Going Down In Flames by Chris Cannon

OK, this is actually my 3rd reread of this book, and I’m back to rereading it because the 3rd book in this series came out yesterday (though I thought it came out today, hence I’m more behind than I was expecting to be).  My review hasn’t changed since the last time I reread it, it’s still all sorts of awesome with a few flaws!!

Synopsis:
22591993If 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.

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My Review:
On reread, this is full 4 stars of goodness, maybe even more. The things I listed below still existed, but I just didn’t care as much b/c I LOVED all the rest of it. Bryn is an AWESOME heroine, so spunky and hilarious! Can’t wait to read book 2!!

Original review:
3.5 stars — OK this was a surprise in a few different ways. Crap, but first: I received a copy of this book through netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

OK, so I started this book and was immediately hit with a “wait, whoa!” And not in a good way. This book launches us immediately into Bryn learning about her dragon heritage….which can be a mixed bag. Yes, it’s nice to get right down to the meat of the story. My “wait, whoa!” moment came b/c I hadn’t had ANY time to get to know Bryn AT ALL, and then all this information was being blasted at both me and her, and I couldn’t help but think to myself “OK, I know the fire coming out her mouth is kind of hard to set aside, but wow she’s really accepting of this.” It all just seemed a bit…easy? Unrealistic? I mean, maybe if we’d had some background, and she’d always thought there was something strange about her family….or maybe if she’d started with little clues (like smoke coming out her mouth when she’s mad), but it’s like BAM! And she has a couple moments where she *thinks* she should be hysterical, but instead she just sort of shrugs and says “OK”. So I was worried. I really thought the plot sounded cool, but this was not starting off on a Lenore-approved note. Never fear readers, if you have it in you — STICK WITH THIS BOOK!

I ended up just going with the flow and accepting it, albeit with some wariness, and somewhere when she gets settled in the school I started to get a better feel for Bryn, and then the story really sucked me in. So while the beginning is still a nay mark for me, the rest of the book sucked me in and took me on a ride. In some ways it reminded me of a very strange cross between Harry Potter and Rachel Higginson’s Starcrossed series….just in a few basic ways. You have a 16 year old girl who gets the surprise of her life discovering a whole other world that exists (and she’s a part of)….she’s kind of an outcast, especially at school. She goes off and has to live away from her parents in a dorm. She learns a lot about this whole new world. There’s even a Hogsmeade type town. So it had a bit of homey familiarity to it that let me hunker right down.

Bryn was fun, and sassy, and holy fiery temper. I LOVED her huge appetite, and she had some great banter with so many of the other characters. Zavien was suitably mysterious and sexy. Ivy and Clint were ADORABLE together. Merrick amused me to no end. Even Jaxon, Rhianna and Lillith were intriguing characters “from the other side”.

In the end there were still a lot of things that bothered me about this book, but I think it has a bit of “first book-itis”. There were parts that maybe didn’t need to be in there (Keegan? Beth at the beginning?) unless they’ll be fleshed out in later books. And the book ended rather abruptly. I knew it was a series, so it wasn’t that I was expecting a huge wrap up, but….I don’t know. It felt like the end of a chapter.

Despite all that, I thoroughly enjoyed the world, thoroughly enjoyed the characters, and look forward to seeing where this series will go.

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