Book Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers Book 1) by Rachel Aaron

Julius's mother is tired of him being a failure of a dragon, so she seals his true form and sends him to a city where dragons are hunted for bounty, his life on the line unless he can prove he's capable of being a good dragon. When he's given a job by his brother, he hires a mage named Marci for help, and the two end up working together to try and solve both their dangerous situations.

Book Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers Book 1) by Rachel Aaron | reading, books, book reviews, paranormal/urban fantasy
Title: Nice Dragons Finish Last
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 287
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


I remember this book exploding into popularity in the blogosphere a few years ago, and I can see why so many people love it!

I’ve apparently been on a dragon kick lately, and I liked this version. They’re essentially shifters, although their dragon form is their true form. They have a lot of magic. What’s really fun though is that they’re different from humans personality-wise because they’re all greedy and manipulative and ruthless and ambitious, and they consider humans beneath them, akin to pets or slaves rather than equals, which is why Julius is such a bad dragon—he’s too nice.

The world-building was interesting too. It’s a future in which a meteor brought back all the magic that the world once had, so now there are spirits and dragons and all sorts of creatures. The whole underground area was unique. Even the details about the dragon clans and how differently they do things, like Bethesda and her many clutches, was cool.

The plot and pacing were fantastic. I wanted to keep reading and never had trouble staying focused on this book.

The characters were also great. Julius was easy to like and feel for, despite his lack of ambition (I could understand why he hid in his room all the time, considering what his family was like). He really was a nice guy, and I felt for him every time someone treated him kindly and brought him some happiness. And it turned out he could be crafty, as long as he didn’t have to hurt people to do it. Marci was easy to like too, full of life and energy, determined even in the worst situation, intelligent, skilled at magic, but also just quirky and imperfect enough to be relatable and realistic. Even the side characters were unique and interesting, albeit dangerous and manipulative.

Overall this was some really solid urban fantasy, but in a way that didn’t feel like the same thing I’ve read a million times. It stood out from the pack, it gripped me, and I enjoyed it!


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18 thoughts on “Book Review: Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers Book 1) by Rachel Aaron

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  1. elnade

    I have never heard of this series! I love the title and it sounds really interesting. Thanks for the review and bringing it to my attention.

  2. Greg

    This is on my list of books to try- not least of which is because Detroit haha- but I love the sound of it. Plus I’ve had it rec’d to me like a zillion times. It definitely seems different from a lot of other urban fantasy too, like you mention.

    Plus Detroit. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      You should! You’re always looking to try more UF! It’s rec’d for good reason 🙂 It’s great getting to read about places you live or are familiar with!

  3. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    You’ve reminded me I totally haven’t continued on reading this series and I don’t know why! I might have to reread this one. I remember really enjoying it and I liked nice guy Julius and his whole family, really. I’m off to reread this now.

  4. Olivia Roach

    I really liked the Dragons in the Loom trilogy and they weren’t entirely human form but weren’t entirely… not either? So I do like that kind of thing! And reading the synopsis to this one sort of made me laugh, and also already made me feel sorry for him. What a harsh mother!! I love that everything seems so well balanced here – the character building, world building, plot and pacing. It sounds like a very solid start to a series and I hope you can get and enjoy book 2 soon ^.^

    1. Kristen Burns

      I loved the version of dragons in the Loom Saga! You should feel bad for the poor guy lol, his mother is awful. But yeah, a very solid and enjoyable start to a series! I’m already on Book 3 😉

  5. Lola

    I can remember seeing this book around on a few blogs a few years ago. That sounds fun how the dragons have different personalities than humans. And how the main character is too nice for a dragon. Julias does sound like a great main character. Sounds like the world building is done solidly too.