This is literally the second urban fantasy book that I enjoyed reading.
My great friend, TS, recommended this to me since the end of 2016. She said, “I know you have a long TBR but I think you might like this.” Fast forward almost one year six month later, here I am. Yes, I have a long TBR, who doesn’t? As far as I know, Heartstrikers is one of the more popular and well received self-published series, ever since my friend recommended it to me, I’ve seen tons of people loving this series and even though urban fantasy is not my favorite genre, I’m happy that I found this one highly enjoyable.
There are several reasons why I think the book ended up becoming enjoyable to me but most of all it’s because I started this one knowing what the mood and tone of the book will be, and that is fun and light-hearted. The plot revolves around Julius, a 24 years old dragon—considered super young in dragon age—and unlike all the other dragons, Julius has an extremely nice personality. Because of his nice attitudes, his ruthless and powerful mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker sealed him in human form and gave him a one month test to prove himself that he can be a ruthless dragon, otherwise he’ll lose his dragon form forever. The plot never takes itself seriously, it played out like generic fun action movies and I found it a nice change of pace from the kind of books I usually read. The plot may be predictable, it may be simple for now but incredibly, I found the book entertaining and it managed to put a smile on my face several times during my read through it.
“Well, he’s not really my friend,” Julius admitted. “I don’t even know his real name, actually, but I was his healer in the game, and the bond between healer and tank runs deep.”
Julius as the main character is pretty much almost a carbon copy of every Shonen manga main characters, like Luffy and Naruto for example. He’s a super duper kind person, bullied, with hidden power sealed, who cared deeply for his friends and will do anything to save them. This is not a problem for me, I’m quite surprised that it took me this long to see this kind of character appeared in a novel. Other than him, what really stands out from this book is the way Aaron immediately fleshed out the side character’s personality from their first appearance. Marci, Ian, Justin, Bob, Chelsie, Bethesda all have a distinctive personality and this makes a wonderful starting line and groundwork for the entire series to come.
I need to also talk about Bob a bit, he didn’t appear a lot in this book but his eccentric and antics gave me a strong feeling that he will become my favorite character in the entire series. That still remains to be seen of course but c’mon, how can someone dislike a character that paid homage to Star Wars!?
“There’s been a great disturbance in the Force.”
World-building wise, Aaron did a great job in explaining the lore and history of the dragons, settings are written efficiently. Plus, the class and birth specification (clutch in this book) of the dragon based on the first alphabet of their name is a nice and unique touch. For example, Julius’s name started with a J which means he’s in the tenth clutch or tenth generation, Bob is in the second clutch which makes him a much older dragon. I also think Aaron’s prose was simple and very easy to read. Her writing never gets in the way of the story and it accumulates to a pleasantly appropriate pacing for the book. However, I have to admit that there are a lot of sentences that felt a bit awkward to read and she used several glaring words repeatedly, one for instance is “ten-foot pole”. I heard from my friends that all these awkward sentence problems vanished in the sequels and I can’t wait to read the improvements.
Nice Dragons Finish Last as the first book of a five book series is really well done. It’s different from the usual urban fantasy and it’s more of a preparation book for the entire series as the book prepared the groundwork for the general plot, characters, and world-building for the rest of the series. I heard from everyone that this is a series that keeps on getting better with each sequel and I definitely will continue reading the series.