Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstriker #1) – Rachel Aaron

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Summary:

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…

Review:

Nice Dragons Finish Last is a bit of an odd beast. On the one hand, the genre, the age of the protagonists, some of their actions and certain aspects of the plot 100% would suggest that this book is an adult title. On the other hand, there’s this earnestness, this You Be You / Embrace Who You Are message that runs throughout the book and in a way this sense of chasteness is all very Young Adult. It’s this odd dichotomy that results in a book that doesn’t really comfortable in its own skin, ironically, not unlike its own protagonist. For the record – it’s technically young adult, or so the author claims.

It’s a shame too, because Aaron’s big strength – the magic – is as clever as it’s ever been in her other books, and having dragons to play around with as protagonists is kind of fun, even if it doesn’t culminate in anything particularly unique – if we’re honest here, for the vast majority of the story, these could have been some kind of clan of weres or shifters without too much of a noticeable difference.

I’ll admit – this book grew on me as I read on and I ultimately did enjoy it. But do I want to keep reading? Do I want to recommend it? I don’t know, probably because I don’t know who I’d recommend it too. I don’t think most UF fantasy fans will like it – there’s too much much YA present. I’m not sure if a lot of YA fans will like it because it mostly feels like an adult novel. Maybe fans of both? There’s a REASON that UF is predominantly in the adult space, you know?

So yeah. If you like UF and you read YA, give this a look. Everyone else can probably skip it, though at its permanent $4.99 price point (or free on Kindle Unlimited), it’s a low risk investment if you like the sample chapters.

Verdict: Borrow it.

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