the Wyvern. She has similar abilities to the men; superior senses, shape shifting, and longevity, but she also has additional powers. We found the world-building to be pretty good.
Like most first books in a series, there are always, what Una likes to refer to as, growing pains. This book felt a bit jumpy, the continuity was not smooth between the chapters. Occasionally it felt as if it skipped or glanced over matters. The main character, at first, was quite annoying. However, if you are junior high school age, maybe you can identify better with her than an adult can. We felt she was a bit whiny, although this lessened through the course of the book. Flying Blind was slow to start but once we were halfway through, it seemed to pick up and really improve. We especially enjoyed the perspective through Zoë into her dad’s mind.
There are a few issues we would like to point out in the Flying Blind. We were bothered by one of Zoë’s love interests in the book. We feel having a fifteen year old (Zoë) lusting after a twenty year old a little uncomfortable. The fact that the twenty year old encouraged and welcomed it; was of greater disappointment and discomfort. Considering that this is for younger audiences, we felt it was slightly inappropriate. Without giving anything away, maybe due to the way the book plays out in the end, this issue is to be resolved in the next novel.
We were also perturbed by the possible misinterpretation of the Wyvern’s powers and their connection to sexual activity; most especially to the possible emphasis on life-long abstinence for girls only (because there is only one Wyvern at a time). However, we must note that Flying Blind is told from first-person perspective (Zoë’s) and that could be contributing to what may end up as a plot device/twist later in the series.
Considering that overall the book lacks real substance, these two issues really struck us while reading. Are they enough to ruin the book for us, not quite. We are actually intrigued to see how Ms. Cooke will deal with these issues in the Dragon Diaries. Perhaps they will add to the next story arc in upcoming novel and will end up as part of the overall series story arc.
Flying Blind is a light-hearted, quick, and enjoyable read (once you get past the whininess). Although we felt there are a few issues as we mentioned, we did enjoy it and look forward to reading the next novel in this series, Winging It, due out December 2011. We especially want to see how these possible issues are either addressed or resolved in the next book.
3 stars: Liked it, there were a few issues – recommend (B)