Early Review: Blazing the Trail by Deborah Cooke

, by Kt Clapsadl

Blazing the Trail by Deborah Cooke 
Dragon Diaries #3

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and Zoë Sorensson’s love life is heating up. Cute, loyal, and understanding, wolf shifter Derek is pretty much the perfect guy. He likes Zoë, and he knows what it’s like to have to keep a secret. Yet, Zoë can’t help but wish it was rebel rocker Jared asking her to the Valentine’s dance instead. But Jared’s too busy playing hot and cold with her heart, calling Zoë his dragon girl one minute and then taking special interest in her best friend the next.

Zoë is just about ready to breathe fire, especially once she uncovers a new threat that targets her friends. Although Zoë thought the Mages were defeated, they’re back and have invoked an old spell to give them new power – they plan to eliminate all shape shifters on the night of the big dance. Now, Zoë must lead an alliance of young shifters to battle the Mages and figure out exactly what – and who – she wants, before it all goes up in smoke…

Zoe did the impossible by bringing the remaining shifters together to form an alliance, so why can't she bring herself to choose a guy? On one hand she has the incredibly Derek who seems like the perfect match. He should be the obvious choice, but her heart seems to have a mind of its own. She just can't forget Jared, the sexy rocker who has come and gone from her life more times than she can count. But her relationship worries are the least of her problems. After destroying the power base of the Mages, their threat should have been a thing of the past. But now the Mages are brewing something more terrible than Zoe ever could have imagined. This time around, they aren't taking chances and plan to take all of the shifters out in one swift blow. It's up to Zoe and the other wildcards to take them out once and for all or risk their very extinction.

Zoe has come an incredibly long way since she was first introduced in Flying Blind. Her maturity level has really increased, and she takes the time to think things through before she acts. She's finally learning to trust her instincts. Granted, she still makes mistakes along the way, who doesn't? She's had a lot thrown at her in such a short time, and so much rests on her shoulders. I really admire how the good of the alliance between the shifters is always first priority in her mind. In fact, she's willing to sacrifice everything personally and emotionally for the good of the alliance if the situation calls for it. She's definitely proved herself and become the Wyvern all of the different shifters so desperately needed.

Above all, I was most impressed with the way Zoe handled her relationship issues. Prior to this point she had only been attracted to the inaccessible guys, the ones she could never have. First it was another Wyr which biologically couldn't have worked, then it was with the much older Jared who runs hot and cold with her constantly. After he left, she may have rushed into things a little fast with Derek because he was steadfast and she knew she could rely on him. But his loyalty alone can't make her love him, and I really like how she's finally taking a step back from things to really decide what she wants before she goes any further with anyone. This isn't your typical love triangle as she isn't really involved with either one, so there isn't any stringing along, and for that I am incredibly proud of her.

Blazing the Trail finishes the Dragon Diaries Trilogy in a really good place, but I'm not entirely sure whether the ending is a completely satisfying one. Don't get me wrong, the overall plot ties from the series are wound up, but things are just left too open to give me the sense of completion that I craved. Of course this could turn out to be a good thing if it is because Deborah has plans for these characters in the future. There were just so many possibilities that were opened up and I'd love to see where things go. But for now, I am mostly content and will just sit tight and hope for something more in the future when these great characters are a little older. Overall, Blazing the Trail was an impressive end to the Dragon Diaries that will definitely leave a smile on your face.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
  1. Flying Blind
  2. Winging It
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