Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
|Book Name:||Nice Dragons Finish Last|
|Formatt:||Ebook / Audiobook|
|Release Date:||July 13, 2014|
I can’t resist all things dragon. I admit it. When I saw that Rachel Aaron/Bach had a new series out about a dragon society in the midst of a future dystopian but magically-infused world, I just had to get my hands on it.
Mild-mannered Julius Quetz (short for Quetzalcoatl) is a 24-year-old dragon living with his mother when he suddenly finds himself on the streets, trapped in human form. His lack of ambition and undragon-like disposition to keep the peace instead of plotting takeovers has forced his mother to put Julius through a “trial by fire” in the hopes of bringing him to his senses…or be rid of him for good. She laments that she did not just eat him sooner and be done with it, having been blessed with extraordinary fertility after all.
Navigating through the dragon-hostile Detroit Free Zone (DFZ), Julius meets Marci, a human mage who is also new in town and desperate to find work. Julius hires her on to help with his set-upon mission, and finds himself stunned time and again by her loyalty and grit. Also, being treated with kindness instead of distaste is completely new for him. He is considered the runt of his rather large family, and avoiding his overbearing siblings is his life’s goal.
Marci Novalli is adorable. Even with the recent loss of her father, she is surprisingly upbeat. She has a curiosity that won’t quit and a child-like wonder for new things. She was about to finish her PhD in Thaumaturgy when her life got turned upside down. Now, she must start over in a new city with next to nothing. Joining up with Julius makes her realize that she can’t outrun her past even as she helps him overcome his. Her unwavering support and optimism allows a friendship to be forged in the midst of tackling giant acid-spewing fish and fighting genetically enhanced thugs.
I really liked the witty dialogue and generous sprinkling of snark throughout the book. Even tackling issues like being the underdog, low self-esteem, and discovering your identity, this was not a heavy or depressing read. Of course, having dragons with huge egos but yet refuse to eat humans (because they are horribly carcinogenic) helps to lighten the mood. Throw in a Star Wars reference (because the wisdom that is Yoda endures), crazy family dynamics, and you have a delightful, laugh-out-loud urban fantasy.
One of my quibbles with this book was the slightly stiff character of Julius. I get that he is a laid-back, fly-under-the-radar kind of guy, but I found myself cheering on Marci with Julius only along for the ride. There was just that little bit of something missing from him as a protagonist. Also a little more than halfway through the book, I was able to figure out the mystery character and see a plot twist coming. That made things a bit anti-climactic, but it was still fun to see it all play out.
I am really looking forward to the next book for more of Marci’s spunk, sibling Justin’s I-am-dragon-hear-me-roar bravado, and not-so-crazy Bob’s machinations. The ending hinted at other-worldly possibilities. Can’t wait to see how it all pans out.