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Rachel Aaron

Rachel AaronRachel Aaron received a degree in English Literature from the University of Georgia in 2004. She lives a lovely, nerdy, bookish life in Athens, GA with her son, loving husband, and obese wiener dog. She also writes action packed, romantic Science Fiction under the name Rachel Bach. Find out more about the author at Rachel Aaron’s website.

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The Spirit Thief: Fast-paced and cheerful debut

The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

In the opening scene of The Spirit Thief (2010), Rachel Aaron’s charming debut novel, the notorious thief Eli Monpress is trying to escape from the royal dungeon of Mellinor. Since he’s not just a thief but also a wizard, he does this by quite literally trying to charm the dungeon’s door into opening: not by casting a spell on it, but rather by persuading, cajoling and wheedling it into letting him through, explaining that it really would be much better off without those annoying nails keeping it together (which results in the memorable line “Indecision is the bane of all hardwoods.”).

After all, in the fantasy world of THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS, every single object, from the tiniest pebble to the largest mountain, has a spirit. A wizard’s power derives from the ability to... Read More

The Spirit Rebellion: Fun if you don’t take it too seriously

The Spirit Rebellion by Rachel Aaron

Just a few weeks ago saw the release of Rachel Aaron’s entertaining and light-hearted debut novel The Spirit Thief. Now, fast on its heels, we already have the sequel The Spirit Rebellion (2010) — and even better, the third book, The Spirit Eater, will be here around Thanksgiving. Isn’t it wonderful when you don’t have to wait a whole year for the next novel in a series?

This second installment in THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS takes place right after the events in the first book. Spiritualist Miranda Lyonette, heading back to the Spirit Court, finds herself on the wrong end of a political witch hunt after her involvement in the recent events in Mellinor, m... Read More

The Spirit Eater: Best book of the bunch so far

The Spirit Eater by Rachel Aaron

The Spirit Eater (2010) is the third installment in Rachel Aaron’s THE LEGEND OF ELI MONPRESS series. Just like the first two books, The Spirit Thief and The Spirit Rebellion, it’s an entertaining, fast-moving fantasy story, although this newest novel does have a considerably darker edge to it.

The darkness starts right away with the novel’s prologue, in which we learn more about Nico, the girl who contains a demonseed, and about how she met Josef Liechten, the swordsman with the legendary Heart of War sword. Berek Sted, no longer a member of the League of Storms and out for revenge against Jose... Read More

Nice Dragons Finish Last: Great setting and characters, impressive plotting

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Julius Heartstriker is the youngest son of Bethesda Heartstriker, the ambitious, aggressive, and ruthless matriarch of the powerful Heartstriker dragon clan. Bethesda is disappointed in her youngest son. He’s small, weak, nonthreatening and, worst of all, he actually likes humans. He’s just too nice.

To express her displeasure, and to put a fire in Julius’s belly, Bethesda banishes him to the Detroit Free Zone, a place ruled by an ancient spirit named Algonquin. Pretty much anything goes in the DFZ, but one thing that Algonquin won’t tolerate in her realm is dragons. For that reason, Julius is forced to remain in his human form, which is exactly how his mother intends to punish him. She’s giving him one month to prove his worth to his clan. The task he’s been given is to find the missing daughter of a rival dragon clan. If he doesn’t succeed, Bethesda will probably ea... Read More

One Good Dragon Deserves Another: Nice dragon saves the day again

One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (2015) is the second book in Rachel Aaron’s self-published HEARTSTRIKERS series. I listened to Audible Studio’s editions of these books with my 19-year-old daughter. We love the story and the performance of Vikas Adam, the narrator. This review will have some spoilers for the previous book, Nice Dragons Finish Last. If you haven’t read it, you should probably stop here and go do that first. Make sure to choose the audio edition!

Julius and Marcy are now business partners in the Detroit Free Zone where, thanks to one of Julius’ siblings, they’ve got a house to live in. They spend their time ridding the city of magical pests.

But the dragon clan drama never stops and soon enough Julius’ ... Read More

No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished: Another fun Heartstriker story

No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron

No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished (2016) is another fun installment in Rachel Aaron’s HEARTSTRIKERS series about a race of shapeshifters who can take on both human and dragon forms. The main character, Julius, is the youngest member of the powerful Heartstriker dragon clan, which is led by his ruthless mother. Unlike the rest of his family, Julius is a nice guy who, for most of his life, has felt like he doesn’t fit in. His mother, his siblings, and the members of the other dragon clans think Julius is a weakling. He gets absolutely no respect… until recently, when everything has turned around for Julius.

If you haven’t read the first two books, Nice Dragons Finish Last Read More

A Dragon of a Different Color: Not the best, but an essential, installment

A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Rachel Aaron’s HEARTSTRIKERS series continues with the fourth novel, A Dragon of a Different Color (2017). It’s really no use to start this story here – you should first read Nice Dragons Finish Last, One Good Dragon Deserves Another, and No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished. At this point in the story, it’s hard to avoid a few spoilers for the previous books, but I’ll do my best.

In the prologue of A Dragon of a Different Color, we finally learn the history of the Detroit Free Zone (the DFZ), ... Read More

Last Dragon Standing: The epic finale

Last Dragon Standing by Rachel Aaron

Last Dragon Standing (2018) is the epic finale of Rachel Aaron’s self-published HEARTSTRIKERS series. I’ve been listening to the audio edition of the HEARTSTRIKERS novels and can recommend them without reservation to readers interested in this fun and heart-warming saga. I listened to them with my 19-year-old daughter and we loved the narration by Vikas Adam. If you haven’t read the previous four books, Nice Dragons Finish Last, One Good Dragon Deserves Another, No Good D... Read More

Minimum Wage Magic: A new DFZ series

Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron

My teenage daughter (Tali) and I enjoyed listening together to the audiobook editions of Rachel Aaron’s HEARTSTRIKERS series, so we were pleased to learn that Aaron wrote (and self-published) a spin-off series also set in the Detroit Free Zone (DFZ), which takes place a couple of decades after the end of Last Dragon Standing.

But you don’t need to read the HEARTSTRIKERS books first, so feel free to jump in right here with Minimum Wage Magic (2018).

The DFZ series, beginning with Minimum Wage Magic, stars Opal Yong-ae, a young mage who ekes out a living in the DFZ by working as a “Cleaner.” This nasty, bu... Read More

Part-Time Gods: Another adventure in the DFZ

Part-Time Gods by Rachel Aaron

Part-Time Gods (2019) is the second book in Rachel Aaron’s DFZ (DETROIT FREE ZONE) series which is a spin-off of her HEARTSTRIKERS saga. You don’t need to read HEARTSTRIKERS first, but you’ll want to read the first book in the DFZ series, Minimum Wage Magic, before picking up Part-Time Gods.

After successfully solving a mystery and surviving the danger in Minimum Wage Magic, Opal and Nik have decided they work well together, so they’ve teamed up on their cleaning efforts. Each of them is so skillful that, under normal circumstances, they’d be raking it in.
... Read More

Night Shift Dragons: An entertaining finale

Night Shift Dragons by Rachel Aaron

Rachel Aaron’s DFZ (DETROIT FREE ZONE) series comes to a conclusion with the third novel, published in 2020, Night Shift Dragons. For this review, I’ll assume you’ve already read its predecessors, Minimum Wage Magic and Part-Time Gods. (There will be spoilers for those books in this review.)

The story begins right where Part-Time Gods left off. In that novel, we watched Opal suffering under the authoritarian maneuvers of her father, the powerful Dragon of Korea. He put a bad-luck curse on Opal to try to force her to leave the DFZ and return to No... Read More