Nice Dragons Finish Last: Review

December 18, 2014 2014, 4 star books, adult crossover, dragons, dystopian/post-apocalyptic, fantasy, Kim 26 ★★★★

Nice Dragons Finish Last: ReviewNice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers #1
Published by Self-Published on July 15, 2014
Genres: adult, dystopian, urban fantasy
Pages: 315
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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...


A soul sucking ghost cat. This book has one.

I do like to hook you into reviews with mentions of mystical cats, don’t I? Well, besides the cat this is an incredibly enjoyable futuristic urban fantasy romp. Add in one seriously lovable protagonist and in the beginnings of what is sure to be one epically cute romance and what more could I need? Oh, that’s right. Dragons.

In the America of the not too distant future, a meteor crash has reawakened magic for humans and unleashed dragons back into our world. I really loved that this is a futuristic urban fantasy with lots of cool sci fi touches and even a distinctly dystopian feel. In the newly created Detroit Free Zone, US law does not apply and dragons are expressly forbidden. Which makes it really a shame that our hero, Julius, a dragon, finds himself exiled to the DFZ amidst a wicked web of treachery of political dragon intrigue.

What I love about Julius that he is really a hero to root for. Give me the nice guys any old day! Nice Dragons Finish Last does for urban fantasy what The Goblin Emperor did for high fantasy: gives us an affable, optimistic, inherently lovable main character to battle for the light in what is often a grim and dark genre. Julius and Marci, the vulnerable but gutsy bad ass mage on the run from a dangerous pursuer, make this book such a delight to read.

And there’s a great secondary cast of characters too. I found myself pleasantly surprised at how fast the minor characters grew on me in a short period of time and even were able to geniuinely surprise in the plot. In particular, Julius’ brothers Bob and Justin make an impact (yes, Bob the Dragon). Did I mention yet that this book is really funny? Because this book is really funny.  For instance, Bob, a seer, is inclined to sign off on his correspondence with “Hearts and kisses, your infallible and all-knowing brother, Bob.”

The mysteries at the center of the book (Who is shaking up the dragon world and caught Julius up in these politics? What are Marci’s pursuers after? How do the two intertwine?) keep the story moving. The characters are in near constant peril and must use their wits, kindness, resourcefulness, and Marci’s magic to keep one step ahead.

Now to the burning question: Is there romance? A teeeensy bit. Not nearly enough for me but a very solid setup has been established. I expect we’ll be seeing between Marci and Julius that is going to be just gods honest adorable in future books.

The sight filled him with tenderness and surprise. Nothing, not even animals, fell asleep next to a dragon. If Justin had been here, he would have claimed this was just more proof that Julius was officially the saddest excuse for a predator to ever live. For Julius, though, it was a precious sign of trust, and the more he thought about that, the more determined he became to make sure it was not misplaced.

So, you know, obviously that’s super adorable. *sigh* Can it be 2015 and can Book 2 be out already? You must know the intensity of my grabby hands is quite high!

Super fun, fast paced, urban fantasy full of heart, and plenty of magic, charm and humor to spare, this self published gem was one of my favorite discoveries this year!



kim teal









26 Responses to “Nice Dragons Finish Last: Review”

  1. J. Oh

    Love this review; I don’t think I would have discovered this book otherwise, but now I definitely want to take a look. Adorable is just my kind of book :)

  2. Rashika

    Cats are just the perfect hook, Kim. You cannot help that. I want to read the book for the cat (and all the other awesome points you just made).

    I love the sound of the humor and I DEFINITELY want to meet Bob! I love the sound of the Julius too, he definitely seems like a character I’d want to root for and seriously, who cannot help but root for the nice guy?!?!?! :D


    Now I must get my hands on a copy so I may read this fabulousness.

    Fantastic review, Kim!! :)
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

    • Kim

      Haha yes I do think I can always reel ’em in with supernatural cat mentions! :p I really can’t wait for you to read this one! It’s so adorable and funny. And fantastic magic adventure! Yeah! If you enjoy urban fantasy, and dragons, and nice characters, and cutesy romances you just can’t go wrong with this one. :)
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Little Women

  3. Wendy Darling

    As you know, I’m enjoying this book so much, toooooo! Rachel writes dialogue and scenes like nobody else, and you know, DRAGONS. :D I need to try to finish this before end of year, time has just gotten away from me. I’m so happy you loved it and reviewed it for us, though–she deserves all the readers in the world. She needs to hurry this romance along, though! RACHEL ARE YOU LISTENING?

    • Kim

      Yes agreed! I just adore her writing-the dialogue, the characters, the HUMOR, everything! I was so happy to see she confirmed there’ll be a bump in romance for Book 2 :D I’m so embarrassing with my simple needs. I’m very eager to read the Eli Monpress books too! Ah! So many books so little time!!!
      Kim recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: Little Women

  4. Carina Olsen

    Aw. <3 Amazing review Kim. This book sounds pretty sweet :D And I like that cover a lot. <3 But aw. Little romance? :( Sad face. But that quote is adorable. Love it. Thank you for sharing about this book. <3 I hope waiting for book two will go fast and that you will love it even more :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #166

    • Kim

      It is sweet! And also action packed and mystery driven and awesome! There was such a little amount of romance but a really great promise of future romance. There’s a solid setup here and I’m quite confident for the potential in future volumes! Ahh 2015 just be here already!

    • Kim

      Haha right? I think it’s rather hard not to be completely taken in. The book will grip you too, I promise!

    • Kim

      Yesss! I’m so eager for Book 2 already! It’s such a fun and fresh new series in urban fantasy!

    • Kim

      Yay I’m so excited to hear that! It’s such a fun story I’m sure you’ll be just as hooked as I was!

    • Kim

      Yes! I only read Fortune’s Pawn but I really enjoyed it! I think I like this one just a teeeeny bit better. But that’s because I’m more of a fantasy gal than science fiction. I adore both, though! She also has the Eli Monpress series that I hear is really good! I can’t wait to get to them. Oh but the TBR is ever so long. Reader problems!