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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....
Would you consider the audio edition of Nice Dragons Finish Last to be better than the print version?
Possibly, because as an audio book, it truly soars. Vikas Adam is among the best narrators I’ve ever heard. There were a wide range of character types, and Adam not only gave each a distinct personality, I was convinced he had help. Each character’s voice and personality was so specific and unique that I didn’t believe only one person was portraying them; I had to go back to the book description several times to check that he was indeed the sole narrator.
What other book might you compare Nice Dragons Finish Last to and why?
As an interesting and creative mashup of urban fantasy and SciFi, I don't know of much to compare it to. Since it includes mystery and humor, my first thought was that it was similar to a Harry Dresden book, but set 200 years in the future.
Which character – as performed by Vikas Adam – was your favorite?
Justin, because he was sort of a "dragon as dude" and "dragon as jock" and "dragon as frat." The way Adam portrayed him was funny and sexy.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I was struck by how the reader is swept up into the action at the very, very beginning. That was masterful on the part of the author.
Any additional comments?
Once you get past the terrible title, you have an entertaining and often thrilling mashup of urban fantasy and SciFi. In the near future, a natural disaster releases magic back into the world. A quiet young dragon must prove himself, and in so doing rescues a damsel or two, saves a friend, kills some monsters, and gets the girl. It sounds absurd, but with excellent world-building, an intricate plot, delightful characters, and great humor, it works.<br/><br/>This book not only was great entertainment; it also introduced me to two great talents. I’m looking forward to the next in the series and to exploring other works written by Rachel Aaron or narrated by Vikas Adam.
28 of 28 people found this review helpful
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.
107 of 112 people found this review helpful
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.
133 of 143 people found this review helpful
Why does everyone always pick on the nice guy!?
Poor Julian has a rough road in Nice Dragons Finish Last. He’s been picked on and ostracized his entire life by his family and all others of his kind (dragon-kind). He was the runt in a the most recent clutch of dragons born about 24 years ago to Bethesda the matriarch of the Heartstriker clan. And his family hasn’t let him forget for one moment how much of a failure he is because he doesn’t have any of the personality traits expected in a dragon. Ruthless, cunning, ambitious, etc etc – pretty much just think megalomaniac and that might fit any other dragon except Julian.
Loving words from big bad momma dragon whose threat of eating him is very real.
“Being a disappointment within your own family is one thing, but can you imagine what would happen if the rest of the world found out that my son, my son, spends his days locked in his room playing video games with humans? Humans, Julius! And you don’t even win!” – 4%
I have to tell you Julian sounds like a dream boat to me – but then I’m a bit of a nerd girl who likes book reading, video game playing sweet geeky guys (hey I even married one). So we definitely have the setup for an underdog story here especially since his mother has thrown him out of the house and sent him off to the DMZ (Detroit) where dragons are kill on sight and she’s pretty much crippled him by sealing away his dragon form and with it much of his draconic oomph and powers.
One of the most magic cities in the U.S is …..Detroit!? Whaaaaat?
So of all the places I could think to place the setting for a new urban fantasy series I can tell you Detroit wouldn’t have been one of my first guesses. But you know it works, it works and works so well. This unique new Urban Fantasy world is one you don’t want to miss out on. The city of Detroit has two levels. The old rundown original city and build directly on top as if it were the ceiling is the new Detroit. Thankfully we get to see both but the underbelly or lower Detroit is crazy interesting. I love how post apocalyptic of a feel some of the city has but all due to magic’s return to the world.
Don’t you hate it when your family sets you up for failure?
Julian has an impossible task ahead of him. He has to prove to his mother that he can be just as much of a dragon as his brothers and sisters (and ooo boy does he have a lot of them). He’s given a job of recovering a rogue dragoness who has escaped her family and is loose in Detroit. But it seems this dragon is only trying to live her own life, something that Julian really sympathizes with. But it’s either bag her and tag her or curtains for him. Thus he sets out on his mission to bring her in. But obstacles are of course thrown at him from every direction not only from outside parties but many from his own family. Thankfully he meets up with a freaking cool human mage, Marci.
Your partner might just be more trouble then she’s worth
The coolest people sometimes come with the worst kind of personal baggage. And it Marci’s case she takes that concept to an epic new level. She’s got mobsters after her and the problems she ran away from are quickly catching up to her and Julian. But they make one hell of a team and the chemistry between them is fantabulous. Their skill sets compliment each other perfectly and hey while Julian is a super nice guy, Marci is nice as well but she isn’t going let people roll over on her which makes them balance each other out pretty well. There is a small amount of tension between them that I absolutely adore and really think and hope is going to grow into a slow building romance. If it does ooo goody goody it will be so fun to read.
Do a little dance, I think I’m in love, get reading tonight – yah
Ok there really is no thinking about it. Earlier this year I read The Paradox Trilogy by Rachel Bach (aka Rachel Aaron) which was a kick ass science fiction space opera and absolutely fell in love with her storytelling because of those books. Now she goes and writes an urban fantasy (which is one of my favorite genres AND with DRAGONS!) that is starting out just as kick ass and literally has me making the greedy grabby hands to get hold of the next book. It’s definite, she’s now firmly in the “I will read anything you write, even your grocery list” rank of authors. I must now quickly snatch up and devour every other book she’s written. You’ve been warned, Do not disturb me until I’m done.
*I listened to the audio and read the ebook in tandem because I didn’t want to stop for one minute – both were excellent!
46 of 51 people found this review helpful
I got this book on a whim. It had been sitting in my wish list for a long time based on audible recommendations and I had just been putting it off. I'm glad I grabbed it. The best books are those u find yourself developing genuine feelings for the characters and this book did just that. This was an awesome story, great writing and great pacing. I can't wait for the follow up in the series.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
You guys, this book was amazing! I did not want it to end. From it's well developed characters to it's witty dialogue, Nice Dragons Finish Last is a must read for everyone!!<br/><br/>This is without a doubt on of my favourite books ever! I devoured it. Everything was amazing and I'm going to list all my loves, though there aren't any dislikes because this book was magnificent.<br/><br/>I adored all the characters. Julius is the runt of the fearsome Heartstriker litter and has spent his whole life trying to avoid his many family members. His mother has had enough and sent him off to Detroit to try to prove himself. Before she sends him though, she seals his dragon within it's human form. Now Julius is no fearsome Dragon but he misses the abilities his dragon form gave him.<br/><br/>Julius is sent to the heart of the DMZ with one goal in mind and that was to survive and try to win his mothers favour before she eats him for being too nice! Julius goes to his brother who gives him the task of retrieving a runaway Dragon who doesn't want to be found. Seems easy, right? Wrong, Detroit is the magical capital and there are people and things here that will kill Dragons on site. that's why Julius is perfect for the job, with his Dragon sealed, he is no threat to anyone. With no money, no resources Julius has to find help in a city that wants to kill him. <br/><br/>So yay, poor Julius is thrown out of his family for being too nice and told unless he turns into a proper Dragon his mother will eat him (literally). Despite the very real threat hanging over his head, he doesn't change. He is nice, polite, strong and brave! I loved him!! <br/><br/>Then we have Marci. She is forced to run to the DMZ because her father was killed and the man who killed him wants her as well. She stole something from him that he is desperate to get back. She does a job for an old woman and ends up living in a house haunted by a dead cat! She is a mage and a strong one at that. She is desperate for money though and one evening ends up asking Julius if he needs any Mage services. Julius has no choice but to take up her offer of help because the runaway Dragoness is at a party filled with magic users. Marci and Julius strike up an agreement, with neither aware of what they are in for. <br/><br/>Marci is a spunky and brave Mage. She is not afraid of doing things that need to be done and when she says she will do a job, she really does it. She will take no crap from anyone, no matter what they are! She is awesome. I adored Marci and Julius together, they really work well together and each brings certain strength that compliments the other. Julius being nice and Marci being tough!! I loved seeing their friendship grow and hope we see it grow a bit more in future books!!<br/><br/>Julius has a lot of family but their were 3 major players in this book, Justin, the favourite brother who wields the families blade. He is everything that Julius isn't but still comes to Julius aid. Then we have Chelsea, she is the Dragon enforcer and is sent to right any wrongs that happen. She cleans up the Heartstriker messes and has a tough time in Detroit for various reasons because a lot can go wrong! <br/><br/>Then we have Bob. Bob was awesome. He is the Heartstriker seer and as Julius says, is quite mad! There are only ever 3 seers! Bob is hilarious at times and I can't wait to read more about him in the next installment! <br/><br/>The world building is another thing I adored. Magic came back into the world, along with many magical creatures and Detroit has a lot of them!! I loved finding out about the world and the creatures, I mean they even have a creature that eats magic from other creatures!! I loved when the gang are underground fighting the things in the water! So many fantastical creatures in one book!<br/><br/>There were so many laugh out loud moments in this book as well. I found myself flying through the book and not wanting to put it down. I laughed so hard near the end when Bob said the Star Wars quote! It was epic!! <br/><br/>Anyway, I think you can tell how much I loved this book!! It's so well written that you find yourself immersed in the world along with Julius. The author has created a magical and fantastical world filled with amazing characters. I adored everything about this book and urge everyone to read it! <br/><br/>I listened to the audio and it was epic. I wasn't just listening to it, I was in the story! It really brought the story to life and the narrator was fantastic. I loved how he did Bob!! He did a lot of different voices and did them so well. The book is brilliant but the audio was the icing on the cake. It's one I know I will listen to again and again and again!! <br/>
25 of 28 people found this review helpful
I loved this one. Why? I'm not sure. I love the concept of dragons shifting into people, but that alone does not make a masterpiece. Despite the fact that I wanted this book for a long time, I actually sat on this book for a month because I had trouble getting into it. Finally, I tried again and couldn't stop listening.
The story was well-written, the pacing was good, and the plot was unique. I really liked Julius and thought his character was very well developed. The other characters were good as well and I never got them confused, which is saying a lot considering how many siblings Julius has. There was an excellent balance of action, dialogue, and description.
The narrator did this book justice. 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. My only criticism is that the voices all became the same when they were really angry, but that might have been intentional.
Overall, it was a creative idea written by an exceptional author that was brought to life by an impressive narrator. Rather than having a favorite scene, I think I really enjoyed it so much because of the entire package, which is a refreshing rarity. This was my favorite dragon book and I can't wait to get started on the sequel.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
I never used to like dragons in books, because I had seen so many fantasy authors use them as an easy way to wrap things up. Just send a dragon in to help the good guys or defeat the bad guys. They were used the same way the ancient Greeks had the "deus ex machina" - a god who comes in at the end of the play to fix everything.
Then I read the Naomi Novik series about Temeraire, who fights in the British air force against Napoleon, and Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton, where the dragons are upright Victorians. I loved those and I think it's because the dragons in them are not all-powerful. This series is the same. A dragon can be trapped in human form or, even when in dragon form, may need to use wits or diplomacy as much as fire and teeth. The hero is an underdog who doesn't quite fit in. It's not classic literature but it was certainly entertaining and the narration was very good. I'll probably continue listening to the series.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Who was your favorite character and why?
I loved the main characters Julius and Marcey. They where both highly entertaining, slightly frustrating, and entirely engrossing. The other characters where extremely entertaining as well, and so detailed they could have their own stories and probably should!
What about Vikas Adam’s performance did you like?
Really a 4.5 star for me. All though I'm pretty easy going. Lol, Vikas Adem's performance was interesting to say the least. I had fun listening to him. He also has a wonderfully attractive voice. His style was... well a little intense. There where times when he sounded like the intro guy to a movie, "In a galaxy far, far away..." you know that intense voice where everything is punctuated and every word is stressed. He sometimes does this for the most mundane parts of the book. Like the main characters are talking to each otherother about something not interesting and you'd think wow why does the narrator sound like someone is about to get shot or die or something? It was kinda funny and a little distracting at the same time. But somehow fits the book in a weird way. Also his female voices are aweful at times. Although I did find this rather funny as well. So if you think these things will bother you get the book anyway it is worth it!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Did I listen to in one sitting? No. It's a long book. Did I want to? Kind of, yes. It is such a fresh interesting book, it kind of follows you around. I just kept thinking of it in the back of my mind when not listening to it. It really is a cool book that kept drawing me back for more!
Any additional comments?
This is a great fresh take on the dragon shifter theme. I enjoyed the world very much. It has this crazy so unrealistic it might actually work vibe going on (if that makes sense). The world painted is detailed and through as are the characters. It feels like a young adult novel to me at times but the characters are supposed to be in their early 20's. They just seem younger. But it all flows well and works somehow. Probably will listen to again just to try to catch things I may have missed first time around.
22 of 25 people found this review helpful
I can't say enough good about this book. I loved the characters and how they developed over the course of the story. The audible performance was amazing! I loved this!! I can't wait for the next one.
40 of 47 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed it massively. A nice balance of fun, adventure and romance. The narrator is excellent too with some of the best sounding female voices I've heard from a male reader in an audio book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about Nice Dragons Finish Last?
I wanted to dislike this book, i mean a future world were dragons are shape shifters and magic has arrived back in the world. whats not to hate about this over used set up. but my god its well done.
Would you be willing to try another book from Rachel Aaron? Why or why not?
yes bought the next one. rock on tank badgers.
Which character – as performed by Vikas Adam – was your favourite?
bob as he is so wacjy and well thought out.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
just when u thought it was safe to give the safe word....
Any additional comments?
right, i dont give a book or audible book praise that often ladies and gents but here. right here is a good listen. its not serious so dont expect it to be. its not edgy so dont expect that. what it is . its fully realized characters. its a B E A Utiful world. fully fleshed like that pretty tubby girl who lives down the lane. you may feel guilty but its a hell of a ride / listen. its just done well. its not adult it not brutal. normally a must for me. but its fleshed out so well hell i dont care. this is the audible book u would take home to ur mum. the one who dosent do her make up like a hoe. <br/><br/>long and the short. young dragon trapped in a human body thrown out into the world with 98 bucks and flip all else. enjoy enjoy enjoy u people. it is fun. plain and simple. takes 2-3 hours to get going. always read the label. do not ingest,<br/><br/>
2 of 3 people found this review helpful