Wendy Darling's Reviews > Flying Blind

Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke
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's review
Oct 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: pn-shapeshifters, fantasy, young-adult, canadian, hilarious, heroines-butt-kicking, 2011-favorites, favorite-ya, read-2011, boarding-school, 2011-publication, action-packed, pn-dragons-wyverns
Recommended for: fans of Hex Hall, Darkest Powers
Read on October 22, 2011

Aerial dragon battles. A girl with a cool mystical powers. Cute boys on motorbikes. What more could you ask for in a fun and fluffy paranormal book?

Flying Blind took me completely by surprise. The story follows Zoë Sorensson, the only female dragon shapeshifter in existence, who has important duties to assume when she comes to maturity. The problem is, her powers haven't bloomed properly and the few times they begin to appear--in the form of a mesmerizing flame in the pupils of her eyes and a single curved talon--she can't control them. As a result, she's shipped off to dragon "boot camp" where she's huddled with a group of dragon boys she's known all her life, including Nick, the attractive guy whom she may be destined to be with.

The dragon lore is exceptionally well thought-out, with specific behaviors and mythology. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the different dragons, from a green one with silver-tipped scales to a beautiful garnet and gold one to a regal pewter and purple one with silver accents. The dragon battles are also very easy to picture, with muscular physical tussling, claw-slashing, orange-flamed fire-breathing, and tail-whomping--and with none of the typical fast-healing, "easy fix" powers to lessen the stakes.

Zoë is a bright, funny heroine who narrates in a breezy tone that's immensely appealing. She's attempting to gain control of her body while trying to figure out why such a dark cloud seems to hang over her normally good-natured friends, and there's a lot that's thrown at her as she's coming into her role as a member of the Pyr. She makes a lot of mistakes, but she owns up to them and is never afraid to take action when it matters most. I like that every person in the huge cast of secondary characters has a distinct voice and identity, and that things don't always go the way that seasoned YA readers might expect with mysterious strangers or popular girls. The story is fairly complex for a short book, but it's very light-hearted in tone, which is a refreshing change from all those supernatural YA books that aren't well-thought out or that take themselves too seriously. One of the many humorous touches? Zoë, kickass girl dragon, is a vegetarian.

This book is apparently a spinoff of the author's adult PNR series, but it doesn't feel like something that's hastily cobbled together or that is at all lacking in explanation. The author does a terrific job of gradually revealing the rules and history of dragon behavior, as well as in giving enough time (but not too much time) to characters from the other series in a way that doesn't feel tiresome or forced. It's also great to see a book that shows teens with strong, loving relationships with the adults in their lives--but the crises are deftly handled and solved by the younger dragons themselves. I will say there's a lot of information to process, some of the "dark cloud" behaviors drag on for a little too long, and Zoë does occasionally get a little moony over her crush. But all the romance issues are resolved by the end of the book, and there is plenty of time spent on the family and friend relationships, mythology, plot, and personal development to balance the relationship stuff out.

I'd highly recommend Flying Blind to any fan of non-angsty paranormal/fantasy YA, especially to fans of series such as Hex Hall or The Darkest Powers. Zoë does a lot growing up in this zippy, action-packed story--and after having such a fun whirlwind of an adventure in her company, I can't to see where the next story takes her!

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden.

P.S. The cover and title are very misleading, in my opinion. I think a story that has such a humorous feel to it deserves a cover design that makes it stand out a little more from all the other typical paranormal YA books out there. I really can't picture Zoë with such a serious look on her face at all! Also, newsflash: gorgeous battling dragons are a huge selling point. At least for me, anyway.
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Reading Progress

10/22/2011 page 134
40.0% "Oooo. Aerial dragon battles! With hot guys. :D" 5 comments
10/22/2011 page 165
49.0% ""If you've never seen a dragon puke, trust me-you can do without the view." <-- Tee hee hee."

Comments (showing 1-50 of 54) (54 new)

message 1: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca This looks really good..cant wait for review :D

Wendy Darling I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would--always a good thing! :) Although it's kind of sad that I'm surprised when I like a book, hah.

message 3: by Simcsa (new)

Simcsa Maybe it would be better if you didn't read as many new books . ;) And it's really sad, I hope it will improve.

message 4: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca Maybe we should invent a book-cookie packaging so that in event of not-as-good-as-promised reading...you get a cookie :D

message 5: by Simcsa (new)

Simcsa And what about the truly terrible books? What we would get then? :D I love chocolate, by the way. ;)

Wendy Darling I'm afraid my book habit shows no signs of abating. I like the consolation prize of a cookie for a bad book though, Becca! That is ingenious. Although Simcsa is right, I might need to ask for a full pie for the truly terrible ones. :D

message 7: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca How bout ch cream pie :)

Wendy Darling Chocolate cream pie is a nice compromise. Ooo, or Boston Cream Pie, which has chocolate on it! Ugh, now I want pie. And chocolate.

message 9: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca The power of suggestion is so strong that I was heading into the kitchen pantry before I realized what was up =D

message 10: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca a ch torte will be done in apx 43 min...i'll share..

Wendy Darling Ugh, you evil thing! But yes, please post photos. I enjoy food porn, even if I can't personally partake!

message 12: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca haven't posted any photos on GR before...but i did take one of the mini choc torte/tartlette and added it to my profile page :)

Wendy Darling Yay, thank you! Well. *rubs hands* Let's see what else we can get you to make with the power of suggestion. ;)

message 14: by Becca (new) - added it

Becca Why am I suddenly hearing - mawhahaha - in my head?

Wendy Darling Because you're perceptive!!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Hah! I think I'll read this next.
You know, I believe Hunting Lila falls into the same category. Light, fluffy and extremely fun.

Wendy Darling It's totally fun, Maja, I think you'll really enjoy it! You know what's weird? I actually didn't even realize Hunting Lila was a paranormal book, I thought it was all about cute guys.

Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner You had me at ...she's shipped off to dragon "boot camp" where she's huddled with a group of dragon boys... Also I love Hex Hall and The Darkest Powers. This should be fun.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) It is! It's actually very cool, heavily inspired by X-men, I think. Telekinesis is Lila's power. :) (view spoiler)

I'm very curious about this. I wonder why there weren't any books about dragons sooner. They are SO interesting.

message 20: by Limonessa (new)

Limonessa Isn't Firelight about dragons?
I'm tempted but you compared it to two books I did not enjoy, so I guess it's a pass.

Wendy Darling Hah, dragon boot camp kind of tickled my fancy, too. The breezy tone of the book was very appealing to me, so I think if you liked those two other series you'll enjoy this one, Zemira! I really wish book two were out already.

Ooo, I like telekinesis, Maja--my ears have perked up a bit for Lila. And yeah, I hear swoony things about that Alex fellow. ;) I love shapeshifters (as you know!) and dragons are so gorgeous. Firelight is about dragons, but I hear mixed things about that, so I've never read it. Eon has dragons, too, but I haven't gotten around to that one, yet.

And I'm not sure, but this might be a little on the fluffy side for your taste, Lisa...the mythology is more complex than in those two other books, but the characters are youngish and breezy, too. Doesn't hurt to sample a few chapters if you're curious, though. :)

message 22: by Limonessa (new)

Limonessa True, reviews are mixed for Firelight and that's why it's sitting on my shelf and I still haven't touched it. I will, though. I loved Eon, the world-building and the mythology there were developed exceptionally in my opinion.

message 23: by Wendy Darling (last edited Oct 26, 2011 02:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Wendy Darling Yes, Eon seems like it's probably more of a traditional fantasy novel rather than a lighthearted entertainer like this one. One of these days I'll try to tackle it! But it may be too grown-up for my juvenile tastes. :D

message 24: by Reynje (new)

Reynje Non-angsty pn/fantasy - rare indeed! Sounds like you had fun with this one, Wendy :)

message 25: by Antica (new) - added it

Antica Interesting .. I might just check this book out .. it sounds like a decent read
thanks for the review =p

Wendy Darling It was one of those books that just put me in a really good mood, Reynje. Fluffy, non-shallow books are a welcome break with all the other stuff on the market. :)

Hope you enjoy when you get around to reading it, Antica! If you're intrigued by the concept, I'd say there's a pretty good chance you'll have fun with it. ;)

message 27: by Alison (new) - added it

Alison I was just wondering, should I read the Dragonfire books first? Or can I just go straight to this?

Wendy Darling You can totally read this first, Alison! I haven't read the Dragonfire books yet and actually had never even heard of them before this. I had no trouble following the story or characters. :)

message 29: by RaShelle (new) - added it

RaShelle Workman Wendy, I've read several books thanks to your reviews. This one is no exception. I'll be reading it next. Oh, and Boston Cream pie? Really?? Sounds delicious.

Joy (joyous reads) This sounds awesome...and Canadian? awesome x 100 :) Your reviews are amazing!

Wendy Darling Oh, thank you, RaShelle! I hope you have a good time with it. (And hah, I looove Boston Cream Pie. And BCP doughnuts.)

Yay, I hope you'll check it out, Joy! Yep, another great Canadian YA author. I started tracking since I find that sort of thing interesting. :)

Joy (joyous reads) Wendy Darling wrote: Yay, I hope you'll check it out, Joy! Yep, another great Canadian YA author. ..."

I just ordered it!

Wendy Darling Hah, you did? Ohhh, the pressure, the pressure. :D But as I was saying to Antica earlier, I think if you're drawn to the concept and know it's not all Serious Business, you'll probably enjoy it, Joy. Fingers crossed!

Joy (joyous reads) Well, I loved Hex Hall and I'm not much of a "deep reader" so I'm sure I'd like this :)

Wendy Darling Oh pish-posh to "deep reads." I think we can all use some lightening up sometimes!

message 36: by Crystal (new) - added it

Crystal Cook Love that Wendy. :) I'm adding this book to my to read list. Dragons are one of my favorite things!

Wendy Darling Same here, Crystal! I like shapeshifters in general, but dragons are particularly pretty when they're done well. :)

message 38: by Alison (new) - added it

Alison Thanks :D

message 39: by Donna (new)

Donna I've never been much into either dragons or shifters, but I think I'm going to buy Flying Blind. This sounds like such a fun read and I love YA that focuses on family, friendship, and has a solid plot and doesn't rely solely on the romantic to carry the story. Plus I really enjoyed Hex Hall, hopefully I'll enjoy this one as much as you did!

message 40: by Rose (new)

Rose sounds interesting, I hope it's better than Firelight

Wendy Darling Hope you'll love it, Donna! :) There is a lot of romance in it, but as I said, the family and friendship and story parts are just as important. The humor isn't quite as clever as it is in Hex Hall, perhaps, but I think the laid-back, humorous feel of it is very similar.

I haven't read Firelight yet so I can't say if Flying Blind is better, Rose, but I thought this one was pretty fun.

message 42: by Taneika (new)

Taneika I love my e-reader, I just have a normal Android tablet with Cool Reader and Aldiko on it, but it's GREAT! I love it, I still love paperbacks, but it's so much easier to read in bed!! Plus, my baby sisters can't get their hands on my books and destroy them :(

Wendy Darling Totally agree, Taneika. I love reading with my ereader everywhere, but it makes it especially easy in bed. I still love real books, but sometimes I'm still taken aback when I see a big fat hardback in person. ;)

message 44: by Taneika (new)

Taneika Yeah! I only just recently got my ereader, but it's so easy to read in bed, and it's so light and small that I don't have to struggle to fit a novel and big bulky uni books in my bag! It's great! Sometimes I see the hardback of an e-book I've read and I'm like :O WOAH. It was THAT big???

Wendy Darling Hah, exactly! Congrats on your ereader. Life is so much better now, isn't it? :)

message 46: by Taneika (new)

Taneika It is! It makes everything so much easier! It's a ZTE v9 tablet, and it's technically a really really huge phone, which makes me laugh ahahha!

message 47: by AH (new) - added it

AH Great review, Wendy! Canadian, eh? I must look out for this book.

message 48: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Great review! I loved Hex Hall and Darkest Powers, so I'll definitely keep my eye out for this one!

Wendy Darling Thanks AH and Lucy! I think you'd both like this one, it's super fun. I wish the cover was more arresting, it really deserves a much more vibrant image.

And yep, another Canadian YA book! Lots of great stuff coming from up north lately. :)

message 50: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em I love this, too. I'm glad it was light-hearted. I like fun books a lot more than angsty ones. The ending was just too sweet. (:

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