Source: ARC via author. Thank you Aaron/Bach LLC (self published) for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: urban fantasy.
When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn’t part of any proper dragon’s vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling Council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place.
To keep his clan together and his skin intact, Julius is going to have to find a way to make his bloodthirsty siblings play fair. But there’s more going on in Heartstriker Mountain than politics. Every family has its secrets, but the skeletons in Bethesda’s closet are dragon sized, and with Algonquin’s war looming over them all, breaking his clan wide open might just be the only hope Julius has of saving it.
Again, my dragon page dividers are just the most appropriate ever. I love dragons. *happy sigh*
This is the review for the third part of the series, so there are surely some serious spoilers for the first two books. You can read my reviews of those here: Nice Dragons Finish Last and One Good Dragon Deserves Another. And you should really just give in, listen to my advice, and give this series a try.
I was lucky enough to be contacted about this advance copy by the author (or rather her husband), and you can bet it made my day! This was one of my most-anticipated reads of 2016 – mostly because Julius is one of the best characters I’ve ever read (he is such a good guy. I recently read The Goblin Emperor, which has a similarly kind-hearted protagonist and I can tell you again I am firmly in the good guy camp – as opposed to the bad boy camp).
Anyway, the review!
This was a really good sequel to what Marci and Julius’s story has been so far. As usual, I want to deal with the “bad” stuff first, so here’s a list for you:
- I wished the book was shorter. Sometimes, a long book can seem short but here, some scenes just seemed dragged out. And I found some details to be unnecessary, especially with the world-building, which is as impressive as always (this was my complaint with the first two books as well).
- There are so many subplots! I’m not sure how many parts this series is supposed to have but it’s difficult to see how everything will tie together in the end.
- Marci and Julius spent most of the book apart. Okay, this is only a problem because I love these two together and wanted more of the romance (you know I love romance). Theirs is as slow-burn as they come and it’s getting to a point where I’m shuffling in my seat, thinking: “Just get ON with it!”
- So many magical things! Yeah. We have the Mortal Spirits, the spirits of the land, and then there are things like the Leviathan that I just can’t wrap my head around – and I know we’ll be hearing more about them in the future and I’m wondering if they’re absolutely necessary. But hey, the magical-flying-monster-squid-thingy is pretty impressive, so yeah.
And I think that’s it. As I said, the book was really good and I enjoyed the hell out of it for the most part.
I have to say that I adore Aaron’s characters. Julius is absolutely the best, he’s a bit naïve at times but also smart and determined to make the world better for all Heartstrikers. Marci is the best mage out there but still has flaws and makes serious mistakes that cost her dearly. What I love most about them is the fact that they’re just so consistent, they do nothing out of character and yet they manage to surprise me – they are complex and layered but very, very “tight” characters (am I making sense here?).
And don’t even get me started on the other dragons. Aaron just writes the best dragons I’ve ever read (and considering my blog’s name, you can bet I’ve read a lot of dragon books). She’s also one of the rare authors who writes male and female characters equally well – I found Bob, Ian, and Justin just as compelling as Bethesda, Amelia, and Svena, for example (There’s this one scene where Svena and Amelia are discussing Svena’s future babies and I laughed out loud because they were just so draconic). But Chelsie, oh, Chelsie. She’s the best. Such a fierce warrior with a slightly charred marshmallow core.
As for the plot, well, apart from the fact that I thought it meandered a bit, I really like where things are going so far. I figured most of the stuff out before we got to the big reveals, but I think we were meant to – I won’t go into details because of my obvious hate of spoilers. Let’s just say that this part is just as action-packed as the first two. There’s a bit of a lull where we get to see the politics of the largest dragon clan on Earth, but even that’s interesting, especially if you’re into political intrigue. The book goes out with a bang, which is Aaron’s style, I think (based on these three books I’ve read), and I can’t wait to read what comes next.
All in all, this book was a joy to read and I’ll definitely be following Julius and his crew when the next book comes out (Goodreads currently has it listed as “untitled” with the expected publication date in 2017. I’m hoping more details will follow soon). If you like dragons at all and if urban fantasy is your cup of tea, do yourself a favor and read this series.
Also, make sure to follow Aaron on Twitter because she writes good writing advice posts + has a great online presence! (You know I usually don’t point out author Twitter accounts…)
Have you read any of the Heartstrikers books? What did you think? How about Aaron’s other books?
Do you have any recs for books with such loveable protagonists?
I’d love to hear from you! :)