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Review: Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon

Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon
Young Adult, Dragons
Ebook (330 pages, ENTANGLED TEEN)
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 Directorate'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.
Author Site: website

Plagued with Mary Sue Syndrome (2 stars)

I'm gonna come out and say it from the start... I'm probably in the minority of people who didn't like this book. A part of that may be that this is the rare exception of YA fiction that is just purely made for the lower YA reader. Twenty years ago I probably would have loved it but as an adult reader I just could not get past a lot of its flaws.

From the get-go the book reads funny, as if it was originally written in first person then gone back over and changed to third. I really feel like I would have enjoyed it more if Bryn had been narrating the story. Also problematic is that it goes from 0-60 in terms of her knowing nothing about being a dragon to everything being revealed and 'oh hey by the way now you're being sent off to a special dragon school where you're going to be a pariah because you're the only half-breed to ever exist' all in a matter of a day pretty much. Then there's the whole dragon 'patriarchy' crap... they're ruled by a group of all-male dragons (mostly of the snooty blue breed) that decide pretty much everything for them including who you can marry.

It might have been really good if it weren't bogged down in everyone trying to murder Bryn and the fact that she seems to care more about Zavien liking her and finding a way to be able to be with him instead of the fact that she's been separated from her parents and thrust into a whole new world. Then there's the whole insta-friends thing. Supposedly all of dragon society is pretty much segregated by color and yet everyone (even one of the snooty blues) wants to be her friend. It's all just so Mary Sue it just killed me.

If you're on the lower end of the YA reading age group I think you won't be bugged by the things that annoyed me and will really enjoy it. It has great ideas I just didn't personally care for the overall execution.

Notes: ARC received via publisher.

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