Dangerous Romance Book Reviews's Reviews > Flying Blind

Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke
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's review
Aug 17, 12

really liked it
Read in May, 2011

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…

Being a "late bloomer" is difficult enough as it is when you're a cute, but skinny 15-year-old girl who hasn't started puberty yet and has a crush on a boy who lives clear across the country. It is a lot worse when you come from a family of Dragon Shapeshifters, and can't tell your best friend who or what you are as it will break a covenant. It is even more challenging when you're also lagging at coming into your gifts as the only female Dragon, the Wyvern, who is supposed to lead her people by being a Seer and a Visionary.

The problem is, Zoe can't do much of anything Dragony and she's being shipped off to Dragon boot camp in the midwest in the middle of the winter to hang out with the boys she's grown up with and be tested by the older adult Dragons. The only good thing about it is she'll get to hang out with hottie Nick, who she has always had a crush on and who she believes she is destined to be with.

Right off the bat things don't go as planned. Zoe doesn't have control over her dragon and is afraid to shift for fear she'll hurt someone, and everyone has expectations of what she should be able to do, none of which is coming easy for her. To make matters worse, Nick seems to have missed the memo on their destined romance and seems obsessed with disgustingly beautiful and curvaceous Isabella, the adopted daughter of one of the Pyr. Isabella shouldn't even be at Dragon Boot Camp as she's a human, but somehow she got an invite, something about her being a seer too. Great, so the one thing that Zoe has going for her, that makes her special, Isabella seems to be squeezing in to too. All the cute boys, including Nick, seem to be obsessed with the Zoe's rival who dresses like a fashion plate, and keeps trying to befriend Zoe, something she knows better than to trust. Zoe is feeling beyond inadequate and left out and it hurts, which doesn't help her deal with her insecurities regarding her impending Dragon responsibilities.

Then gorgeous bad boy Jared shows up. He's a human in the know about the Dragons, who may or may not have a secret of his own. He's been asked to drive Zoe out to where the first real test is going to occur, somewhere in the middle of the Minnesota farmland in the middle of the winter, and he's warming Zoe up with his hot glances and flirty words. The fact that he rides a Ducati motorcycle and plays in a rock band doesn't hurt things one bit. Jared has a mysterious past, but somehow is able to help Zoe connect with her gift, while they connect with each other.

The rest of the gang is following in cars and they are off on a Dragon scavenger hunt, only something goes terribly wrong. New Dragon Adrian shows up and now Zoe doesn't know who to trust. Her friends all begin to turn against her, and she fights her jealousy for Isabella while the teens try to figure out if they are really being tested by the adult dragons or if someone has come along and changed all the rules.

As Zoe says several times, "Here be Dragons," and when Dragons fight, serious damage can get done and the tensions rise. Instead of working as a team, the longer the group are couped up in the cabin in the storm, the more the potential for real violence shimmers in the air.

Zoe is having visions, but she is afraid to share them. Isabella is reaching out to Zoe, but Zoe has been burned at school by the beautiful cool kids before and she doesn't trust Isabella. Nobody except Zoe trusts Adrian at first, despite the fact that he gives what seems like good advice, and Zoe can't stopped thinking about Jared, who she sure wishes had kissed her before he rode away on his Ducati after telling her to stay away from Adrian. And Nick and Isabella seem to be falling madly in love. The other boys, all of whom she counted as her friends are treating her like she is the enemy. Everyone of course except Adrian, who is gorgeous too and seems to really like Zoe. What is a Dragon girl to do and who is she to trust? despite the fact she doesn't want to like Isabella much, they both seem to be having the same presentiments that something is terribly wrong.

Many times adult authors write Young Adult as if the teens were in their 3o's. Cooke's Zoe, acted like a 15 year old. A smart capable one, but a 15 year old none the less. She worries she's flat chested and hasn't started her period yet. She's jealous of the girls who are further along in the whole puberty thing, and getting all the attention from the guys. She tries to explore her gifts but is afraid to tell her friends when the visions start coming and they aren't good. And she's a bit boy crazy, not that I blame her given all the gorgeous dude's she is surrounded by and the lack of adult supervision. This is the bones of the story, but on top of that there is a very dangerous setting, with a several betrayals, and the teens are going to have to learn to rise above the petty jealousy and bickering and fighting and work as a team or else people are going to die.

For adult fans of the Dragonfire Novels, it will be fun to revisit the characters you've grown to love and the children you've read about in the earlier books. For teens however, this is a great new series that can stand alone on its own merits.

I am usually not a big fan of Dragon Urban Fantasy. For me that is a bridge to far in the believing the unbelievable fantasy wise. I can't figure out where all that mass goes when you shift back to human? And how do you have Dragons shifting in a house and not destroying it? Also, the Dragons talk to each other psychically, but then they also just chat out loud, something I have a hard time imaging a Dragon could do, and lastly I'm pretty sure they'd show up on Doppler when they're flying around. I also wasn't thrilled with how young Zoe was, to be having romantic assignations with boys almost in college, I would have liked to have seen the potential romances be closer in age.

I was able to put all that anti-Dragon prejudice aside. I enjoyed really Flying Blind, and I couldn't put it down. I think partly because I really liked Zoe. I remember being 15 (yes, it was a LONG time ago...but I do remember) and I could put myself in her shoes. She was a great, layered and textured character and I
enjoyed walking and later flying through this fantasy with her. I eagerly await the second novel in the series, "Winging in", which is out in December.

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