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Monday, June 30, 2014

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ARC Review: Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon

Going Down in Flames by Chris Cannon

Going Down in Flames
Chris Cannon
Publication Date: June 30, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Ember

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.
Review copy provided by EntangledTeen for review – thanks!

For once, I think my instincts were right (not that I ever listen) about Going Down in Flames. I was expecting a lot more.

The idea and the concept were unique and interesting. Shape-shifting dragons? Check. Oddball at a prestigious boarding school Bryn is being sent to on her sixteenth birthday? Check. Proof that the Directorate isn't always right? Check. TRYING to stay alive? Ooo, interesting. Check! All the ingredients of a great book. I was even so excited about DRAGONS!
Plus, the pretty cover and the tag line: If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution.

WHAT REVOLUTION?!?!?! is my biggest question right at this very moment. There's no revolution, not really. At least, not one that Bryn starts. That revolution, which is apparently peaceful and started by Zavien-Not-Zayn, was there well before Bryn comes around. She doesn't even know about that revolution or even the fact that she's a dragon until said dude starts stalking her for awhile.
So I'm really curious as to the definition of revolution here. Because in the long run, it's all sparkly rainbows and unicorns with the abrupt end. The last sentence? Damn Directorate. If anything, damning the Directorate shows there hasn't been a revolution. Sure, Bryn makes her point. She's a crossbreed and she's just like any other dragon. She made a change. To have a love life, that is, but it's not like she gets to choose. I mean, her grandmother and the mom of the dude she hates most attempts at playing matchmaker. Arranged marriage still exists.

*sighs* Not a dramatic change if you ask me. A change for future crossbreeds, sure. Certainly the Directorate wasn't overthrown.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Going Down in Flames for me were the death threats. The way they're written and set up. They're thrown in at surprising, yet right times. Oh, and there's no warning on those attempts. It kept me at the edge of my seat trying to guess where the next attack would be at.

There also seems to be something missing from the characters. Particularly with Jaxon and Bryn. They hate each other and then all of a sudden, he starts helping her. Not just to save his reputation, but to protect her. There is something remotely wrong with a character who hates you from the bottom of their hearts to "protecting you." O_o
Jaxon: I also did it to help you.
Bryn: I saved your life. Don’t get snippy with me.
Jaxon: *slams coffee cup down* I came to secure protection for your life.
Tell me there isn't something wrong with that. O_o Because it ends shortly after, and now I can't really decide if Bryn gets stuck marrying Jaxon due to arranged marriage or she gets to choose who she wants to marry. If there are any other life threatening stuff going on afterward or the dragons that used to hate her now treat her as an equal. If her mother actually gets a happy reunion with her parents. If Zavien is still stuck with his intended or if he and the Revisionists peacefully achieve more individual rights for dragons.
There are just so many questions that aren't answered yet, that this feels like an entire end is missing and Going Down in Flames is the very first of a trilogy or series. Yet... this is a stand alone according to Goodreads... Am I missing something, or did anyone else who read this feel the same way?

2.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.