Night Shift Dragons (DFZ, #3)
They say family always sticks together, but when you’re your dad’s only lifeline and the whole world—humans, dragons, and gods—wants you dead, “family bonding” takes on a whole new meaning.My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m in way over my head. I thought getting rid of my dad’s bad luck curse would put things back to normal. Instead, I’m stuck playing caretaker to the Great Dragon of Korea. That wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t such a jerk, or if every dragon on the planet wasn’t out to kill him, or if he was my only problem.Turns out, things can always get worse in the DFZ. When a rival spirit attacks my god/boss with the aim of turning the famously safety-optional city into a literal death arena with Nik as his bloody champion, I’m thrust onto the front lines and way out of my comfort zone. When gods fight, mortals don’t usually survive, but I’m not alone this time. Even proud old dragons can learn new tricks, and with everything I love falling to pieces, the father I’ve always run from might just be the only force in the universe stubborn enough to pull us back together.

Night Shift Dragons (DFZ, #3) Details

TitleNight Shift Dragons (DFZ, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 5th, 2020
PublisherAaron/Bach
Rating
GenreFantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dragons, Magic

Night Shift Dragons (DFZ, #3) Review

  • TS Chan
    January 1, 1970
    Night Shift Dragons delivered a spectacular and hugely emotionally satisfying conclusion to Rachel Aaron's follow-up urban fantasy series set in the insanely cool, quirky and vibrant free city of the DFZ.  I don't know how she keeps it up but Rachel Aaron has done it yet again. Ever since I've finished Heartstrikers and then the Eli Monpress series, she has become my go-to favourite author for the best comfort reads that could amaze me with its awesome worldbuilding, great and compelling Night Shift Dragons delivered a spectacular and hugely emotionally satisfying conclusion to Rachel Aaron's follow-up urban fantasy series set in the insanely cool, quirky and vibrant free city of the DFZ.  I don't know how she keeps it up but Rachel Aaron has done it yet again. Ever since I've finished Heartstrikers and then the Eli Monpress series, she has become my go-to favourite author for the best comfort reads that could amaze me with its awesome worldbuilding, great and compelling characters that just feel right somehow. The DFZ trilogy, and in particular this concluding book, was no exception. Unfortunately for this review to be meaningful, I would need to mention a few details from the previous books which could be minor spoilers. Admittedly, I caught a slight stumble in the prior sequel Part-Time Gods where I was quite annoyed at Opal Yong-Ae, our main protagonist, as she was increasingly backed into a corner with her bad luck curse (from her dad, of all people) and started being all kinds of crazy. However, the ending of that book pretty much redeemed the story as Opal finally confronted the Great Dragon of Korea, and an epic showdown of dragons and the city of DFZ ensued. The story picked up two months after the end of Part-Time Gods with Opal finally getting the training which was appropriate for her type of magical competency, while remaining in hiding with her father. While each book has its own plotline, the overarching conflict that underscores the trilogy was the dysfunctional relationship between Opal and her father, the Great Yong of Korea - surely nothing could be more so than a father cursing his own daughter. Herein lies the emotional core of this book which transcended the trilogy from really good to fantastic. I believed that I've mentioned this too many times to count. I need to have the feels in order to love a book. And Night Shift Dragons deliver it by truckloads with the resolution of this father-daughter relationship. A resolution that was paced and played out beautifully throughout the narrative as the primary conflict of this finale's plotline began to surface. The story of Opal and Yong was totally worthy of the K-drama vibes of the book's cover. I was initially hoping that I would like Yong as he obviously wasn't painted in a favourable light from Opal's POV. As it turned out, I absolutely loved his characterisation. I certainly did not expect Yong to singularly bring out the most reaction out of me, and in a great way. Aaron has such an uncanny ability of writing characters that just feels so right and natural to what they are supposed to be. Even the other supporting characters are all equally excellently written and delightful to read. To cap it all off, there were also the much-awaited cameo appearances of beloved characters from the Heartstrikers series which came in at the most appropriate times, instead of feeling shoehorned for the the sake of fan service. This book made me teary-eyed, it made me laugh and it also made me fist-pump with a silly grin on my face as the story came to its resounding climax. Speaking of climax, another thing I've come to expect from Aaron is spectacular action scenes and she didn't disappoint. The climactic scene was all kinds of fantastic as dragon and spirit magic all come together in a truly exhilarating and cinematic action sequence. Even right in the smack of all the action, Aaron managed to sneak in some emotional resonance that made these moments soar to greater heights.Rachel Aaron continues to meet and even surpass my expectations with every new book or series that she embarked in. Night Shift Dragons knocked it out of the park with a beautifully crafted resolution to the core emotional conflict of the DFZ trilogy, and wrapped it up with a spectacular climax that showcases her worldbuilding magic at its finest.You can purchase a copy of the book from  Amazon US | Amazon UK You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
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  • Jenia
    January 1, 1970
    I love this world so much, it's just tons and tons of fun! I guess I wish there was a little more of an arc to the adventures. It feels more like three stand alone problems, and I prefer either like 10 books of standalone problems (like Rivers of London) or a tighter overall plot (like Heartstrikers). The problem introduced and resolved here could have totally been a whole trilogy by itself and I'd have eaten it up. But it IS a very satisfying three book emotional arc for Opal, so there's that I love this world so much, it's just tons and tons of fun! I guess I wish there was a little more of an arc to the adventures. It feels more like three stand alone problems, and I prefer either like 10 books of standalone problems (like Rivers of London) or a tighter overall plot (like Heartstrikers). The problem introduced and resolved here could have totally been a whole trilogy by itself and I'd have eaten it up. But it IS a very satisfying three book emotional arc for Opal, so there's that :)Can't wait for Aaron to write more in this setting. And kinda wanna reread the whole Heartstrikers series AGAIN now lol... I totally get why the Heartstrikers characters are just little cameos in this series, but I miss them terribly anyway hahaha
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  • Lila
    January 1, 1970
    Yong! He looks like he disapproves just about... everything. :)
  • Ye-Won
    January 1, 1970
    i'm both completely bereft and so, so, so satisfied with the ending of this spectacular trilogy. bereft because opal is one of my FAVORITE protagonists of all time (actually make her THE favorite because she easily bumps harry, anne shirley, sabriel, and all my other cherished main characters down the list a couple of places) and I'll be so sad not to get to read about her anymore but also satisfied because this was such a good ending -- both in an entertaining and narrative kind of way -- that i'm both completely bereft and so, so, so satisfied with the ending of this spectacular trilogy. bereft because opal is one of my FAVORITE protagonists of all time (actually make her THE favorite because she easily bumps harry, anne shirley, sabriel, and all my other cherished main characters down the list a couple of places) and I'll be so sad not to get to read about her anymore but also satisfied because this was such a good ending -- both in an entertaining and narrative kind of way -- that I can't see anything further that needs to be addressed or brushed up on. i'm so giddy right now. i loved the reconciliation, i loved the theme of family, i love yong and opal and nik and the dfz and everyone in this book (except kauffman and the gameskeeper whose fates i'm snickering about even now) and i do love the greater message that Rachel Aaron imparts. it never feels heavy-handed or preachy because the reader gets to experience it through Opal's POV and feelings first and foremost, and it's hard not to be absorbed into the emotional implications when we know and completely understand her feelings. how is it that rachel aaron can write such compelling protagonists and characters? not to mention the world-building? incredible. world-class. i'm gushing because i was rightly spellbound by this book, and god knows i could go at this all day. but since this is a review to try and convince people to give the DFZ series a try -- please, please do. You don't need to have read Heartstrikers to enjoy DFZ (i only had read the first book before I started this series). DFZ stands on its own with great magic and world-building mechanics that actually manages to make its urban setting compelling where so many other books fail. the fantasy aspect is great -- the action is too. the pacing of this series is perfect and it never feels like a slog to get through. there's no one beating you over the head with foreshadowing or weird meandering side plots. it's a zippy, entertaining ride from point A to point B to point C but you'll never really realize how soon you are to the end until you finally finish the book.also, because I have to mention this because it's very important to me: the diversity rep in this book? excellent. if only so many authors paid attention to how Rachel Aaron writes Opal then I'd have so much more fun reading books without having to suspect them of just writing these characters for woke points. Opal is a real person. She's not a weird mishmash of Western standards or perceptions of Eastern/Korean cultures -- in no way does she feel like a white spokeperson's megaphone on how "submission is bad!!!" "familial piety is gross and doesn't hold with the ~new world~". Instead, she tackles the relationship between a stubborn daughter and an overprotective father, accounts for its cultural background without the "eastern parenting culture is bad bad bad" and LETS Opal and Yong BREATH as real people -- and not Asian stereotypes. And at the end of the day, that's all I and so many PoC readers really want from our books. To not only be seen as people, but to get to read about people who look and think like us run around with dragons and magic and indulge in a fantasy adventure so many white readers have gotten to do over the centuries. It might sound like a bit much to pin all of this on one series, but that just goes to show how incredibly well-written and entertaining and MEANINGFUL this book is to me. this whole series in fact. i can only hope that, even if this doesn't have the exact same weight to you as it does to me, you can at least be thoroughly entertained and enjoy this book for all of its other wonders.
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  • Maja Ingrid
    January 1, 1970
    This is the concluding part in Rachel Aarons new DFZ trilogy, sequel to one of my favourite series Heartstrikers. Do you need to read Hearstrikers first? No. Should you read it first? IMO, definitely: it makes all the cameos and references to Heartstrikers all the more fun, but you can totally read Heartstrikers after this one. In Heartstrikers, you come for the Nice Dragon™ and stay for all the amazing dragon drama. Im not kidding, its amazing and hilarious. (thousands of years old dragon can This is the concluding part in Rachel Aaron’s new DFZ trilogy, sequel to one of my favourite series Heartstrikers. Do you need to read Hearstrikers first? No. Should you read it first? IMO, definitely: it makes all the cameos and references to Heartstrikers all the more fun, but you can totally read Heartstrikers after this one. In Heartstrikers, you come for the Nice Dragon™ and stay for all the amazing dragon drama. I’m not kidding, it’s amazing and hilarious. (thousands of years old dragon can be very petty, lol.)In this series, which is set about 20 years after the ending of Heartstrikers series, we meet Opal, a young woman who sought independency and freedom in the City of New Detroit (aka Detroit Free Zone: DFZ) to get away from her Dragon father. In an attempt to bring her back to Korea he put a curse on her that gives her bad luck (mostly concerning money). The previous instalment dealt a little with Opal searching for ways to break his curse, and when she does, it fires terribly. This book deals a little with those consequences. I loved the scenes where Opal and her father were brought closer to each other. Of course there are more than just breaking a curse your dad put on you. DFZ is full of dangerous adventures. This trilogy gives you a little bit of gods (we stan drunken spirit of dragons), a little bit of spirits and a little bit of dragons and the gist that comes with. PERSONALLY I wanted more dragons, but you can NEVER have too much dragons (view spoiler)[in all honesty I more specifically wanted more Julius even though my heart would implode but most Heartstrikers would be welcome (hide spoiler)]It’s also a futuristic urban fantasy, so it got lots of high tech along with different magics. And honestly I think it worked great. I’m not a sci-fi person at all so futuristic and tech stuff should have been a bother for me but it wasn’t. I actually adore the sci-fi elements that Rachel added into this trilogy and the Heartstrikers, though we get even more of it in this trilogy, since Opal is so intermingled with it. I was honestly bit surprised by one outcome in the ending. (view spoiler)[After all they’ve been through I had thought Yong would agree to sign Julius’s peace treaty, so Yong being all “fuck that” and Julius replying with “Well then fuck out of my city” was bit unexpected. I was also VERY busy squealing over tiny kitten Julius being furious and frustrated at 2000years older Yong. I’m not used to precious tiny kitten being so authorative but I like it, bUT WHRES’S MARCI I NEED MY GIRL. Also Justin was there to protecc his tiny kitten brother if Yong so much as touch a hair on Julius person(and also drag Julius through the dirt bc he’s too much Nice Dragon™) I might have dissolved into air alSO AMELIAS CAMEO WAS GOLD DEFINITELY A FAVE SCENE FROM THE WHOLE TRILOGY (hide spoiler)]. Though I shouldn’t be surprised considering Yong is Yong and will forever be Yong. (view spoiler)[and since Julius istoo lenient, as Justin so nicely put it, if Yong signed the peace treaty, he could likely forgive Yong for the havoc he ran in Rentfree (hide spoiler)] Both this trilogy and the Heartstrikers keep a generally light tone and both are so fun to read, which I totally recommend if you want something light in these dark times. Opal is super fun to follow and her mental health AI Sybil is a gem (a mental health AI that at times seemed to need her own mental health AI LMAO). Opal’s father is your typical old proud dragon and Nik at lot of times is your dark broody man, but he got his moments too. And the God DFZ is such a lovable little butterfly (which is weird statement of a God embodiment of freedom and a city) but she’s so precious in a childlike way. Just read the books, guys. Also: take a shot every time I mention “Heartstrikers”. Spirit of Dragons would totally approve.
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  • Mihir
    January 1, 1970
    Overall rating = 4.5 stars Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Night Shift Dragons brings to an end the DFZ trilogy and its a book that I was highly anticipating after the emotional rollercoaster ending of Part-Time Gods. For the sake of this review, I will talk about certain events from the preceding two titles and it might be considered spoilerific by some so be warned.Over the past two books, we have come to know Opal Yong-Ae really well. Shes the daughter of the great Overall rating = 4.5 stars Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Night Shift Dragons brings to an end the DFZ trilogy and it’s a book that I was highly anticipating after the emotional rollercoaster ending of Part-Time Gods. For the sake of this review, I will talk about certain events from the preceding two titles and it might be considered spoilerific by some so be warned.Over the past two books, we have come to know Opal Yong-Ae really well. She’s the daughter of the great Dragon of Korea and the opal of his eye. She however doesn’t seem to think of it in those sweet terms. When we first met Opal, she was a cleaner and a mage who’s down on her luck. She however is a fighter and knows that the DFZ is her last option. Opal met Nik and soon discovered why she was plagued by bad luck. Things take some exciting turns and we find out what’s the root cause of Opal’s bad luck.The start of this book is set a couple of months from the ending of Part-Time Gods and we learn what Opal has been upto and how Yong is recuperating as well. Things aren’t exactly normal and with this being the DFZ, things are beyond the normal. Opal is slowly and surely learning to become a priest while also re-learning how to operate and control her magic. That’s the easy stuff, the tougher part is for her to understand why her father behaved the way he did. The great dragon of Korea hasn’t fared well after the climatic events and he finds himself in a whole new way. Both Opal and Yong will have to learn to reconcile their differences and figure out a way to come back alive as danger circles them and their homeland of Korea.This trilogy ending was a spectacular read for me as it brought to the fore the emotional crux of this series. The bond between a father and his daughter as they refuse to see eye to eye. This was excellently laid out by the author as we learn about the authoritative dragon father and his equally strong willed and obstinate human daughter who yearns for freedom in the most basic sense. Both Opal and Yong are fascinating & deeply flawed characters, however their charisma is such that we the readers can’t help but look closely at their dysfunctional selves. Clearly Opal is the protagonist of the series and throughout the trilogy she matures massively. Yong is the Korean dragonlord who perhaps has never been challenged by any human as Opal does. He’s also quite different than many dragons as he respects and adores the human race. However his iron will and his intent to control all of his surroundings are suffocative to say the least. I enjoyed how the author peeled back layers about both of them throughout the trilogy and it’s in this book, we get the massively emotional payout. This has been the core conflict of the series and the author gives us a delightfully strong resolution to this issue.Nik is another character whom we have been left in the dark and in this volume, we learn why he acts the way he does. His relationship with Opal is a cute and funny one but it’s in this book we get to see what love truly means to both of them. After a weird character turn in Part-Time Gods, we see them acting a lot more fluidly and as normal couples would. Lastly rounding up the character cast is Opal’s AI, the DFZ & her mortal shell. All of whom are delightful and writing such characters has been Rachel’s forte. It’s very much evident how good she is at giving us readers so many wonderful characters to root for and chuckle along with.There’s some wonderful action sequences within the story and none better than the ending climax wherein human, dragon & spirit magic combine to showcase something spectacular. I liked how the action and emotional quotients complimented each other beautifully instead of competing within themselves.Another funny aspect is that each of the three books offered a look at different aspects of the DFZ world and gave us different villains to root against. In this book, we find out about the main reason why Nik is so secretive about his past as well as meet one of the most terrifying aspects about the DFZ’s negligent attitudes towards those who live within her realm. I enjoyed how the author had a wonderful call back to the Heartstrikers series with regards to creation of spirits/forgotten gods as well a very harsh but effective look against rampant no-holds-barred capitalism. I enjoyed this aspect of the story as we learn how things have been shaped after the events of the Heartstrikers series and this rarely gets addressed.The worldbuilding in this book takes a bit of a backseat unlike the first book (Minimum Wage Magic) wherein we got to the cool subterranean world below & within the DFZ. In this book however there’s a strong light shone upon the magic system focusing on human mages, preiesthood and more. I enjoyed this aspect of the storyline and the DFZ world is such a rich one that I’m sure we might see more unexplored aspects in the future.Lastly this is a personal gripe but the author has been very careful to not let this series get overridden by the Heartstriker characters and while I understand her reasoning to the hilt. I’m always on the lookout for callbacks, references and cameos to the previous series. We do get a few well-timed cameos from some of our favourites but the fan in me always wanted more.This book ended on a strong and emotionally stable note and while we got a terrific trilogy. I’m sure the fans will be wanting more stories set within this world and maybe even a return to the beloved characters. However I trust the author to bide her time and give us a story that’s worthy of her return to this world. Rather than making it a cash-grab.CONCLUSION: Night Shift Dragons is an action-packed bonanza of a book, it has action, emotional resolutions and a dragontastic climax which is unbelievably cool to read. It offers closure on all the plot threads introduced within the trilogy and yet leaves me wanting more set in the world of the DFZ. Kudos once again to Rachel Aaron for stringing my heart and my mind along superbly and closing out another fantastic series. She’s in a league by herself in this regard and I hope she continues to thrill us for many, many more decades.
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  • Crystal D
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book so much. It's a great end to the series that ties up all the plot points perfectly. The overarching plot is fine, nothing special there but there are really good twists in the climax, and great action in the last four chapters. What this series has always shined with though, is Opal and her relationships with the people around her. And I have to say, this third book is such a fantastic culmination of her story arc throughout all 3 books - her problems with her Dad, her magical I loved this book so much. It's a great end to the series that ties up all the plot points perfectly. The overarching plot is fine, nothing special there but there are really good twists in the climax, and great action in the last four chapters. What this series has always shined with though, is Opal and her relationships with the people around her. And I have to say, this third book is such a fantastic culmination of her story arc throughout all 3 books - her problems with her Dad, her magical issues, her flaws and lack of communication and not realizing where people were coming from, all were addressed in this book and it made her actions in the previous 2 totally make sense, when at times she got a little annoying. Huge themes of communicating, and understanding where your family members are coming from are so fantastic in this, and I adore Young and Opal's relationship.Book 2 was Opal and Nick's relationship, but this one was all about Young and Opal and it was the book I was waiting for. From the end of book 1, I always liked Young and knew that he loved Opal, but he didn't realize what he was doing was hurting her and he needed to listen to her. So this 3rd book, when they both decided to listen to one another, and rebuild their relationship was so fantastic and I couldn't get enough of their tender, sweet one on one moments. Their action scenes were epic also, and the ultimate culmination of their bond was the perfect cherry on this books end.The DFZ is a fantastic character, the cameos we got from Heartstrikers were great (I feel Juilius was a bit OOC, but also made sense since we haven't seen him mature in the years since the Heartstrikers series) but the supporting cast in this was great, and I loved seeing the DFZ and Opal interact with each other. The growth involved with all characters was fantastic, and the ending felt like more of a beginning for the characters than an end. I really loved the hopeful, open ended finale, and I hope we get some short stories of Nick, Opal, Young and the gang later down the road.I read the audio book, and the narrator does such a good job of bringing the characters to life. Opal and the DFZ, and Young especially were my favorite performances, she just nailed all of their emotional beats perfectly and I'd totally read a book narrated by her again.I just can't get enough of this universe, and this series I liked even more than Heartstrikers. I prefer character driven stories, so the grounded nature of this with Opal and her family issues, along with the side plots with the DFZ were so great and I hope we see more of her and the rest of her supporting cast in other stories. Highly, highly recommend this series!
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars. So this is book I hard for me to review because there's what I wanted from it vs. what it delivered which was a decent family story with fun action. If you're looking for romance or more of Nik, you're not going to be satisfied. I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series, but overall I got the feeling throughout this book that the author was done with this series and just wanted to wrap things up quickly. ***SPOILERS BELOW***As I said, I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this 3.5 Stars. So this is book I hard for me to review because there's what I wanted from it vs. what it delivered which was a decent family story with fun action. If you're looking for romance or more of Nik, you're not going to be satisfied. I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series, but overall I got the feeling throughout this book that the author was done with this series and just wanted to wrap things up quickly. ***SPOILERS BELOW***As I said, I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series and came to love Nik's softer side in the second book, although I questioned whether Opal really felt the same way about him as he did for her - I couldn't tell if that was deliberate by the author or not. I came out of Book 2 really wanting to know what happens next with both with Opal's father and with Nik. I was expecting (and wanting) time spent repairing the Nik/Opal relationship that Opal callously threw away and some more of the romance we got a taste of in Book 2 while on an adventure to help her dad. What we got was a very quick resolution of the relationship and then Nik went off to play his part in the adventure off stage, while Opal's dad took on the role of gruff partner in crime. This book makes it clear that the arc of this series was centralized on Opal's relationship with her father, and I get that, I see it looking back. But, although Nik doesn't play a role in that relationship, he was such an important part of he first 2 books, and I feel like he deserved better. I almost felt like it was a bit lazy to just have him brushed aside so the focus could only be on Opal and her dad. Plus, I feel like there was a missed opportunity here because having Opal work harder to repair that relationship as well would have added more depth to the story, and the tension between Nik and Opal's dad during the few brief scenes they had together teased at the potential for some humorous interaction if they had to work together and grudgingly come to respect each other.So ultimately it's unfortunate because I feel like there was definitely some missed potential here and I wish it could have lived up to my expectations.
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  • AnnMarie
    January 1, 1970
    Once again, I read this whole book in essentially one session, which is pretty standard for me reading Aaron's books. This one tied up Opal's story arc (view spoiler)[with a happily-ever-after with Nik in the DFZ while promising to visit her parents for the holidays (hide spoiler)]. It tied up all the loose ends and did so in a fun and satisfying way. It was a little frustrating that I saw all of the major plot arcs and twists coming from miles away, enough so that it was sometimes a little "Why Once again, I read this whole book in essentially one session, which is pretty standard for me reading Aaron's books. This one tied up Opal's story arc (view spoiler)[with a happily-ever-after with Nik in the DFZ while promising to visit her parents for the holidays (hide spoiler)]. It tied up all the loose ends and did so in a fun and satisfying way. It was a little frustrating that I saw all of the major plot arcs and twists coming from miles away, enough so that it was sometimes a little "Why is this news?? ...oh yeah" when Opal figured them out in the story. However, I will say this: while I saw the major reveals coming, Aaron always manages to pull off the resolutions of those complications, twists, and reveals in ways that I wasn't expecting. This kept the story engaging for me, even if I would have liked a little more of the mystery that characterized her other series set in this world. (To be fair, the stakes here are far lower, and aren't constantly changing the way they were in the Heartstrikers series, so that's probably unfair of me.) The relationship between Opal and her father, the driving force behind the plots for the last two books but not the focus of them, takes center stage here. As a result, some of the major players from the other two books were kind of sidelined in this one. It was definitely necessary, and great for character growth, but it was a little bit sad not to spend as much time with some of the characters we've come to love from the other books. Also, I wish there had been more of a moment (or several of them) for Opal to come to an understanding with her mother, who is really only a cardboard cutout of a character, essentially a trope. I wish Aaron had developed her, and her relationship with Opal, more; as it was, she was completely defined by her relationship to the Man in Her Life (Opal's father), and that's especially sad when there are several other interesting female characters in the story. TL;DR a satisfying conclusion to a fun series set a rich, detailed world that's a lot of fun.
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  • Arthur King
    January 1, 1970
    This book is not what I was promised, but I'm kindof okay with it anyway.This book completely upends almost all of the established story reguarding the heartstrikers and DFZ books. Opal, our main character is done running from her past, or much of anything, really, as she realizes that actually, she is an over-powered mary-sue character that can stand toe to toe with dragons, gods and the empty winds of fate itself. Her big, tough, hunky, protector of a man is now the one being haunted by past This book is not what I was promised, but I'm kindof okay with it anyway.This book completely upends almost all of the established story reguarding the heartstrikers and DFZ books. Opal, our main character is done running from her past, or much of anything, really, as she realizes that actually, she is an over-powered mary-sue character that can stand toe to toe with dragons, gods and the empty winds of fate itself. Her big, tough, hunky, protector of a man is now the one being haunted by past ghosts and her father, well, let's just say that he learns fairly quickly that he can't boss her around anymore. No sir. If this book became a movie, I have no doubt that untold masses would be complaining about how the story has been ruined by SJW political correctness.Fortunately, I don't really care about any of that. What I do care about, however, is that I was essentially sold a bill of goods in the first book, and this story is not a conclusion to that book. Opal's character gets a complete rewrite in the 2 months between the end of the last book and the beginning of this one, and while many of those changes are understandable, I feel like a little too much of it happens off-screen. That being said, so what if every key motivating factor in her life is suddenly replaced with a can-do attitude and supermage insta-powers that were nowhere to be seen before now? They're here now, darn it (thanks to an off-screen training montage,) and there's an evil mob boss to take down for the sake of love. Let's kick this pig. (view spoiler)[Also, if anyone can tell me why whitesnake fighting / killing a mortal in the arena "by choice" is not a crime under the peacekeeper's accords, but why youn'ge doing the exact same thing (saving both the life of said mortal and also his sister) is apparently a huge deal? I can't for the life of me figure it out. That entire exchange should have been left 0ut of the book, imho. It does nothing but take away from his (julius') character. (hide spoiler)]
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  • The Bookshelf Wars
    January 1, 1970
    The DFZ is back, and BETTER THAN EVERSince its introduction in Nice Dragons Finish Last, the DFZ has been a city full of magic and possibility, and Opals latest adventure is no exception.As Opal struggles to save her father despite his overbearing tendencies, she must now also reckon with the dark side of the city she loves. The DFZ is a land of unfettered freedom and opportunity, but the darker aspect of humanity has twisted that freedom into a bloodthirsty cancer that is growing at the bottom The DFZ is back, and BETTER THAN EVERSince its introduction in Nice Dragons Finish Last, the DFZ has been a city full of magic and possibility, and Opal’s latest adventure is no exception.As Opal struggles to save her father despite his overbearing tendencies, she must now also reckon with the dark side of the city she loves. The DFZ is a land of unfettered freedom and opportunity, but the darker aspect of humanity has twisted that freedom into a bloodthirsty cancer that is growing at the bottom of the city. If she wants to save the people she loves, Opal must destroy that cancer... but of course, it won’t be easy.If you’re a fan of Rachel Aaron, this is nothing new. Her heroes are known for taking on entities far greater than themselves in new and unexpected ways. But joining Opal as she battles the ugly consequences of rampant capitalism feels particularly apt right now, at this moment in time. As a worldwide pandemic exposes the fatal flaws in our society, so too must Opal confront the suffering and exploitation that shackle the poorest, most helpless citizens of her city. The clear connection between reality and fiction has never been more depressing.But Aaron is an optimist. She challenges her readers to examine whether this savage reality is truly human nature, or whether we are simply choosing to amplify our own worst flaws. She argues that, though our situation seem to be getting bleaker by the second, we have the freedom to adapt, to be better. We created this system, therefore we have the power to change it.The result is more hopeful than anything I’ve read in a while. I doubt magic and dragons will help with our world’s problems, but this kind of optimism is exactly what I need right now. And though the final installment of Opal’s adventure will leave you wanting more, Aaron promises that she isn’t finished with the DFZ.And I can’t wait to see what comes next :)Verdict: 5 stars.
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  • Lucie Ondrušková
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a huge fan of Rachel Aaron and I always enjoy her books and read through them (almost) in one sitting. This one was no exception but... I feel like there was something missing. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very enjoyable book, I was just expecting something different, maybe. The previous two books are about Opal battling for independence from her father, the great dragon of Korea. I was expecting this to be the theme that ties the trilogy together and the third book about Opal and Yong I'm a huge fan of Rachel Aaron and I always enjoy her books and read through them (almost) in one sitting. This one was no exception but... I feel like there was something missing. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very enjoyable book, I was just expecting something different, maybe. The previous two books are about Opal battling for independence from her father, the great dragon of Korea. I was expecting this to be the theme that ties the trilogy together and the third book about Opal and Yong being forced to work together and slowly repairing their relationship and finding common ground.Instead, their relationship is solved super quickly at the beginning of the book with a long cathartic dialogue which the author is so fond of (nothign worng with the dialogue as such, it was done well, especially as someone who grew up with abusive father it felt really personal for me) and the rest of the book they just spend working side by side like besties. It's not entirely plausible and it cheapens the plot of the previous two books somewhat.I guess the main problem with the book for me was the plot / villain. It's no longer personal for Opal, she's fighting against him because her god said so - and in the ends it turns out she doesn't even care about the god that much. Yes, Nik's life is also threatened but there's never actual sense something might go wrong with him and the curse is purely a plot device.Another thing that bugged me is Nik was missing for like 90 % of the book and we didn't get to see his character and his relationship with Opal grow.Anyway, I love the DFZ. I feel it's something truly unique in the vast genre of urban fantasy and I'll happily read anything Rachel will put out from this world, but it feels like this book was "only" very good when it could've been spectacular.
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  • Veevee
    January 1, 1970
    While I haven't finished the Heartstriker series, I am almost positive that the DFZ books are my favourite books set in this world. There is just so much to love, without even discussing the PHENOMENAL world building (but I could discuss that for *days* if anyone was willing to listen). I am always a fan when a series ends with a bang and Night Shift Dragons really hit is out of the park. My favourite part of this series/book is the relationship between Opal and her father. I just *cannot* get While I haven't finished the Heartstriker series, I am almost positive that the DFZ books are my favourite books set in this world. There is just so much to love, without even discussing the PHENOMENAL world building (but I could discuss that for *days* if anyone was willing to listen). I am always a fan when a series ends with a bang and Night Shift Dragons really hit is out of the park. My favourite part of this series/book is the relationship between Opal and her father. I just *cannot* get enough. In the fantasy/Sci-fi/urban fantasy genres today it is almost a staple for the main character to have deceased parents (or to be so distant with her family that they can basically be considered dead). Although I understand while this trope exists (makes things easier for the MC, provides back story, etc.), it also means that we miss out on a lot of family shenanigans and emotional development which is why I am so glad that the plot of this series was at its heart about a father-daughter relationship. Opal and *The Great Yong* start the series off as (loving) adversaries slowly working towards reconciliation in the final book and the payoff for that emotional ride is so worth it. I loved seeing the formidably stubborn Yong slowly come around to respecting Opal. Honestly I could gush for days. My only complaint is that wish there was a final chapter from Yong's perspective (like the prologue in book two) so that we could see how proud he is of her at the end. That would have been the icing on an already delicious cake.
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  • Kevin C
    January 1, 1970
    Rachel Aaron does not disappoint. So, I'm going to start with the major flaw not just to this book, but all of the ones Rachel has written that I have read. She really, really likes the protagonist having a nice long talk with people. Bad guys, good guys, dialogue scenes will go for a really long time. Sometimes, the climax of the book leads straight into a dialogue scene when it really feels like it should be something more exciting. Sometimes the dialogue scenes feel horribly out of place at Rachel Aaron does not disappoint. So, I'm going to start with the major flaw not just to this book, but all of the ones Rachel has written that I have read. She really, really likes the protagonist having a nice long talk with people. Bad guys, good guys, dialogue scenes will go for a really long time. Sometimes, the climax of the book leads straight into a dialogue scene when it really feels like it should be something more exciting. Sometimes the dialogue scenes feel horribly out of place at first, and break the flow of what was going in before it. That being said, when the dialogue scenes get to the point, it's always really good, or at least, really inspiring. And when it turns into an action sequence, Rachel has a gift for making it extraordinarily cinematic and thrilling. In nearly every book she's written, I've found myself needing to put on really epic music to serve as a soundtrack because things just got real in the book. It's really satisfying, and Night Shift Dragons doesn't disappoint. The climax is rad, and feels earned. The book doesn't actually have an enormous amount of stuff happening in it, but when it gets going, it really grabs on and doesn't let go. If you haven't read any of her other DFZ books, you won't like or get much of what happens in this. But if you have, this book takes a lot of the stuff that we know and love from the other books and uses them to have a really great ending. I enjoyed this book a lot and blew through the last half of it in no time.
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  • Pearl
    January 1, 1970
    This was a solid conclusion to the trilogy. Backstories are explored, plotlines are wrapped up, and we're left satisfied.I do have to say though that my favorite part of the book was the relationship between Opal and her father. It's been clear since the first book that Opal did live her parents even if they couldn't talk to each other for more than 3 minutes without fighting. I love that Opal and her father finally had time to sit down and work on their issues.I also live that it ultimately This was a solid conclusion to the trilogy. Backstories are explored, plotlines are wrapped up, and we're left satisfied.I do have to say though that my favorite part of the book was the relationship between Opal and her father. It's been clear since the first book that Opal did live her parents even if they couldn't talk to each other for more than 3 minutes without fighting. I love that Opal and her father finally had time to sit down and work on their issues.I also live that it ultimately came down to two people with wildly different love languages learning how to express themselves. Figuring out the root misunderstandings didn't magically solve everything, but it gave them a solid base. It also gave us a way to see just how much like her father Opal can be. In a lot of way it felt like everything else in the book was a backdrop to explore this relationship between daughter and father. An entertaining backdrop, but a backdrop. With all that being said it was still a lot of fun to finally get Nik's backstory and see him as the badass fighter. It was fun to interact with the spirit of the DFZ and realize just how young she was. It was fun to go through Opal's training.I do wish there had been some time to explore Opal's relationship with her mother the same way her relationship with her father was, but only so much page space.
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  • Blodeuedd Finland
    January 1, 1970
    I really like her dad, and I mean he is such an asshole! But then the truth is he is a dragon, a real dragon. Not like Julius, whom I loved, but no, Yong of Korea is a proud dragon. And dragons are might fickle, old beings.This is book 3, a lot has happened. Like how her dad is in a coma since he used all his power on her bad luck curse. Opal has also become a priestess of the DFC. She has not talked to anyone in 2 months. And she has no idea what to do next.But something is stirring in the DFC, I really like her dad, and I mean he is such an asshole! But then the truth is he is a dragon, a real dragon. Not like Julius, whom I loved, but no, Yong of Korea is a proud dragon. And dragons are might fickle, old beings.This is book 3, a lot has happened. Like how her dad is in a coma since he used all his power on her bad luck curse. Opal has also become a priestess of the DFC. She has not talked to anyone in 2 months. And she has no idea what to do next.But something is stirring in the DFC, something the city itself can not see.Korea needs its dragon back, what will she do about her dad? Other dragons will find out and come for her.And then there is Nick.Action, fun and just, well I really love this world. So what did I do the minute I finished this? To see if there would be more! And she is writing about someone new, and I want to know what this new series will be about! Gimme! Also, more dragons please, I love them.NarrationEmily is great for this series, and her Yong, oh he is so proud and haughty. Just perfect. And her DFC! Well, yes I like how she narrates everyone so that they will stand out.And as always, definitely listen. I do love listening.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I'm glad I finished this series, but I have to admit that this was my least favourite of them all. While the storytelling was engaging as always and the world of DFZ was interesting and fresh, I needed more Opal and Nik. They hardly had any page time at all. Overall, the resolution of all the different plots and subplots in this series felt satisfying. Every conflict: the one between Opal and her parents, Opal and Nik, the DFZ and the baddie of this story, reached a nice conclusion. My only I'm glad I finished this series, but I have to admit that this was my least favourite of them all. While the storytelling was engaging as always and the world of DFZ was interesting and fresh, I needed more Opal and Nik. They hardly had any page time at all. Overall, the resolution of all the different plots and subplots in this series felt satisfying. Every conflict: the one between Opal and her parents, Opal and Nik, the DFZ and the baddie of this story, reached a nice conclusion. My only gripe: I needed more Nik in the story and he just wasn't there. I would've even taken an epilogue. All told, I still look forward to whatever this author has to share with us. Thanks, Rachel Aaron, for another fun ride. :)
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  • Lisa (obsolete.fidelity)
    January 1, 1970
    3,5 ⭐This was a nice read!I thought the characters and the story was alright, but what I really loved was some of the magic. I also liked that in this series, Opal sees characters from Heartstrikers a little differently. They're not the same in the two series, because they're seen from different point of views, and I really liked that!Maybe a little dissapointed certain characters from Heartstrikers didn't make an appearance, but I know this was Opal's story, and I just need to accept that.The 3,5 ⭐This was a nice read!I thought the characters and the story was alright, but what I really loved was some of the magic. I also liked that in this series, Opal sees characters from Heartstrikers a little differently. They're not the same in the two series, because they're seen from different point of views, and I really liked that!Maybe a little dissapointed certain characters from Heartstrikers didn't make an appearance, but I know this was Opal's story, and I just need to accept that.The series is very easily read, which is something I need, but then all of Aaron's books are easy to read.
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  • Geoffrey Philip
    January 1, 1970
    And Now for Our Exciting Conclusion The conclusion to the latest entry in the world of Heartstrikers and the DFZ. After reading Part-time Gods, I was expecting this book to largely be a wrestling match between Opal and Yong. And while that element is still there much more of it breaks into the dark past of Nik Kos. Warning: one of the biggest spoilers is in the blurb, so I would avoid it, if you still can. Also it is in the introduction to this book, so I'd recommend skipping that too.
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  • David H.
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved the way that the author handled Opal and Yong's relationship, finally resolving some issues. It was also fun seeing her have a handle on her magic for once. A few things did seem a bit too pat, but like with most of Aaron's work, it's fun to go along for the ride. Even though this is the last book with Opal, we are promised more books in the DFZ at some point, so I'm looking forward to that or whatever Aaron's next project is.
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  • A
    January 1, 1970
    Rachel Aaron never disappoints! I love the richness of the descriptions in this series, the free flowing action, the dedication to world-building, and the emotional development of the characters. Every time I finish one of her books, I want even more!! I can't wait for the next story in the DFZ, whatever it is about, and I know I'll reread Opal's story many times in the future. Truly a wonderful way to spend a few hours.
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  • Marissa
    January 1, 1970
    Strong and epic conclusion to the trilogy! It was so nice to see Opal come full circle in her journey. She's a wonderful character, and I was rooting for her success throughout the story. It has plenty appearances from the DFZ, more magical theory (and it's nice to see the other side from what we learned in Heartstrikers), and plenty of sneaky draconic machinations. I hope to see more books set in this fascinating world in the future!
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  • Anna K Lobdell
    January 1, 1970
    I love these books!It's always sad when a trilogy comes to an end, but the way it ends is beautiful. Rachel Aaron is a wonderful author, and the DFZ books are awesome. I should be in bed right now, but I couldn't stop reading! Can't wait to see what else she does with this universe!
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  • Kare
    January 1, 1970
    Just can't put your DFZ series downI am positive I am not alone in this but I have re-read each of them multiple times. DFZ in all the series I recommend to everyone. Highly entertaining and a smidge of romance to keep you wanting to see where the characters will go next.Rachel, I love your DFZ series.
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  • Jay Moretz
    January 1, 1970
    A satisfying, meaningful conclusionI really enjoyed this conclusion. The relationships had depth, the stakes were high, and the action was engaging. I had a few overly-late nights, because I didn't want to stop reading. I think it's a great way to bring Opal's story to a close, although I wouldn't say no to more stories in the future!
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  • Aaron
    January 1, 1970
    With her final foray into Opals saga Rachael once more brings all the various player together for a final show down. She has brought Opal an Nik's story full circle back to where he began his life and in the process shows opals growth as both a shaman and a partner who is up to the task of not only saving her partner but saving the people she cares most about.
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  • Bellish
    January 1, 1970
    Another fun yarn from Rachel Aaron, completing a trilogy that is more about the development of a character and a city than about mega high-stakes world-changing action like the Heartstrikers series. I'd say I liked this trilogy slightly less than the other, but it was still lots of fun, and Opal is a great character.
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  • Monique Lacerda
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing Ending!Rachel Aaron gave us such a wonderful ending to this story! Im so incredibly impressed with how everything wrapped up that I hope she gives us short stories of Opal during the holidays. Amazing Ending!Rachel Aaron gave us such a wonderful ending to this story! I’m so incredibly impressed with how everything wrapped up that I hope she gives us short stories of Opal during the holidays.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsThis book was an amazing, satisfying wrap up to this series! I definitely want to pick up more by Rachel Aaron, and I seriously hope she revisits Opal, Nik, and the entire DFZ when she's ready to.
  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Incredibl sad it's overThe third book in Opals series. A lovely wrap of the story lines from the first and second books. Training and disappearing takes a toll on your so-called social life, especially when you have to hide from everyone
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