Heartstrikers #3. Author: Rachel Aaron.
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.
Julius has changed a lot since we first met him. Remember, back in Nice Dragons Finish Last, his niceness wasn’t exactly a philosophy – just his personality. He was just the runt of a litter, getting kicked off his computer for not being blood-thirsty and ambitious enough. Now Julius has come to realize that it’s not just that he doesn’t want to kill his siblings – he believes that siblings shouldn’t kill each other, which in a dragon clan, is quite a step up.
Now, that doesn’t mean he wanted to get stuck campaigning, arguing, politicing, and nearly-getting-assassinated-every-few-days, which is what he spends most of the book doing. It was a little less magic, monsters, and explosions style than the previous book – but all three of those things were still there, and dragon politics are more interesting than you’re probably thinking. (Translation: it was a little slower than the previous two… but the ton of history-reveals we got kept it a roller-coaster ride.) We finally got to learn more about Chelsie, Bob got more ominous then ever, Marcie is still hanging out with dragons and yet avoiding being claimed as a pet, and the ending…. Reached ridiculous levels of cliff-hanger.
Sexual Content: Room is decorated with ‘copious nude paintings’. Mention of a mating flight between dragons. Minor discussion of draconic pregnancy, which they can control to a certain point (how many eggs, when they’re laid). Girl says “There’s more than one way to ride a dragon” (it’s a suggestion – she’s drunk at the time and the dragon tells her to sleep it off). Multiple instances of kissing.
Language: 5 derogatory terms, 1 d***
Violence: Character briefly raises the ghosts of humans killed by a dragon. Character incapacitating another, slashes the back of both knees and the inside of both arms. Dragons fighting with flame. Dragon claws up a beaten dragon, burns him – most of his bones are broken (but dragons are very resilient). Human shoots a dragon’s wings off (but apparently they can regenerate). Stabs dragon in the chest with a knife. One character shoots another in the chest and kills her. Characters see mounds of dead dragon bodies. Two dragons briefly fight hand-to-hand. Dragon-character uses magically bound dragons to experiment on (trying to break a spell).
Other problems: Some instances of drunkenness. One dragon is portrayed as alcoholic.