Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: Going Down in Flames

Today I get to review the book, Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon.

Bryn McKenna is about to turn sixteen when she discovers a secret that has been kept hidden from her since birth. She is a shape-shifting dragon and her parents are outcasts from the dragon community because they went against the Clan rules. Bryn's mother (Sara) is a Blue dragon and her father (Ian) is a Red dragon. All dragon marriages must be approved by the Directorate and many can be denied. Dragon marriages are arranged; only like colors are allowed to marry and breed. This is to keep the powers and outward appearances the same within each specific Clan. When Bryn's mother turned down Ferrin (the man she is arranged to marry) so that she could marry for love, Sara and Ian had to run away from the Clan so they could be together. They got married and eventually produced Bryn: a crossbreed or a hybrid. Dragons had been told that breeding could not exist between the Clans and both Sara and Ian were shocked when they had Bryn.

Crossbreeds are considered mongrels and they are looked down upon by the Directorate. Many think that these dragons shouldn't even exist and they treat Bryn harshly. 

What makes Bryn unique is that that she has the fire power of the Red dragons and the ice/snow power of the Blue dragons. She also has the ability to change her dragon appearance and her human-like appearance by using something special called Quintessence (she can change the color of her scales and her hair, and add makeup to her face just by thinking about it).

Bryn is forced to leave her family and attend the Institute for Excellence, a school for dragons to teach them to control their breath weapons. She has no choice in the matter and her parents cannot stop the Institute from taking their daughter.

Zavien (a 19 year-old, Black dragon hottie) takes Bryn under his wing. He tries to help Bryn maneuver her way around the dragon school and the dragon way of life. Bryn has a mind and a mouth of her own and often doesn't listen to Zavien's helpful (and at times, demanding) advice. This causes Bryn to get into trouble, both physically and verbally.

Even though she is perceived to be an outcast and shunned by many dragons (especially the Blues), she gains some good friends right away. She also finds out about knights and starts to fall hard for Zavien.

Jaxon is considered enemy #1 because he insults Bryn constantly and he is the son of Ferrin (the man Bryn’s mother was arranged to marry). There is a lot of hate built up in that family and Jaxon has been brought up to hate hybrid dragons and Bryn.

Bryn is a strong female character and sticks up for herself. She is witty, funny and has comebacks for all of the negative retorts thrown at her. Magic comes very easy to her and has no trouble controlling her breath weapons (fire and ice/snow) right away.

Many of the secondary characters were fun and I enjoyed how the teacher, Mr. Stanton, was willing to help Bryn with her powers and with problems at the school.

There were some minor things that I did not like in the book:

1.   I did not like that the book ended so abruptly, as if it were just cut off. There was no epilogue to cushion the brick wall. I was up to 97% on my Kindle and when I turned the page, I was faced with the author’s acknowledgements. I know that there will be a sequel but the ending was just too abrupt for me. I felt like there needed to be more.

2.   The beginning of the novel moved way too fast for me. We barely have time to meet Bryn when suddenly she finds out that she’s a dragon.

3.   I felt that Bryn was too accepting of the fact that she was a dragon. She was able to shift into her dragon form, fly, shift back to her human form and use her breath weapons with no struggles. She was also able to use Quintessence right off the bat (something that is apparently difficult to do) with no problem. It just came too easy for her; I would have liked to have seen Bryn struggle with these things since everything is so new to her.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The plot immediately sucked me in and it was tough to put down. Going Down in Flames was a quick and easy read and I really sped through the book. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who likes paranormal, young adult, and fantasy books. I had no problem with the teen dialogue and didn’t feel it was a “young” book. I can’t wait for the second book to come out. I will definitely read it!

I give this book 4.5 paws. It was Purrtastic!

You can click the book cover to find the book on Amazon.You can visit the author's webpage here.  

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