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Dragon Diaries #1
by Deborah Cooke
Zoe has dragon powers. . .or so she has been told. Zoe is the Wyvern of the Pye: the only female dragon shapeshifter and one with special powers. However, Zoe hasn’t been able to harness those powers and isn’t sure she is special at all. Zoe feels like a normal girl, and she’s struggling because she can’t tell her best friend Meagan about the changes that are about to happen.
Zoe hasn’t yet begun to understand what it means to be the Wyvern or how to change into a dragon, but when her best friend is bullied, her inner dragon makes an appearance. Suddenly Zoe is sent to boot camp with her shape-shifting friends. What Zoe hoped would be a time of learning becomes a time of fighting and her friends are beginning to turn against her. Zoe must learn to master her powers and stop the Mages from eliminating her and her friends—but first, she must convince her friends that she is not the enemy.
Zoe tells her story in a humorous manner, which shows the confusion of being a teenage girl. She isn’t the confident girl she dreams of being, but she’s working on believing in herself. The story contains suspense, action, and a lot of dragon fighting. Even though the fights often cover several pages, the wounds are not described in detail. In the end, Zoe is a very likable character who learns that believing in her capabilities is an important step towards becoming the Wyvern.
Besides the frequent profanity, the only other downside of the book is that Zoe is boy crazy. At the beginning of the story, she has a crush on one boy. On the same day, a young man drives her to boot camp. On the drive, she has sexual longings for him and kisses him on the cheek. Then when she gets to boot camp, she is again contemplating the hotness of a boy at camp.
- Zoe goes on a motorcycle ride with Jared. When he helps her with her helmet, “his fingers were warm on my chin as he fastened the strap, and I got all shivery at his touch. . . It was hard to say anything with my heart lunging around my chest as if it were trying to break free.”
- Several times in the story, Zoe has a sexual longing for Jared and thinks about kissing him. In one instance she thinks, “. . . but he was hot. Having him so near me made bits of me tingle that I hadn’t even known I had.”
- When Zoe thinks about almost kissing Jared, she thinks, “It would have been educational. An experience. A new sensation. That was the only reason I was curious.”
- Zoe sees two of the characters, “making out like they’d invented it.” Later the same couple was, “locked into one hummer of a kiss, one that seemed to go on and on forever.”
- When Zoe goes into her dad’s memory, she is careful. “I didn’t want to poke around too much there, certainly didn’t want to learn things I’d rather not know about my parents—I mean, they must have had sex, right? At least once?”
- When Zoe asks if two people “did it”, her father “inclined his head, too diplomatic to speculate on anyone else’s sexual relations.”
- Zoe wonders if she will lose her powers when she loses her virginity. “I was already fond of my powers, such as they were, but not excited by the prospect of lifelong celibacy just to ensure that I kept them.”
- Two girls corner Zoe and her friend Meagan in the P.E. shower. During the confrontation, “Yvonne hooked Meagan’s ankle with one foot, jerking it hard. Meagan fell quickly, cracking her jaw on the tile floor. She didn’t move. And there was blood running toward the drain.” Zoe begins to turn into a dragon which scares the girls away.
- Zoe becomes jealous of another girl and, “was tempted to throw a rock at her head.”
- Two of the dragons fight. “He slashed, and Adrian flinched as one talon tore at the side of his face . . . Adrian went after him, striking him twice more, than giving him a wallop with his tale. He didn’t cut him; he didn’t burn him—he just thumped him.”
- While drunk, several humans change into dragons and fight. One dragon is hit with dragonfire while trying to protect Zoe and, “I felt him stiffen in pain. I smelled his scales burning. And I heard the rhythm of his wings falter. Just before we fell out of the sky. Shit.”
- In a dream, Zoe sees a boy hung lifeless from a tree. The boy begins talking to her, which scares her “shitless.”
- Zoe turns into a dragon and fights with a shapeshifter. “I slashed at him with my talons, caught him across the snout, and ripped the skin from the corner of his eye to the edge of his nostril. He bellowed in pain, then belted me.” The fight continues for several pages with other dragons joining in. Because they are under a spell, several of the dragons try to kill Zoe and she only escapes because she turns into a salamander.
- Over several pages, a fight between Zoe and another dragon is described. She “slammed him in the cojones with my tail at the same time that I punched him under the chin. Then he was the one reeling in pain.”
- One of the characters explains how the Mages want to eliminate all other shapeshifters. In order to take a shapeshifter’s power, a Mage must eat them, “right to the last shred and drop.”
- The end of the story has a dramatic fight between the dragons and the Mages. The fight includes trying to cast and break spells. Although the dragons use their fire, there is not a lot of description of the damage. When a Mage turns into a snake, Zoe, “stepped on it, hard, and ground my heel down into the floor . . . his scream was very satisfying.” During the fight, a dragon causes an earthquake and the building falls down hitting a Mage in the skull. “It was his blood under the rubble, and I couldn’t feel a lot of regret.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- A group purchases sparkling wine, a case of beer, and a bottle of bourbon. Later, the group gets drunk and begins to fight with each other.
- There are frequent curse words used throughout the story. The profanity that is used includes: holy frick, bullshit, holy shit, badass, shit, and smart-ass.
- There are several times that Zoe says or thinks about her emotional state as being “pissed off.” She also thinks that she doesn’t want to “piss off” her father.
- Zoe’s mom ran a “crapload of red lights.”
- Once when Zoe talks about rules, one of the characters says, “Fuck rules.”
- During a fight, Zoe calls a girl “bitch.”
- When someone loses the dragon’s scales, another character says, “You fucked up.”
- Much of the book deals with the dragon culture. For instance, each dragon has a unique ability such as being able to see into the future, being able to communicate with the earth, being able to fix a dragon’s scales, etc.
- If someone can take a person’s clothing while they are changing into a dragon, the dragon must fulfill three wishes.
- Zoe has dreams that are more like visions. During one dream, a woman shows Zoe that if she shuts her right eye, she can see supernatural elements of the world.
- Zoe has a rue stone which is, “kind of like tarot cards for Vikings. They carved symbols on small stones, then used them to tell the future.”
- Zoe has a range of dragon powers such as being able to give people dreams, as well as being able to use her mind to locate where people are.
- Dragons can beguile humans, “essentially it’s a kind of hypnosis that works on humans.” Usually, dragons use it to make humans forget they saw a human transform.
- Mages can cast spells, but Jared uses his voice to conjure a spell to break the Mages’ spell.
- Two ghosts appear to Zoe to show her how to break a spell and win the fight against the Mages.
- At one point, Zoe prays, “to every deity I’d ever heard of. One of them must have listened.”
- Zoe and her father discuss reincarnation. Her father says that Donovan’s named his son Nick. “It wasn’t just to honor a lost comrade. Donovan believed that Nick was Nikolas reborn.”