Finding out on your sixteenth birthday that 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 cross-breed 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 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 of school, but even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you're falling for someone you can't have.
"Oh fantastic, another young adult dragon book" I think to myself sarcastically before I even read the first page. This cynicism is what is going to be my downfall one day because this was one of the best young adult dragon book I have ever read, right up there with Firebolt by Adrienne Woods if I think back to it. Whilst the writing was very obviously young adult in that the vocabulary was a tad dumbed down, I still really appreciated the story and the characters Cannon still managed to bring to life. This dragon society is so hierarchical and elitist that the broader themes immediately begin to move away from being childish and into territories that I was excited to explore. The overt sexism, racism (in dragon scale colours) and dogmatism parallel our society, explaining what could happen if we let one majority rule over all others and shows how easy it is for a governing body to become corrupted. With extremely likeable characters, interesting settings and deep themes, there is nothing to dislike about this awesome story and I will definitely be eagerly awaiting the next instalment.
Rating: 3.5/5 Dragons