Heartstrikers is one of my favorite urban fantasy series because it combines some of my most loved tropes into one book. The characters are loveable and funny, and the audiobook was fantastic. It’s one of those books that feels made-to-order for my tastes. This series is set in the same world but 20 years in the future.
I didn’t love Minimum Wage Magic in the way I thought I would, but I definitely enjoyed myself enough to want to continue on with the series.
This book focuses on Opal’s Big Problem… the curse her father put on her and refuses to take off. Opal has to figure out a way to pay a 300K dollar debt to her father or be forced to return to Korea with him and do as he wishes. He’s put a curse on her that makes her profits dip by 50% any time she tries to make money. She’s a clever woman though, so she sets out to try and find a way around the curse… but it has unintended consequences that complicate everything. She’s had a strained relationship with her father before, but this book takes that to new heights. There seems to be a theme of parents being dickheads in this universe. Although, considering they’re dragons I guess that makes sense.
I think one of my favorite thing about this book is the expansion of the world building… there’s new magical knowledge and powers that come into play in this book and it was really exciting. The last 5 books or so set in this universe focus on a magic type called Thaumaturgy… it’s almost a clinical and scientific way to cast magic using rules, regulations and formulas. Shamans have a more ‘handy wavy’ sort of magic and have been looked down on in the academic communities as they fall out of favor. Well, turns out that shamans can be much more powerful than thaumaturgy mages, and they have much more flexibility about what they can do with their magic.
One of my least favorite things is just how oblivious Opal is about Nick’s feelings for her, and the repetition of character personality types and situations. There’s a theme that runs through Aaron’s books, and it’s naivety on one half a romantic interest pairing. It can take three or four books for people to realize they both like each other and then maybe another book before they act on it. I think I’m starting to grow tired of that storyline, it just feels like too many things are becoming too similar between the books where it feels formulaic and less endearing.
I liked the Heartstriker cameos, both Julius and Bob made brief appearances. It throws me off since this is a new narrator, I kept expecting to hear Bob’s crazy exaggerated happy voice.
I think the book was pretty well paced, it’s not a very long one, they almost never are, but the way it ended was a bit abrupt for me. I know it’s a series and that not everything can wrap up, but I was like “wait what?” when the book ended.
I’m not sure if I will continue on or not, I feel like I haven’t invested in the characters enough to keep going, but the fact that it’s set in one of my favorite universes makes me want to know more just to get glimpses of the Heartstrikers and what they’re up to. We’ll see.
TLDR Snap Shot:
- Tropes: dragons, mages/shamans, spirits
- Tags: slow burn romance, magical creatures, light hearted, warm, character focused
- Genre: Urban Fantasy
- Plot: 10/15
- Characters: 10/15
- World Building: 13/15
- Writing: 12/15
- Pacing: 11/15
- Originality: 12/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 5/10
Final score: 73/100 or 3.6/5 on GR