One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers #2) by Rachel Aaron
Published in 2015 by Aaron/Bach, LLC.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

Genre: urban fantasy.

My rating:

After barely escaping the machinations of his terrifying mother, two all knowing seers, and countless bloodthirsty siblings, the last thing Julius wants to see is another dragon. Unfortunately for him, the only thing more dangerous than being a useless Heartstriker is being a useful one, and now that he’s got an in with the Three Sisters, Julius has become a key pawn in Bethesda the Heartstriker’s gamble to put her clan on top.

Refusal to play along with his mother’s plans means death, but there’s more going on than even Bethesda knows, and with Estella back in the game with a vengeance, Heartstriker futures disappearing, and Algonquin’s dragon hunter closing in, the stakes are higher than even a seer can calculate. But when his most powerful family members start dropping like flies, it falls to Julius to defend the clan that never respected him and prove that, sometimes, the world’s worst dragon is the best one to have on your side.

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This is the review for the second part of the series which inevitably means that there will be spoilers for book one. You can read my review of Nice Dragons Finish Last here.

I enjoyed the first book of the series very much and I’m glad to say that the second one did not disappoint. I wanted to see more character development, more Julius and Marci, more dragon politics – and I got it all. One of the only complaints about book one was that I didn’t get to see enough dragons (as in, dragons in their dragon form, not in their human bodies) and this part definitely takes care of that.

Julius and Marci are working as a removal team for curses and unwanted magical creatures in post-apocalyptic Detroit where Algonquin, the lake spirit who flooded the entire area after the wave of magic hit some sixty years previously, rules with an iron fist. Julius isn’t even supposed to be in Detroit because dragons are hated and hunted there but he’s still sealed in his human form (courtesy of his “loving” mama). 

And then he’s plucked from Detroit by said mama because he’s to attend a party with a number of his older (more ambitious, more dangerous) siblings – and several immensely old dragons from a rival clan. What could possibly go wrong?

Without going into too much detail, let me say that the plot really thickens in this sequel, the hints that we got in the previous book come to bloom, and we see the dragons as they truly are: a highly intelligent, manipulative, invasive species. I liked the fact that while Julius is said to be different from the rest of his family, he’s also a cunning individual in his own right. And Marci, always impressed by dragons, makes it hard to root for dragons only – humans can be seriously badass, too. Oh, and while I’m always happy to see my favourite characters fall in love and pair up, I was glad that the romance between these two is still pretty slow! (I never thought I’d say this…)

I really liked the fact that we got to see more of Julius’s favourite siblings. Justin is as hot-headed as always, but his heart is in the right place. Chelsie is bound by duty but surprised me at every turn. And Bob, the all-knowing seer, found himself stumped (or did he?). They were great. And we got to meet Amelia, the eldest daughter of Bethesda, the heir to the Heartstriker clan. Woot! She’s great.

There was more worldbuilding here, too: I complained in my first review that the novel is quite description-heavy sometimes and this didn’t change here (this is mostly the reason for my 4-heart rating). There was a lot of explanation of the magical system that left me feeling confused sometimes but I can’t say that it really lessened my enjoyment by much. I’m just saying this because if you really hate this sort of thing, consider yourself warned.

All in all, this was a great read. I was afraid of it falling prey to the second book syndrome, but I’m impatient to read the final instalment of the trilogy (at least I think it’s supposed to be a trilogy?). I’m curious about how the story will continue – there were hints at the end, of course, but this second book also had a very final tone to it, a lot of troubles were solved, etc – but this is good, too, because a lot of middle books in trilogies open up too many questions and then the author has to bring everything to a close in the last book and it ends up being a mess. I don’t think this will happen to Rachel Aaron, she seems to have her story well in hand and I can’t wait to see what Julius and Marci will do next.

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Did you read Nice Dragons Finish Last or One Good Dragon Deserves Another? What did you think?

Do you like your magic systems and world-building complex and detailed or do you prefer the story to focus on the plot and characters?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • Love this series SO MUCH! Not sure if it’s going to be a trilogy, but regardless I’m waiting on pins and needles for book three. Julius is such a sweetie, I just want to hug him and squeeze him ^_^

    • Yeah, it’s rare to meet such a great character, he’s cute (and somehow kind of hot?) without being an asshole at all! I love good guys in books, I’ll always choose them over bad boys.

  • Greg Hill

    I knew there was a sequel to the first book but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the cover before, and I love it. All those cats and their eyes… very nice. I like the idea of post apocalyptic Detroit and dragons, and glad to hear this one keeps up the quality of the first one.

    • The cats are SUPER CREEPY, let me tell you that. SUPER EXTRA creepy. Yeah, I was really afraid the quality would be worse – I’ve seen this happen so often in fantasy series – but it’s a really great story. And right, this is your part of the world – I always like reading books set in places I’ve visited, it makes me connect a bit more.

  • I think I’ve heard of another blogger talking and loving this series, but I can’t remember who. Glad you enjoyed this one. The title is catchy, isn’t it.

    • Yeah, the titles are great – and I saw really good reviews for this, too, so I got the first part when it was a Kindle deal and loved it! I’m so glad I gave it a try.

  • I haven’t heard of the first book, but yayyy for this one being good! (Despite a touch of second-book-blues?) I LOVE DRAGON STORIES THOUGH, so clearly I need to look this up on goodreads. XD

    • Hi, Cait, thanks for stopping by. Yes, this trilogy is full of fantastic dragons (they even differ by territory: Russian dragons are great white scaly lizards, while American ones are richly plumed). And this isn’t a book about romance disguised as a book about dragons – it actually has to do with dragon politics and history and magic and WOW.

  • Initially, I wanted to read the book because of the cover. Look at all of those cats!!! But then I read a little further and found out that the story takes place in Detroit, which means this book takes place in my state. Neat! I’m kind of curious to see how they portray post-apocalyptic Detroit since it isn’t the shiniest gem in my state to begin with…

    • Oh, I think you’ll like what Aaron did with Detroit. :) The first book, Nice Dragons Finish Last, is more worldbuilding-heavy than this one, it really paints a detailed picture of the place.
      And those cats – let me just warn you, they’re SUPER creepy. :)

  • I’m SO glad that you’re still enjoying this series, Kaja! I always feel kind of nervous about recommending unusual books to friends (I know you feel this too, haha) so I’m glad this series continues to be a win.

    Julius really comes into his own in this book. I agree, seeing him plot and scheme – while still remaining true to his nice guy self – was awesome. And how gratifying was it when he bested a certain matriarchal dragoness?! :D

    I’m really intrigued by the Marci and Ghost story line, can’t wait to see where that goes. I love Bob forever, I totally have a crush on him (even with the bizarre pigeon thing). And will we ever find out what mysterious thing happened to Chelsie in China?!

    • Ah, I’ve read several books that you recommended now and they were all really, really good, so I think I’m ready to follow you blindly. :) (Or nearly so, you do read some scary stuff) ;)

      YES, that’s it exactly – he is cunning without sacrificing his integrity and good guy status. Ha, Bethesda would definitely make it on my “batshit crazy mothers” list if I was re-doing it. No love lost for her.

      Haha Bob is fantastic – though he’s also scary sometimes. He just knows so much. He’s also a 1000 years old or something, eep. And no, I don’t think we’ll ever find out about Chelsie and China :D

      Marci and Ghost are sure to be big players in the last book, I can’t wait! :)