Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last

Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)Author: Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers, #1
Published: July 15th 2014
Publisher: Rachel Aaron
Format: ebook, 315 pages
Buy: Amazon

As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn't fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience. 
Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ--a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit--Julius has one month to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test. 
He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons...

When this book first came my way, I didn’t recognize the name Rachel Aaron and was surprised when a friend talked about her like she’s someone I’m supposed to be very familiar with. The joke’s on me though, guys, because Rachel Aaron is Rachel Bach, author of the Paradox trilogy, published by Orbit, which I’m currently enjoying in audio format.

For reasons I can only assume, Aaron/Bach chose to take the self-published route with her new Heartstrikers series, and while I’m sure promoting it will be more difficult, I have a feeling traditional publishers would have tried to tame this book, change it to make it fit into the usual genre confines and definitions. Trying to turn a book like Nice Dragons Finish Last into something less than it actually is would be akin to cold-blooded murder.

Nice Dragons Finish Last has elements of urban fantasy, science fiction and futuristic dystopia, combined in a way that works splendidly. The story takes place in a futuristic version of Detroit called Detroit Free Zone, where magic came back with a bang after a comet strike in 2035. It is the only place where dragons are absolutely illegal and it’s where Julius’s mother decided to dump him, bound in his human form, with merely a month to prove himself as a worthy dragon.

According to his family, Julius is a poor excuse for a dragon. He has very little ambition and no violent tendencies whatsoever. He’s in no hurry to outsmart anyone and he doesn’t much care about collecting treasure. From a dragon’s perspective he is essentially useless and his numerous family members don’t hesitate to tell him so loudly and as often as possible. Even with merely a month to impress them, Julius can’t quite force himself to be the dragon his mother wants him to be. While certainly resourceful, he is soft-hearted and kind, and very reluctant to step on anyone’s toes.

The real fun starts when Julius teams up with a young witch from Nevada. After that, it’s one hilarious adventure after another for the two of them. Aaron did an excellent job with these characters as well as several secondary ones, especially Julius’s brother Bob who is a constant source of amusement.

I hesitate to reveal any plot points since I feel that it's best to go into this blindly. Urban fantasy fans, fans of dragons and especially fans of good humor will find plenty to love about Rachel Aaron’s new series. I certainly did.

On a side note, I'm going away for a week starting today. The kiddo and I are taking a short vacation and we'll have limited internet access. I have posts scheduled on my usual days and I WILL comment back, I just might be a bit slower than usual.

I'll miss you guys! (No, I won't. I'll be having fun.)


  1. I don't know about you, but Julius sounds like he'd make for a great house pet! Just imagine how much money I could save on charcoal! I can just train him to breathe fire on my kebabs and voila! Dinner in a flash. Lol.

    You find the best books, Maja. And you make me want to read a book that's not a genre I tend to like. Sigh.

  2. Ooo, I love the title of this one.

    Dragons! I love dragons! Well, fierce ones anyway, but I'm sure I'm going to like Julius too because he sounds sweet :)

  3. This one sounds like a fun and exciting read! I do love dragons and I am curious to see where the plot goes as the blurb has me intrigued. I actually haven't heard of the author and her other series but how curious you should be reading her other books at the same time.
    Hope you have a nice week away!

  4. First, have a fab vacay!
    Second, I really enjoyed this story! Rachel Bach/Aaron not only wrote the fabulous Paradox series but, as Aaron, wrote another series (I can't say anything about it because I haven't read it but it has good ratings). Not sure why she decided to self pub but I hope she does well because it was a fun story.

  5. Firstly, I love that title and secondly, this looks like an entertaining read that I would really enjoy. I have to check it out for sure.
    I love the sound of the characters and humor in a book is always a plus in my book.
    I have to look more into this series.
    Lovely review, Maja.

  6. I love that this blended so many genres pretty seamlessly. This sounds like a terrific read Maja!

  7. Oh I didn't know about this one and I didn't know about the name either but now I'm quite curious. The fact that it's different genres in the same book is intriguing. thanks for the discovery!

  8. Hey sweet girl. Have a fabulous week off. I have not heard of this author and now you have me curious. I am always looking for good UF and I haven't read a dragon book in ages. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. First... I'm jelly but still wishing you lots of fun! :D Have a great vacay!

    This one sounds like something I would enjoy. I've been enjoying the whole dragon concept and I love humor in books. Hm... I do need to add this one to the wishlist. Love that it was a good surprise for you!


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