Review – Flying Blind
This is the first in a new YA series, just released earlier this month and a spinoff from Cooke’s Dragonfire (Romance) books. I haven’t read them, but just reading a little about them they remind me of the Psy/Changling or Black Dagger Brotherhood series, where each strapping hot alpha-type male in the pack/group finds their intended female, one pairing per book. This particular series features shifter dragons, or the “Pyr”. Anyway Flying Blind is the beginning of a series, the Dragon Diaries, about the kids of those same adults. Zoe, the new wyvern (there can be only one female Pyr and she is it) should have super powers, but the problem is she hasn’t had any powers since she was two. But after trying to defend her friend from bullies at school, she partially shifts and is sent off to Pyr boot camp with the other kids her age. By the way, she is 15 and the other boys seem to be in their teens. There are no books about being the wyvern and no one will answer any of her questions so she has to figure things out on her own. At boot camp it quickly becomes obvious something is wrong, but no one can agree on anything, there is a lot of jealousy and fighting and issues these kids have to overcome, or risk losing everything.
So this book was a pleasant surprise. I received it in a box from the publisher and I picked it up to read because it is the first in the series, and therefore possibly easier to follow than some of the others. I think it would have been much more fun if I already knew the Dragonfire characters, but certainly not necessary to enjoy the book. The young adult element was good for 12 and up, first love, disappointments, teen snark, coming of age, puberty – the whole enchilada. Plus Zoe is a good, strong, though unsure of herself at first, heroine. It was written well, the teen, high school drama smoothed out and became dark and intense. Also the dragon shifter element was great. I guess dragons are the new thing. I have only read one other series like these by Shana Abe, about the Drakon. But really the only similarity between the two is that they can both turn from human into dragon.
As for the rest of it, the boys are a little like “werewolves”, boisterous with too much energy and strength. Zoe must be a popular YA heroine name these days, the House of Night series has the same though spelled differently. (Remember when it was an odd name? I had only heard of it from that JD Salinger book…). Also, one of the characters reminds me of the bad guy in the House of Night series, not sure if the characters have similar roots in legend or not though. And, if you have read the Cassie Palmer books and this series, is the Pythia a little similar to what a wyvern can do? Seems pretty close to me… I guess the more you read the more similarities you find between stories. But Cooke does a good job claiming these things as her own. Also, there is one lame thing about the ending, argh! I hate it when there is a dangling WTF! thing that happens. One character is so out of character, at least up until that point, it was kind of irritating. I am sure it will be addressed in the next book, and I realize not everything can be wrapped in a tidy bow, there has to be some question niggling in the back of our minds…but jeez! I guess the book succeeded, it got to me and I cared about the characters enough to be annoyed.
So all in all a really good addition to the YA pantheon and the original series looks like great fun. I am going to have to check out the first one, Kiss of Fire and see if they are as “hot” as others claim.