Audie Award, Fantasy, 2016 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 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....
"Narrator Vikas Adam's streamlined voice can smoothly shift from the easygoing tones of Julius to the venomous arrogance of his mother, Bethesda.... Adam pays close attention to the characters and their evolution. For instance, as Marci becomes further empowered, the nervous quaver in her voice lessens. This is urban fantasy at its best." (AudioFile)
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Nice Dragons Finish Last is the first book in the Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron, narrated by Vikas Adam.
In 2035 a comet crash into earth; the changes that brought were drastic and permanent, especially the return of magic to the world. Years have passed and people have gotten used to this new reality, regular humans live among magic practitioners, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures like dragons. Dragons have amassed power worldwide and rule their own territories. The only place where they are illegal and hunt at sight is DFZ (Detroit Free Zone). Julius is a young dragon from the Heartstriker clan, but Julius to the despair of her family is not an usual dragon, he is not greedy or interested in amazing fortunes. He is also not ruthless or vicious, and to add to the disappointment of his family he is NICE!! Julius has tried to keep quiet and away from his family, but his mom, Bethesda, has had enough of his niceties, if he doesn’t change she is going to eat him. She gives him a one last chance to prove to her and to the family that he can be a dragon. She binds his power and sends him to DFZ with a mission. Julius needs to find a missing dragoness and return her to her clan in just couple of days. Julius knows this time his mom is serious, if he fails he is sure he’ll be Bethesda’s dinner. He’ll do everything in his power to complete the mission. He knows alone he won’t be successful and hires a mage to help him along the way.
One of the things I like the most about reading books or listening to audiobooks is discovering new books/authors/narrators. The best is when I’m not expecting much from them and they surprise me, in a good way of course. That was exactly what happened with Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron, narrated by Vikas Adam. I simply liked everything about it. I liked the characters, the story, the world and the narration.
Julius is a very sweet character. He’s misunderstood and underestimated. His family doesn’t appreciate him because he’s nice, he likes people and he has human friends. Under his soft exterior there is a very smart guy with a big heart. He loves his family, he knows he’s different from them and only wishes they could accept him the way he is. He reminded me a lot of Fortitude Scott from Generation V series by M.L. Brennan and that’s a good thing because I love Fort.
Marci is Julius sidekick and hopefully Julius’ romantic interest in future books. Marci is a mage with a sad and complicated past. As Julius, she has just arrived to DFZ. She left her life behind looking for better horizons. The only problem is that not all her complications were left behind, some of them have followed her to DFZ. Marci is the perfect complement for Julius calm demeanor. She’s a bit ruthless and is not afraid of getting her hands dirty when it is necessary. There is a great chemistry between them and they make perfect partners.
The secondary characters are all good. Some I liked more than other, but there wasn’t one I disliked I even liked Bethesda, but one that really shined was Julius’ brother, Bob the Seer. Bob was just hilarious in his uniqueness and I can’t wait to see more of him.
The story is engaging and moves at a good pace. Rachel Aaron is really good at storytelling and knows how to keep her readers entertained and glued to the pages (or audiobook in my case), that’s for sure. The world building is original and interesting. The post apocalyptic-futuristic feeling of Detroit was almost a character in itself.
Nice Dragons Finish Last was a book I highly enjoyed, I simply couldn't get enough of it. I'm looking forward to next book in the series, One Good Dragon Deserves Another. The release date is set for November, I only hope the audiobook will be release around the same time. I recommend Nice Dragons Finish Last to urban fantasy fans, especially if you like dragons or if you like your stories fun, cute and light-hearted.
This was my first time listening to a book narrated Vikas Adam and I’m glad to say I was pleasantly surprise, he does an amazing job narrating Nice Dragons Finish Last. Vikas gives life to the story and to the characters. His characterization is really good and he gives unique voices to each one of the characters making it easy to discern who was who when they were talking. One thing I have to mention is that he is really good with the female voices, something many male narrators have trouble with. I’m looking forward to listen to more books narrated by him.
I really liked this book and cannot wait for the next installment. I know I compare a lot of fantasy to Jim Butcher's Dresden files but hear me out...
I feel that this book is very much like the first one that Butcher did of Dresden. It isn't perfect but it really sets the ground-work for a promising series and characters that will entrance readers over the next decade or more. I like the main character and I really like the way that Rachel has blended Dragon Myth into a not so distant future that is believable but yet fantasy based and altogether rich and full of imagination. I would like to point out that the book does seem to be for maybe younger audiences (16 to 20) it does have promise for more and the content as well as themes seem to be multilayered so that meaning and pov changes depending on a readers age for several scenarios. Well worth the read or listen no matter what your age really.