Rachel Aaron

Rachel Aaron: Last Dragon Standing

I have been a fan of Rachel Aaron pretty much from the first page of her first book, The Spirit Thief. With Last Dragon Standing, she has released her thirteenth novel and finished her third series, and she is still going as strong as ever. It is the fifth volume in her Heartstriker series, detailing the adventures of Julius, the Nice Dragon and Marci, his human mage. It  has been quite a ride since the first novel appeared in 2014, and the conclusion this final instalment offers is nothing if not triumphant. I’ll try to avoid spoilers for Last Dragon Standing, but there will be (very slight ones) for the previous volumes of the series.

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Rachel Aaron: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished

Whenever a new novel by Rachel Aaron is released, there is a lot of squeeing at Maison Heloise. Things were no different when No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished came out a couple of days ago. This time, however, a bit of grumbling was mixed among the squees as I’d always assumed that The Heartstrikers would be a trilogy only to find out that it will take four or maybe even five volumes until all the mysteries will be revealed. Of course, this also means at least one more novel in the series, so the grumbling was very short-lived in the end.

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Rachel Aaron: One Good Dragon Deserves Another

If M.L. Brennan’s Generation V series is The Godfather with vampires, then Rachel Aaron’s Heartstrikers trilogy (of which One Good Dragon Deserves Another is the second volume) is Generation D, with D standing for Dragon. There are some distinct similarities between the series: a beta hero who is a slacker and dropout from a powerful family ruled by a matriarch, a female partner / girlfriend who is also supernatural and considerably tougher than the protagonist. They also share similar themes, the hero trying to keep his humanity and stay a nice person even as he gets pulled increasingly into his family’s power games.

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What I’m Reading: Rachel Aaron – Spirit’s End

Now, this is how you do Epic Fantasy today.

I’ve talked about how much I love Rachel Aaron’s The Legend of Eli Monpress before, so it won’t come as a surprise that my expectations were really high for this fifth and final volume in the series. I confess to having been just a tad worried whether she’d manage to pull all the threads together, resolve all the mysteries and still maintain the insanely high fun level of the previous novels – but after having read it now I am relieved to say she not only pulled it off but actually surpassed herself, making Spirit’s End the crowning achievement and best volume in the series. (And yes, I’m aware that this sounds rather like fangirl gushing, but I do love those novels.) Some slight spoilers in what follows but nothing (I think) to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of the novel or the series as a whole.

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What I’m Reading: Rachel Aaron – Spirit’s Oath

(Warning – this post starts with a general rant; skip down a couple of paragraphs if you’re only interested in reading about “Spirit’s Oath”.)
I am really glad I decided to get a Kindle last year; by now, I really wouldn’t know what to do without it (or some other e-reader). There are some things, however, that annoy me horribly about it and chief among those are region locks, i.e. that some e-books are available for buyers in the US or UK but not in Germany, even as paperbook versions are freely available. This, as you might be able to imagine (or might not have to, if you own an e-reader yourself) is highly annoying and to me makes absolutely no sense at all.

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Book Diary: Rachel Aaron – The Spirit War

The Spirit War: The Legend of Eli Monpress:…The Spirit War is the fourth installment in Rachel Aaron’s Legend of Eli Monpress, a series that started out as a light and fluffy read but has grown continuously darker as it progresses. This most recent novel continues that trend, and also is considerably more epic than any of the first three volumes – our heroes are all over place in this one, momentous events are afoot, and – the title holding what it promises – there is a war going on (even though the actual fighting, once it happens, seems to bear a greater resemblance to computer game boss fights than to actual military encounters). After novels that were centered on Eli and Nico, this time it is Josef’s turn, and we learn about his background and how he became what he is, and The Spirit War tells (among other things) of how he manages to come to some sort of peace with his past. We also find out a lot more about the wider world the series’ events are set in, and we finally get a cliffhanger that, even though it was clear that this would have to come to pass eventually, is none the less evil for that. Rachel Aaron seems like such a nice person in interviews and on her blog, I really would not have thought her capable of being so mean to leave her readers with that ending… At least Spirit’s End, the final volume in the series, will be out in November already, and I for one am counting the days until then.

The Legend of Eli Monpress may not be the most original fantasy series in recent years (it is fairly conventional, but still manages to breathe new life into tired tropes) or the deepest and edgiest (even as things grow darker with each volume, this is still light reading and does not attempt to be anything else) but for me it consistently has been the one that was the most sheer, unabashed fun to read, that had me alternately chuckling with glee or gnawing my lower lip in excitement. It brought back something (a lot actually) of what I felt when I first started out reading Fantasy as a teenager, the spirit of colourful adventure and wide-eyed wonder that got me hooked on the genre, and that is so very hard to recapture as one grows older. Rachel Aaron does this admirably and without apparent effort, and I love the series for that.