• A Dragon of a Different Color

  • Heartstrikers, Book 4
  • By: Rachel Aaron
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 21 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (4,356 ratings)

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A Dragon of a Different Color

By: Rachel Aaron
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
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Publisher's Summary

To save his family from his tyrannical mother, Julius had to step on a lot of tails. That doesn't win a nice dragon many friends, but just when he thinks he's starting to make progress, a new threat arrives. Turns out, things can get worse. Heartstriker hasn't begun to pay for its secrets, and the dragons of China are here to collect. When the Golden Emperor demands his surrender, Julius will have to choose between loyalty to the sister who's always watched over him and preserving the clan he gave everything to protect.

©2017 Rachel Aaron (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Dragon of a Different Color

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

interesting--but...

I have been following the series since it began- has a great new world....I did enjoy the World building, and some of the characters. who wouldn't love a nice dragon?

but, the characters also frustrated me. I found it tedious at times. There was a lot of conversation in order to pass on a lot of information-explanations of how magic works ( too much info at times), why things were happening and so on. Many times there was a repeat of information that we, the reader, already knew-- to the point that it frustrated me and made the story a heck of a lot longer than it needed to be.

I grew tired of Julius's (dragon and hero) pacifistic stance. There were times even I rolled my eyes at his speeches and interventions. I have to admit, the author did keep true to him. I am not sure that I'm going to continue with this series but I'm glad I read at least the first two books.

The narrator is exceptional and a gifted artist. He was able to vary the voices. How he read the story made it incredibly enthralling even when it was extremely boring at times --now that is a gift.

The author Rachel Aaron, is an exceptional writer and Storyteller. Just because I didn't particularly care for this book doesn't mean I wouldn't read any more of her books. In fact, I have her on my radar now and I will probably pick up more of her stories.

I sort of recommend this book but that's my opinion if you like the first three it is good to get this book just so you can see the continuation.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Let Down, Thought This Book Would End Series

But no, author spent 3/4 of it making listener's learn the altruistic natures of ALL the characters. Then making the bad guy, or girl in this case, not so bad. The first two books sucked me in, the third held my attention, but number 4 had me hitting fast forward so many times. Ughhh!

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A new favorite dragon, Fredrick!

First off, a freaking cliffhanger. This story starts off right after the events of the last book. The characters are spread out and there are multiple story lines.
There is Julius' story. He is back at Heartstriker Mountain having a showdown with the Chinese dragons, but it's Julius the pacifist, so any showdown involves a lot of talking. There is finally going to be a resolution for Chelsea as 'what happened in China' doesn't stay in China any longer. Some new characters enter the narrative. First, there are the Chinese dragons. Also, Fredrick comes into his own and takes a leading role. Fredrick the officious butler becomes rather awesome.
There is the POV that follows Marci's story. This is the weakest part of the book as this story line moves slowly with much exposition. Though there is a hilarious reunion that takes place.
Bob, the 'twisty in more ways than one' seer, has a much smaller story line as he goes about wreaking havoc and presumably saving the world.
With so many characters and so much going on, the separated characters needed the separate POVs. There are a lot of questions answered. Is Amelia really dead? What of Bob's treachery? Why was the F-clutch sealed and treated like servants? Does Marci become a Merlin?
This addition was a little weaker than the previous books, but it is still one of the best UF series' out there. The world building is interesting. The characters are really fun. The books are 'laugh out loud' funny. I'll hate to see this series end.
The narration by Vikas Adam is always terrific. He is perfect for this series. That said, he had some mispronunciations, and his female characters are starting to get a bit too shrill. I think he could dial that back a bit.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

So. Much. Talking.

I was so excited for this book, but after listening to it I just can't be anymore. The characters and world are fascinating and well developed as always, but I seriously felt like the entire book was one dialog scene after another strung together, with thin whisps of action to connect them. Julius and Marci just TALK. SO MUCH. ALL THE TIME. And they are magically able to convince other characters, emphatically against their plans, that the thing they want to do is right/necessary. I can think of at least three, just off the top of my head, that after being talked to death just roll over and say OK, regardless of their past history or current situation. I literally expected them to find out Julius has some kind of special dragon magic that worked to charm people into doing what he wanted. The entire plot moves forward on Julius and Marci's EARNEST CONVICTIONS, demonstrated largely by how long it takes to ramble them. I desperately hope the last book in the series isn't so boring.

Performance was awesome, as usual. only thing I didn't like was the Leviathan's speaking part. When it's all "intense whispers" it's just kind of annoying to listen to. A small part of the book though.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I don't know

I got so irritated with all the inaction even the finally awaited hook up of Marcy and Julius had to be interrupted by stupid self doubt sorry but it's just gotten old and all the other hesitation is ridiculous don't think I'm going to bother with any more of this series

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A sprawling, overwrought mess

The first three books in this series were pleasant and modestly entertaining, if never rising much beyond that. But this one is a poster child for the perils of self publishing: it is a hot mess, crying out for a good editor (or *any* editor) with a generous and merciless red pen to try to force its ponderous, bloated, sprawling, wordy, overwrought self into some semblance of a decent story.

I don't know where the reviewer who said this book has "a ton of action" is coming from - because what this book mostly is, is talk, talk, talk and more talk. And yet MORE talk. The characters earnestly and extensively and constantly pontificate and speechify and lecture and pep-talk to each other at length, ad nauseum, ceaselessly. They seem to have time to indulge in lengthy conversations - characterized way too often by totally unrealistic paragraphs-long monologues by one party at a time, with no interruptions, pauses, or breaks - even when the sky is falling and the world is ending. Often, the character is simply repeating things that he or she has already said, or that another character has already said, sometimes seemingly only a few short pages before. And way too often in this book, the speaker is deadly, dully earnest and sincere.

Also, it is amazing how often these long, drawn-out conversations occur between two characters, while various other characters in the scene are, despite the importance of the subject matter, for some reason content to just conveniently fade into the background and presumably stand there silently for the entire interminable duration of the conversation. As if the spotlight shifted away from them so they went still and mute. This happened so often that I could no longer attribute it to a rare fluke. I found myself time and again wondering about the silent characters: why aren't they SAYING ANYTHING even when there's an obvious opening for one of them to speak? Either the author was too sloppy or incompetent to write multi-person conversations, or, more likely, this was just a cheap device, a cheat to allow her to do what she wanted with the two-person conversation without having one of the other characters inconveniently interfere with knowledge or an opinion or something that would prevent a misunderstanding or alter the dynamic she was going for. But whatever the reason, it's just bad writing.

The endless repetition and talking until I was numb with boredom was especially bad in the Marci plotline, which really seemed to just...lose the plot. It was all over the place, with new concepts and ideas and rules just thrown into the pot all over the place, many of which made no sense if given even cursory thought. And having characters explain something over and over and over and over again does not magically give it coherence. After 21 hours I still have absolutely no idea what is the point of becoming a Merlin, because Marci seems no more powerful than ever - though she has become far more self-righteous. Nor do I understand why this is all happening in Detroit - what's going on in the rest of the world? What about the spirit of the Great Salt Lake, or the Mediterranean Sea? None of it really makes any sense - and worse, I don't really care, because this entire plotline is just deady dull. I don't care about the spirits or the Sea of Magic or any of it, except peripherally.

What I care about, and the strength of the first two, even three, books, is dragons. The dragon storyline felt like a far smaller portion of the book, yet it was so much more interesting and engaging (though certainly not free of the talking problem). What made the first few books work was the focus on the dragons as individuals (and parts of clans) and their interpersonal relationships. If only the author - or, once again, a good editor - could keep a tighter focus on the books' strengths, she'd be a lot more successful. Because despite the direction this book seemed (sometimes) to want to go, this is not epic fantasy, and making it huge and sprawling and world-spanning and throwing in all sorts of random POVs (do we really need Algonquin's POV?) doesn't make it into epic fantasy. It just dilutes the stories' strengths.. In this book, the parts I liked best by far were the parts in Heartstriker Mountain, with Chelsea and Frederick and even Bethesda and Justin.

And Julius? Well, Julius. I like him less and less. In the first books his holier-than-thou earnestness was sort of freshly and naively appealing, but the luster has worn off, and I am so over it. Now he just seems whiny, self-righteous, and immature, rushing around to "save" everyone because he's "lost so much" (really? Lost so much in the last six weeks? What a tough life!). Whinging about being betrayed, and why doesn't everyone "just talk," and acting as if he can't remember that Bob's a seer for two minutes in a row. Does no one remember that he had never even met Chelsea or Bob six weeks ago?

Whiny, self-rightous, self-involved... and don't forget stalkerish. Julius's relationship with Marci is by far the weakest aspect of the book, and I simply cannot understand where the author is coming from in writing it as she does. Who is it supposed to appeal to? She writes Julius as if he is 13 years old - actually a 13 year old *girl*, who dots her i's with hearts, and has a stereotypical 13 year old girl's idea of first love -so that he's incapable of thinking of anything else but her, and how warm she is and how she smells and he is just nonfunctional when she's around, all his common sense and brains just disappear.... ugh, barf! The author wants us to forget they've known each other for all of SIX WEEKS - and yet Julius becomes catatonic and nonfunctional when she dies, as if they've been married for 50 years, so all he can do is sit around and cry and hide his head like the world is ending and talk about "how much he's lost" - when? Over the past six weeks? And now the world *is* possibly ending, yet he feels the appropriate thing to do is to forget all that and take time out to be with Marci, because...he deserves it? Is one of the underlying messages of this book supposed to be that it's *good* to be so obsessed with someone else that all common sense departs, and all concern for everyone else (including the REST OF THE WORLD!) goes with it, to the point that you can't wait a few HOURS to indulge yourself?

Is this supposed to be romantic or touching? I Well, my main reaction to everything Julius/Marci related was eye-rolling so extreme I had to be careful not to lose sight of the road. As far as I'm concerned the relationship as written detracts enormously from the books and just showcases the author's weaknesses.

Finally, the narrator. All I can say is he's not totally terrible. He does some voices reasonably well, though the reviewers who describe him as a good voice actor clearly haven't listened to a narrator who is truly gifted at this. But he frequently incorrectly stresses sentences, and word mispronunciation is not uncommon ("Himalayan" comes to mind, pronounced "Him- AL-yan"). There are long, drawn out pauses at odd times where they don't belong. But the worst thing is his chronic over-emoting. (This is especially noticeable for Julius, who is constantly shrieking "Marci "! in a panicked hysterical sort of way). He's breathy and earnest and "emotional," and this only magnifies the author's lack of emotional range or subtlety, and the earnestness and borderline-hysteria and hand-wringing over-emotionality of the characters. It's a bad combination.

Overall, this was by far the worst audiobook I've ever actually finished, and I'm not really sure why I did finish it. I guess because I enjoyed the first three, and I did want to know what happened. I wrote this review primarily as a counterweight to some of the, to my mind, undeserved raves. Maybe the author will get her act together, and the fifth book will be worth a try. As it stands now, though, I'd rather read a two-paragraph spoiler summary than put myself through another 20 hours like this one.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Alot of Filler... skippable

So I'll be honest and let you before I start getting nasty comments from the Julius Fan Girls... this book may have been perfect for you, but for me it was pretty terrible. This author really WOWed me with Book 1 and slowly began turn off the road into the corn fields. Then things got bumpy.

It's like the book is written for two different audiences. The Young Adult and the Science Geniuses. For the YA group we have these immature character dialogues and unbelievablely drawn out teenage type love story. Then we start talking about death, afterlife, the math behind magic, the realistic possibilities of how multiple planes of existence could interact. 🙄😒 I mean the author really geeked out. And I'm all for that when it's the right story. I just felt like we lost track of what the hell we came here for and that was DRAGONS!

It's almost like the author is attempting to take the series in the direction of Garon Whited's Knight Lord. A fantasy novel with ALOT of science theories in there to somewhat prove the possibilities of whatever problem they gave their physical science kids that day.

The Marci thing is so dull. This chick is dead and I am rolling my eyes every time they go to her character.

And then there is Julius' favorite phrase..."To his amazement"... lol... the author loves this phrase 🤣 I noted this phrase was repeated over and over in my last review too.

The Chelsey and Emperor drama was underwhelming... Every single thing about it was to be expected. There was no suspense.

Then at the end of the book, where Bob is finally going to confide in Julius, this dummy decides he would rather make out. I almost stopped right there... The world is ending and you decide to ignore the one person who can see the future. This was too dumb. I was hoping the Leviathan would crush the house and then we'd see if Kissy face is more important than Armageddon.

The narration was perfect. This guy is the only good thing about this book. I'm going to read the next one, just because it's hard to leave things unfinished. But I'm not expecting much this time.

1 STAR - 🌟 Not Interesting or Bad story telling. Usually a book I had to force myself to finish.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One hour standing ovation! BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I've listened to at least 500 hundred audio books. I am an author of 9 books, all of which I have produced as audio books. This book is easily among the Top Ten of all. Rachel Aaron is a magnificent, imaginative story teller. Rachel is a preeminent proponent of Dragons, Merlins and Immortal Spirits everywhere!

Vikas Adam is gives the BEST single-voice performance of ANY audio book I've heard! Truly amazing!!!!

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Dragon of a Different Color?

The Epilogue is the best cliff-hanger, come-on to buy the next book I've ever heard. Wow!!!!

What does Vikas Adam bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Vikas Adam is gives the BEST single-voice performance of ANY of the 500+ audio books I've heard! Truly amazing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I am truly moved by the empathy, innocence, benevolence and egalitarian sanity (contrasted against sociopathic cruelty and Overwhelming Evil of his mother, the Leviathan, et. al.) voiced through the character of Julius Heartstriker. This is one of the very rare books in modern fiction that evokes kindness in the reader. Thank you Rachel.

Any additional comments?

If you don't listen to any other Fantasy Series this year, listen to this one!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A uniquely creative world with an awesome voice

I say this for all the books when I say,
Despite some minor issues, this world is flourishing, creative and full of charm. I love the characters and the incredible uniqueness of events. Vikas only furthers seal the deal with his wide array of voices that truly bring this world to life. It wouldn't be the same without him.
I'm ready to continue to the definitely thrilling conclusion.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It just keeps getting better!

I'm a fan of everything Rachel Aaron/Bach writes, and this latest entry into the fantastic Heartstrikers series is no exception. Each book builds on the previous one, and the story just keeps getting better and better.

After the harrowing cliffhanger of No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, we pick up right where we left off, and the action and suspense does not let up for even a second. What happens to Marci? Is Amelia really dead? Will Julius go mad with grief before he figures out What Happened In China? Will Chelsie ever reunite with her lost love and finally be happy?! What are the Nameless Ends? WHAT IS BOB'S ENDGAME?!?!

I'm happy to say all but one of those questions is answered in spectacular fashion in A Dragon of a Different Color. This book actually had me clapping, fist pumping, and cheering out loud at parts, and holding my breath in fear at others. Get ready to feel ALL OF THE FEELINGS as Vikas Adam puts in the best performance of his audiobook career yet.

If you are a fan of fantasy, action, magic, dragons, or any combination thereof, start at the beginning with this series - you will not regret it.

I would give this 10 stars if I could. Rachel has set us up for one hell of a finale in Book 5, and I cannot wait.






(one minor complaint: I'm not sure how audiobook production works, but if there was a director or editor involved, someone really should have caught the mispronunciation of the very common Japanese name "Abe." I cringed every time it was pronounced the same way as Abe as in Abe Lincoln.)

7 people found this helpful

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  • Urban fantasy fan
  • 11-28-21

Still my favorite series

This book dragged out a bit, but I like the world and characters so much that it was fine. I like the uniqueness of the story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • cg
  • 11-15-19

Here’s to the next and last one!

Some parts of the narration were really annoying, particularly the voice of the leviathan. Thankfully, they were not very long so as to spoil the enjoyment of the narration overall. Can’t wait for the last one.

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  • Ellesce
  • 10-08-17

absolutely perfect!!

What a great book. just keeps getting better and better. can't wait for next one