Last Dragon Standing is the final book in Rachel Aaron’s Heartstrikers series. A sort of epic urban fantasy series about the dragons of the Heartstrikers clan set in a near future centered around Detroit, Michigan. This series was one of my favorite things I read last year, and I listened to all four audiobooks one after another and I was really excited (and a little bit sad) to get to this final book when it was released earlier this month.
This book picks up where the last one left off, with our gang all together and trying to figure out how to stop the literal end of the world. Julius Heartstriker, the main character, is someone you really want to see come out on top of things. We don’t get many characters like Julius now days, good people that just want to do good things and be nice and solve problems by talking things out. And although Julius is front and center, this book isn’t really a Julius book in a lot of ways. A lot of it is all about Bob.
One of my favorite characters in this series is Bob, Julius’ older brother and the Seer of their clan. Seer’s, because of their powers, can be a bit eccentric and Bob is probably the most eccentric of them all. His companion is a pigeon! Anyway, for those that love Bob, this book spends a lot of time with him because it’s all about how years (thousands of them) of planning and machinations have led up to this one moment, trying to get the one future outcome that he could live with.
Although this book had some lovely moments in it (Bob, so much Bob! and that epilogue!) overall it fell a bit flat for me. Most of the time was spent with the various characters standing around revealing how things were done, trying to understand what their options were, and planning on how to move forward. There has always been a good amount of exposition in these books and much of it’s needed, but I felt like the amount of it in this last one, compared to the time spent on action and other things, felt a little off balance somehow. In a way I totally understand, most of the loose ends that needed to be wrapped up were explanations for things. I just wish the fighting of the nameless end Leviathan had felt more…urgent for much of the first third of the book. Although, when they did get around to fighting the Liviathan, it was really fun. (I could totally imagine this series as an anime…)
The last thing I want to talk about is the narration of the audiobook by Vikas Adam. Holy moly, Vikas Adam is some kind of voice wizard. There were times when I legit forgot that I was listening to one person narrate because he does such wonderfully distinct voices. Another thing he does that I love is that he doesn’t just read the book, but really acts it out and brings so much feeling to each character. It was a real pleasure to listen to these books.
Overall this was a good conclusion to the series and felt satisfying even if parts of it did drag a bit for me personally. 3/5 stars. If you’re thinking about the starting the series I’d urge you to check it out as they’re really fun books instilled with a sense of optimism that’s sorely needed in today’s world.