Source: purchased for Kindle.
Genre: urban fantasy.
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.
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.
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! :)