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Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
It's not only urban fantasy, is kind of post-apocalyptic dystopia too. Sometime in the future, a meteor crashed into the earth, awakening long sleeping magic. The Lady of the Great Lakes, Algonquin woke, flooding the Detroit area and claiming it as her own. Annexed from the US, it has become the Detroit Free Zone (DFZ), home to all manner of spirits, mages, shamans, anyone looking for a place to start over, no matter how dangerous. Her laws care little about humans treat each other (there are vending machines for guns, alcohol and party drugs), but woe to him who dares pollute her waters or endanger her fish. And no dragons. Dragons are forbidden, and she's placed a high bounty on them.
Which is too bad for Julius. His mother, the head of the Heartstriker clan, has bound him in human form and booted him to DFZ in hopes that he will finally make something of himself. The problem is Julius is too nice. There's not much dragon about him. He'd rather pay for services than demand them in exchange for letting you live. He'd rather ask than beat it out of you. And if he's not careful, that kind of attitude is going to get him killed.
It doesn't help that one of his (many) brothers, Bob, is trying to help. The problem with Bob is he is a Seer. All knowing, but not all remembering. He sends helpful texts like, "Duck." And then a few minutes later, "Duck." And then, "Goose." Julius quickly finds out that his family has more than one reason to oust him from the nest and throw him into family politics, and few of those reasons are beneficial to him.
Julius has to find a way to not betray his nature of trust and caring while still earning the respect of his family. If he doesn't, his mother will eat him. And she means it this time.
What I love most about this story is that It's a twist on the whole "tortured soul" hero theme. Instead of fighting his internal desire to be bad and succeeding by defeating those urges and choosing what is good and right, Julius is fighting *external* pressure, when all he actually wants is to allow his good nature to rule his decisions. Most of his life, that has lead him to abstain from any decision making whatsoever, so as not to be forced to choose between societal expectations and internal desire, but to survive his family's machinations, he has to figure out how to reconcile his nature within dragon society. He needs to figure out how to be strong without sacrificing who he is.
What a breath of fresh air. Where has this book been in my tbr pile I should have dusted it off to read/listened (the audio is really good) forever ago.
Another YA book that proves that you don’t have to have sighing teenagers, whose eye dilate in a spectacular shade of blue and let out breaths they didn’t know they were holding to have tension and a great story. You could just actually have a plot and cool characters. This was actually so good I don’t even want to put it in my YA pile.
Julius is a horrible dragon. He is the scrawniest least dragon like of all his many siblings. He has no ambition to gain power, no drive to hoard treasure and he is nice to humans of all things. His mother has had enough of him hiding out in his room playing on the internet and not being dragonlike so she has bound him in his human form and he has a month to do something Dragon-worthy or she is going to eat him.
I loved this story. Julius is adorable in so many ways and he brought out this mothering instinct in me that made me want to nurture the kid. But it isn’t just Julius, he hooks up with a witch to get a little help and I totally LOVE her. Marci is a fantastic character and she was so much fun with her interesting witchy contraptions, bubbly personality and curious nature. She is hard not to like her but she is definitely has some demons and secrets that might be of a not so nice nature.
But if you don’t read this for one of the best Beta-Boy characters I’ve ever read, read it for BOB.
So let me make sure I’ve got this straight,” Marci said. “The three great dragon seers are the Black Reach, Estella the Northern Star, and Bob?” When Julius nodded, she arched an eyebrow. “One of these things is not like the others.”
“He’s actually Brohomir, Great Seer of the Heartstrikers, but he only answers to that on formal occasions or when he’s booking tables at restaurants.”
Bob is Julius’s favorite brother or at least he will be in about a year according to Bob the Heartstrikers great and powerful seer. Thing is getting caught up in Bob’s potential futures could also get you killed. He was hilarious and one of the best side characters I’ve read in a long time. He seems a little on the cray-cray side but that was part of the fun of his character.
“Don’t get your feathers in a fluff,” he chided. “I’m here to help! I can’t let you have all the fun, can I?”
Julius gaped at him. “What’s fun about almost dying?”
“But that’s the best sort of fun,” Bob replied. “The kind you can look back on centuries later and laugh about. Of course, since I’m always centuries ahead, I can laugh about it right now.”
There was some ground work set and you can tell that there are some bigger dragon politics and machinations going on it the background but the overall story and getting to know the characters, magic and world was a lot of fun. I’m so happy I finally got to this book
I totally recommend it to any Fantasy lover.
Julian's personal weakness is that he's a nice guy. And Dragons aren't nice. At all. It's pissed off his mother and caused him problems.
But he has decided to embrace being nice. Rachel Aaron has bucked the classic hero prototype that heroes are generally a nice guy because that's their default setting. Instead being a decent person (dragon, whatever) is a burden to overcome. It's a fun twist to make the nice guy thing a disadvantage that he can use to against his foes.
Several characters, especially the quirky dragon seer, Bob, are wonderful. Marci, the mage, is not just a paper cutout female to compliment the protagonist, but is a strong co-protagonist, perfectly willing to kill, while Julian, the dragon is more squeamish about taking life. And Ghost the Dead Cat is quite terrible in an interesting way.
There are lots of references to pop fantasy culture things to find. Some are obvious, some are not, which makes it fun to wonder if you found something intentional or if you are imagining it.
I enjoyed it. And I look forward to the next one immensely.
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