We went over Dragons Wild a bit ago, and I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. “Mediocre” is the word that comes to mind, but it feels a little harsh as I type it out. Oh well. That’s the one I’ll use.
Anyway, despite not being blown away, I picked up its sequel from the library and gave it a look. And I have to say, while it’s far from perfect, it’s a genuine improvement.
The setup here is that Griffen, the first book’s primary protagonist, has been asked to moderate a convention of supernatural entities which is coming to New Orleans. This he agrees to, despite not knowing a thing about what he’s getting into. In addition, a dragon named Flynn who’s near the top of the power pile pays Griffen a visit with the intent to either recruit or depose him, the dragonslayer George decides to meddle with Flynn’s plans, the insane sister of an antagonist from the first book comes into town with her own agenda, and Griffen’s sister Valerie finds out that she’s pregnant by that same antagonist. And that the crazy sister wants to kill her.
There’s a lot going on in this book, but it pulls it off fairly well. As with the first book, Griffen is underwhelming as a protagonist. He’s coming into his own a bit more here, and I was liking what I was seeing, until some of his perceived conniving turned out to be genuine gullibility. He takes on the moderator job with no idea what he’s in for, and while his actions there actually aren’t bad once they get going, he spends most of the book before the convention freaking out about the convention.
The rest of the plotlines are of a higher caliber, though. Valerie continues to be a more interesting character and protagonist than her brother, as she deals with her own position in the city and the fallout from her pregnancy and the murder attempts being made against her. I’d honestly be okay if the series was actually about her, rather than Griffen. Hopefully the rest of the books in the series continue to treat her well, else we might be in for some rocky sailing. The side characters are good too, with some fun interactions between them, but obviously that’s not enough to carry a book. Adds to the quality, but doesn’t sell the product.
Regarding those next books, though, there’s a significant inflection point here in that Robert Asprin passed away between this book and the next in the series. The last two titles were written by Jody Lynn Nye instead, who’s written a number of posthumous additions to Asprin’s different series. It’ll be interesting to see what that does to the style and quality of the books, but for now, I enjoyed this one enough that I’m willing to find out.
If you’re interested in seeing some of my own work, maybe give the Fairytale Dragons anthology a try? My last posting provided a sample from one story in the book, and my next will be from the other. See if they strike your fancy!