This book has an awesome main character who refuses to be cruel like a dragon should!
Dragon culture in this world is a lot like our hyper-masculine, macho culture where strength and violence are worshiped.
The author, Rachel Aaron, says that Julies is “my answer to the question ‘is it possible to get ahead without hurting others?'”
All throughout the series, dragons are constantly telling Julius to “be a dragon” or “grow some fangs.” These comments are very similar to the reader questions I got about Julius “growing a pair,” and my ultimate reply to both is the same: never. Julius will never act like that. Not because he is weak or cowardly or effeminate (and hoo boy, that’s a whole other angry-typing post about how acting nice=weak=female=bad), but because ruthlessly stomping on your enemies and pushing others out of the way to get ahead—all aspects that are held up as positive traits by dragon culture and in certain areas of our real world that I’m sure we can all name–is a fundamentally bad way of doing things that drags us all down as a species.
That’s the point. That’s the underlying truth of the whole series.
The book also has several very strong and well-developed female characters (both protagonists & antagonists)!