Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #1) – Rachel Aaron

nice dragons finish lastAs 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…

Rating: 4/5

It was hard to hold the moral high ground while also trying to hold in your innards. 

Don’t judge a book by its title – this is not just another cheesy paranormal read, but rather a delightfully fun urban fantasy with interesting world-building. I will admit, it took me a little while to get into this one, but soon enough I was wrapped up in the world of Julius, a nerdy, introverted, earnest dragon, who is trapped in his human form and considered by his family to be an utter failure due to his desire to be nice instead of embodying the expected traits of ambition, ruthlessness and violence. He is accompanied on his adventures by Marcie, a mage, who has her own issues to deal with, on the run and chased by her father’s murderers.

You get the sense that we’ve only been shown the tip of the iceberg in terms of the complicated draconic (literally!) family plots that are coming into play, which has certainly left me intrigued for the next instalments. Furthermore, I adored the side-characters – they are all so memorable! From enigmatic, hilariously annoying Bob to hit-first-ask-questions-later-Justin, brutal Chelsie, plotting Estella and runaway Katya – it was so much fun getting to know some of Julius’s dodgy relatives and rivals.

“Well, he’s not really my friend,” Julius admitted. “I don’t even know his real name, actually, but I was his healer in the game, and the bond between healer and tank runs deep.”

While there are death-threats aplenty, this is overall a light-hearted affair, compared to its urban fantasy contemporaries. It was a wonderfully fun read, even if there was a lot of running back and forth, and I highly recommend it to those who love the genre.

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7 thoughts on “Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #1) – Rachel Aaron

  1. Wow. Judging by the cover & title, I wouldn’t have thought to give this one a second look… But moral high ground and innards in one sentence? Yep, I’m intrigued all right…

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  2. Every time I see someone mention this book, I am reminded of how much I wanna read it because the protagonist sound downright adorable. Lord knows I need a lighter fare in my life after reading a whole bunch of depressing books. I should just bite the bullet and order the Kindle version haha. *goes off to contemplate on Amazon*

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