Review: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel AaronNo Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron
Series: Heartstrikers #3
Published by Author on August 5, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy
Pages: 478
Format: eARC
Source: Author

When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn’t part of any proper dragon’s vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling Council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place.

To keep his clan together and his skin intact, Julius is going to have to find a way to make his bloodthirsty siblings play fair. But there’s more going on in Heartstriker Mountain than politics. Every family has its secrets, but the skeletons in Bethesda’s closet are dragon sized, and with Algonquin’s war looming over them all, breaking his clan wide open might just be the only hope Julius has of saving it.

Rachel Aaron/Bach is one of my very favorite authors. This is my eighth book I’ve read by her, aka her whole list, and I have yet to feel disappointed. Obviously, some I like more than others, but they’ve all been really good books on a base level. If you read Rachel Aaron/Bach, you can rely on strong world building, clever plotting, and a lovable, motley crew cast. With No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, the Heartstrikers series continues to get better and better, something her series have a tendency to do.

There will be spoilers for the earlier books, so bear that in mind.

In No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, though Julian is still the central character, there’s a focus on Chelsie. She’s on the cover for a reason yo. Chelsie’s been one of my favorites since the start, and I love her even more after learning her back story. Technically, you only get part of the story, but her remaining secret is so patently obvious that tbh I am rolling my eyes that no one has figured it out. That said, I really didn’t see that coming and I was compleeeeetely blown away. Also, I’m very much in support of Chelsie’s tragic romance and I hope she gets to reunite with him in the next book. *coughs* Anyway, Chelsie is an adorably fierce marshmallow, and I love her.

Remember how awesome I said Aaron is at plotting? Sure, I saw a few things coming in the plot, but there are always other bits where she completely pulls the rug out from under me and leaves me gaping like a fish. View Spoiler » In a lot of ways, No Dragon Goes Unpunished is entirely set up for the climactic finale, but there’s still so much going on that this book in no way feels like a placeholder. Thinking back, I’m also really impressed by how naturally Aaron manages to fit her infodumps in to the conversations, because there was a lot that had to be learned here.

Given that Julian isn’t quite as important in this book (ironic given that he’s actually much more important relative to his clan), you might think that his own development would be slowed, but it’s not. No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished is actually a really strong character arc for him. He really has to put his ideals into practice for one. At the end of the previous book, he overthrew his mother and got her to agree to a ruling council, but now he actually has to make it happen. Julius really was not prepared for the amount of work he would have to do, and he has to grow in a lot of kind of strengths while trying not to lose the kindness that got him to where he currently is.

This is the darkest book for Julius yet View Spoiler »

I’ve said it before and will again: I love a plot that’s not good versus evil but all about the gray areas. Aaron excels at this. Julius is a trademark good guy, but his side isn’t so easy to characterize as good. In No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, we learn more about Algonquin, Ghost, and some other players. It’s really hard to tell what the actual right thing to do is at this point, and I love that. Everything’s so up in the air and dangerous right now. Even the most good characters are facing their dark sides, but, hey, this whole series has been about knowing that you have darkness in you but deciding to embrace goodness instead.

In case you couldn’t tell already, this whole review is basically me trying to encourage you to read her stuff if you haven’t. Her fantasy is under Rachel Aaron, and both The Legend of Eli Monpress and Heartstrikers are fabulous. Her sci fi is published as Rachel Bach, and I cannot sell Paradox to enough people tbh.

Favorite Quote:

That’s some evil overlord stuff right there, and I prefer to think of us more as chaotic neutral.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif my little pony activate the anti-hate shields

One response to “Review: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron”

  1. Hammad says:

    Started this series last week, and I flew through it (pun intended??). Absolutely agree with everything you said in your review. NGDGU was terrific. This series has always been well balanced with the whole good vs evil stuff; and NGDGU shows this so well. It’s almost hard not to sympathize with Algonquin’s point of view, or even sometimes difficult to see past Julius’ moral code- which is absolutely infuriating and yet so compelling and fresh.

    I could keep going but you’ve covered everything.

    Legit can’t wait for the next book so I guess I’ll try the legend of eli series…

    Anyway. This review is absolutely on point. 🙂
    feel a little less empty now

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