Saturday, July 12, 2014

Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon

If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution.

Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on.

Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention.

Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules.

At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can't have.
First line:
Bryn yanked down the school bus window. Not that it mattered much.
2 dragons out of 5
Bryn is set up to be this bad-ass, snarky girl who doesn't take crap from anyone. But several times, she finds herself in tears. When Zavien tries to manipulate her, she gets mad and tells him to just talk to her plainly. But when he does that, she explodes at him and does the opposite of whatever he tells her. Also, who goes to boarding school and only contacts their parents and friends after the first day of school? I mean, you don't feel the need to talk to your parents after almost dying three times? I would really want to go home at that point...

So many unanswered questions. I want to know if the Directorate forces Bryn into an arranged marriage. Or if the lighten up on their archaic rules. Nothing was resolved at the end except we know who tried to kill Bryn. Do Bryn's parents return to the dragon community? I really need a sequel to answer these questions, but I have seen no indication there's going to be one. If there turns out to be a sequel, I will reconsider my rating, because the main reason it's a two star is the unanswered questions and the underdevelopment.

There were so many things about this book left unexplored. I wanted to know more about the knights. Chris had so much potential with that and it was only mentioned a few times. And Valmont, the knight who binds himself to Bryn, only shows up to protect her once. And that was after she almost died the first time and before the second time. He wasn't around for any of those times. I want to know more about the Orange dragons. Why are there so few of them? Is there really an underground community in hiding?

Despite these things, Chris has created a world that has the potential to be magical and fantastical. I hope to see more from this world that answers the questions I've posed.

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