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Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints
Nancy Kress
The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice
Todd Henry

Nice Dragons Finish Last

Nice Dragons Finish Last - Rachel Aaron I loved this book and drove my husband crazy talking about it nonstop for the past couple of days. I absolutely could not put it down.

The worldbuilding is awesome. Set in the near future, cars drive themselves but still have manual overrides. There's augmented reality, but still personal mobile phones. Oh, and a meteor brought magic back to the world, creating a magic apocalypse of sorts, at least in Detroit, where this is set.

The characters are also fantastic. Most SFF these days follows the badasses, the tough guys, the kickass heroines, the anti heroes. But Julius is an uncompromising nice guy, without being a passive character. We're led to believe he used to be a pushover, a loser doing nothing useful in his life, at least according to his relatives. But as the story progresses, he does have a heroic character arc, and I loved every minute of it.

Marci, the human mage, is also an interesting character in her own right. And while she's not the hero of the story, she is fun to watch and someone you can't help but cheer for.

It was also very light on the romance, and I'm told the sequel is much the same. I love that the big reveal of his secret identity doesn't lead to the melodramatic crap you see in so many romantic comedies or superhero stories. It was much more natural and what you would expect from these two characters.

A fun adventure from start to finish, with a quick pace, interesting characters, and a world that feels all too real in spite of the magic.