One Good Dragon Deserves Another is the second book in Rachel Aaron’s Heartstrikers series and it is a VAST improvement from the first book. The first book was a 3.5 stars read for me, this book received 4.5 stars (rounded up on Goodreads) from me. Urban fantasy is really not my favorite genre and that’s why I’m completely surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The story itself isn’t even something special, it’s great of course, but it’s the combination of all the other elements in the book such as the characters, action sequences, world-building, and prose that made this book so damn compelling to read; everything just flows impeccably well.
It’s been a long time—a month and eleven books to be precise—since I was this engaged in reading a book. Heck, I even thought that I was near a reading slump or something because the past eleven books have been a mix of bad, mediocre, good, great, but none of them were amazing. The first book, Nice Dragons Finish Last, was a part of SPFBO #3 competition, it’s such a shame that the competition can only count the first book (understandable but still a shame) because this book alone, blew every book or winner (that I’ve read) in the history of the competition.
There simply isn’t any dull moment in the book. One of the missing aspect of the first book—despite it being fun—was an engaging and tense plotline, Aaron fixed this completely here, making the first book simply a prelude and introduction to the world, story, and characters. There were a lot of moving parts in the storyline and although Aaron finished the main storyline in this book, if you take a close look beneath the façade of the main story, it’s obvious that Aaron is saving a lot of plotline for future revelations; this means Bob’s grand plan surrounding Julius and I can’t wait to find out how it all will play out. The story was also tense but at the same time, it was still lighthearted, damn easy to follow, and never stop being fun and humorous at times.
“Help us, Juli-wan Kenobi, you're our only hope."
For a moment, that almost, almost made Julius feel like a hero. And then he remembered. "Doesn't Obi-Wan die in that movie?”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my books being serious, dark, or full of death. However, once in a while I still need a change of pace to lighter tone books and this series is a great choice. Aaron achieved this by writing superb characterizations for literally every character in the series. Every character has distinct voices and personality, they’re unique and none of them ever bore me. Once the characters made me feel invested, the story can be about literally anything and I would still end up loving it. There are a lot of fantastic character developments here, especially towards Marci, but the new characters—Amelia and Vann Jeger—were a wonderful addition to the series. I also need to talk about Bob again, although he didn’t appear a lot here, he’s still my favorite character and he always managed to steal every scene he’s in.
One of the most prominent differences between the first book and this one is its incredible action sequences. The battle against Vann Jeger for example was simply top notch. It was high scale, intense, fast-paced, immersive, and written really well. World-building also received a much better expositions with history surrounding the dragons, their birthplace, plus new information on the exclusive Heartstrikers’s special weapons, Fangs of the Heartstrikers, making this book filled with rich content.
Sequel-wise, this is seriously one of the strongest sequel I’ve ever read. Aaron pretty much improved upon everything she wrote in the first book and erased all the cons I had on the first book in this installment. There are no more repetitive sentences or a sense of the prose being clunky to read, her prose was so easy to read, compelling and never gets in the way of the story. I spotted literally only one typo in the book and that’s seriously an amazing achievement in self-published books.
I’m only two books into the series so far but Heartstrikers could seriously end up becoming the first self-published series to enter ‘my favorite series of all time’ list. Bob’s ability as a seer must’ve seen this happening and I sincerely hope I don’t jinx it or do something horrible to change the future of this prediction.