After barely escaping the machinations of his terrifying mother, two all-knowing seers, and countless bloodthirsty siblings, the last thing Julius wants to see is another dragon. Unfortunately for him, the only thing more dangerous than being a useless Heartstriker is being a useful one. Now that he's got an in with the Three Sisters, Julius has become a key pawn in Bethesda the Heartstriker's gamble to put her clan on top. Refusal to play along with his mother's plans means death, but there's more going on than even Bethesda knows. Heartstriker futures are disappearing, and Algonquin's dragon hunter is closing in. Now, with his most powerful family members dropping like flies, it's up to Julius to save the family that never respected him and prove once and for all that the world's worst dragon is the very best one to have on your side.
©2015 Rachel Aaron (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
4.5 stars for the story. Very good! Maybe even better than the first book in the series. This book is fast paced, funny, snarky, suspenseful, occasionally poignant, and fairly engrossing. It's family-safe and can be heard in public (no sex or swearing, if memory serves, but some bloody battles).
Marci the Mage (move over, Merlin) and Julius the truly "noble" dragon (kind and wise) are back, even stronger, and more layered. There's a hint of romance, too.
Rachel Aaron creates strong secondary characters. Ghost really added a LOT to the plot, as did Amelia the A-Clutch dragon Mage. A-Melia. Julius's eldest sibling. The heir. The rum-loving lush. Fun character!
We also see Bethseda the Broodmare, Bob / Brohomir the Seer, Chelsea the Shade, Justin the warrior, etc. We finally meet the Lady of the Lake -- Algonquin, and her invincible dragon hunter, Vann Jager. The dragon-shifter daughters of the legendary Three Sisters are back: Estella the Seer, Svena, and Katya who became friends with Julius and Marci in the first book.
Villains act with credible motivations. Battles are vivid. Justice is fairly satisfying, but not quite.
Without resorting to info-dumps, we learn more about dragon origins, and about spirits (especially Ghost the cat spirit and Algonquin) and more about Heartstriker patriarch Quetzlcoatl, murdered by his own daughter Bethsesda.
Minor Quibbles: Just a bit too long — but I like audiobooks of 16 hours or fewer — with a little more internal dialogue than I like. Some of the internal reflection felt like noise — thoughts and feelings and plans I could have figured out for myself, by inference. The last chapter's political discussion about the council went on too long, I thought. I'd have preferred an epilogue instead. (Katya?)
Excellent narration by Vikas Adam. Easy on the ears, and he makes it easy to differentiate between characters without going overboard and becoming annoyingly affected. I read and listened, interchangeably.
The continued humor of it. This is a book that knows what kind of story it's wanting to tell, and telling it well. It's not above poking fun at itself in ways, without getting meta too much.
The climax, when...something fairly significant happens. Not going to tell you what of course :P read the book. Actually there were several moments that were pretty great for one reason or another.
He carries the humor over very well in his spoken word. His voices are very distinct for all the characters, so there isn't any issue with figuring out who is speaking. And his switch between male to female voices is pretty good. That's one thing that will sort of set my teeth on edge, if a narrator can't do a passable version of the opposite sex, listening to them try and do it, and fail, makes the story difficult to sit through. But Vikas doesn't have that issue in my opinion. He does a good job of sounding feminine when the character calls for it, without it sounding heavy handed or forced.
There are a few significant scenes between Marcy and Ghost that had some...weight to them. Particularly the most significant one of that specific storyline. Again, not spoiling anything but, the way it was presented when more about Ghost is explained was, very impressive to me. I think it was partly the imagery in my head that the words created, but also the words themselves. It was a fairly powerful scene, and done well.
And here is where I talk about the stuff I didn't like, because there were definitely some bits that were tiresome. They were minor, don't get me wrong, I strongly recommend you getting this book, but it's not without some flaws.
First, just like in the first book, I think the sugary sweet relationship between Marcy and Julius was just...too romance bookey for my tastes. More of the "You are so wonderful!" "No YOU are so wonderful!" "Gosh! No way! YOU are THE MOST wonderful person ever!" back and forth made me literally roll my eyes several times. I remember saying out loud a few times "I get it! They want to boink! Get on with it already!"
Also, Julius I think is too...reluctant I guess would be the word? He spends so much of this book second guessing courses of action, and then naysaying those courses of action...*even the courses of action that he came up with himself*. I mean I get it, she's trying to portray him as totally different from other dragons, but she takes his obsequiousness to 11, and it's just tiresome. He'll ping pong between "I'm tired of being pushed around!" and bounce right back to "Hey, I'll go along with whatever the big scary dragon says because I'm Julius, and I want everyone to have a happy ending." His level of "No no, you don't owe me any favors" when he does things for people also got old. It's just....eh.
I'm hoping that will change with the next book, considering how...certain things pan out storywise, but, we'll see.
Still, it's a great book, a really fun read, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a modern fantasy story with a laugh in it. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one too.
I can't express how much I love this book! All the things I love about the first book (the characters, plot, mythology and the witty/sarcastic humor) were not only repeated, but in fact seemed even better! I was so immersed in the story I felt like I was one of the Heartstriker family just watching the game of draconic politics next to the underdog hero Julius. And I thought he stood up and found his confidence before, but in this book he really finds his ground and I was literally (sorry) cheering for joy! Most of my reactions though were me listening in my car saying "Oh my god" over and over again. seriously though this book is crazy! so much happens, there are sub plots of sub plots of sub plots and they are all woven beautifully and showed in such a way that I'm amazed it didn't implode on itself from all the crazy details! Plus, I got to have more of my second favorite character Bob! the voice Adam chose for him really makes me chuckle and like the character all the more. In fact the narration is one of the best I've heard. He really sells all the accents, even in a room full of six American dragons, three Russian dragons and even a random chinese guy doesn't seem to trip him up. Even info dumps we're engaging and very interesting.
I could go on, but you should get the book and start listening for yourself! you won't regret this series!
Sometimes sequels are disappointing when I thought the first book was perfect. That’s not the case with this book. Once again, I didn’t care for the opening and it took me a few chapters to get into it. I am so glad I stuck with it, though, because after two or three chapters, I couldn’t put it down.
Considering how many dragon books there are in the world, I am impressed by how unique and creative “Heartstrikers” 1 & 2 are. There wasn’t a single character that I thought was unnecessary or underplayed. The action, dialogue, and description were done very well.
The narrator did an excellent job. I could tell the characters apart, the accents were done well, and there was plenty of emotional depth. The voice for Julius in particular fit the character perfectly.
Overall, it was a creative idea written by an exceptional author that was brought to life by an impressive narrator. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book.
I read the first novel in this series and felt that it was the start of a great series. I'm glad my instincts were right. The character development and storyline are well thought out and never gets old. It's not too descriptive and moves along at a decent pace. I found myself listening for hours without realizing it and finished it before I thought I would.
Rachel does an amazing job at weaving a complex storyline with subplots while keeping the reader's interest and making the reader care about what's going to happen to the characters. I cannot wait for the next installment (Rachel - you need to write faster), and I will be keeping an eye out for it.
For anyone on the fence about these books - it is the start to a very rich and complex contemporary fantasy with mages, dragons and other creatures. I would say that it isn't actually an adult fiction but somewhere between young-adult (teen) and mid-twenty-somethings. That being said - the story doesn't make you feel like you're reading (listening) to a young adult novel, I just get that impression because of some of the introspection that the characters do. My husband listened to the book too and found it interesting enough however I think that his opinion would be that of most guys - Julius (our main protagonist) is a bit whiny... But give it a chance, he becomes less so and the situations are really well written.
I started this series to preview for my sixth grade daughter. I was happily engaged by the 1st installment, enthralled by the second. Content is entertaining and well written for an adult series; yet appropriate enough for a middle schooler with a good vocabulary. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
I must admit this story is more imaginative, addictive and better written than a lot of adult series in the same genre. It has been no hardship to check out this series prior to handing it over to the kids. The narrator is excellent as well. Worth a credit because of length, fascinating story line, and quality writing.
I rarely write reviews and just give stars for my own records, however this series is worthy of much praise. I will be checking out other works by this author. I am thoroughly impressed; I even forgot I was reading it for the kids sake. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for fantasy and adventure in any age group. Fabulous. I will copy this review for the 1st book as well.
I very much enjoyed Nice Dragons Finish Last, and in this second book Rachel Aaron has taken the story, the action and the characters up to a new level. Vikas Adam does a wonderful job with the narration.
The story wasn't predictable; unlike Bob (the dragon seer) I never knew where it would be going from one minute to the next. Julius and the other members of the Heartstriker Clan are beginning to feel like old friends.
My first thought after finishing this book was when can I get the next one?
Who doesn't enjoy being transported to another world, and traveling on an unforgettable adventure? Thank you audio books! Happy dance <3
If you liked the first book this one, you'll love this one. I was hoping for more Bob and Chelsie in this one and I for sure got it, along with a whole world of craziness (in a good way). I could of course guess parts that where going to happen, but then BAM something totally out there happened and I'm like "What?!??!" but totally riveted. Lol, that is what happens about halfway through the story and it just gets more insane. Just finishing listening to it I can tell you I will be listening again to try and pick up all the details and future/ past/ seeier info that pretty much went over my head as I was working while listening and that is a lot of info to unravel.
The narrator was fantastic. Lol, his female voices aren't that great but he adds a layer of dramatics and humor that add to the story to make it epic. I love Bob. He is so crazy and is voiced so well I do believe he is one of my favorite male characters, definitely top 5.
I love this series. It gets better with every book. Unfortunately it does leave you dropped smack in the middle of a whole new epic plot and just ends. Ugh, if I did adore this series so much... Hopefully it won't be a long wait, things won't be pretty after a while of impatiently waiting. Otherwise I totally recommend getting this anyway you can!
Rachel Aaron is a fantastic and talented writer. Vikas Adam performed all the characters wonderfully. I like Julius' personality, his kindness towards everybody else. I was worried that he would not be able to help his clan but he did it. His mother is a "minster" and should not be allowed to have any say in the running of the clan, in my opinion! I am looking forward to the next book and it won't be too long in coming out.
I am a member of audible and I listen to audiobooks.
I would. Vikes Adam really does do a good job, with the various accents in the book.
My favorite character was Justin. I liked how impulsive and full of himself he was.
This goes back to question 1. Accents.
No, because then I would be out of an audiobook.
If you have read Heartstrikers book one and liked it, then you really should get book two. It is even better. I will certainly be listening to book three when it comes out!
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