Series: Dragons #1
Format Read: paperback
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: January 28, 2014
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Blurb from goodreads:
First in a brand new series from the "New York Times" bestselling creator of the Myth and Phule novels.
A low-stakes con artist and killer poker player, Griffen "Grifter" McCandles graduated college fully expecting his wealthy family to have a job waiting for him. Instead, his mysterious uncle reveals a strange family secret: Griffen and his sister, Valerie, are actually dragons.
Unwilling to let Uncle Mal take him under his wing, so to speak, Griffen heads to New Orleans with Valerie to make a living the only way he knows how. And even the criminal underworld of the French Quarter will heat up when Griffen lands in town. blah
I haven't read many Asprin books and the last one was more years ago than I can remember. But when the opportunity to review this came up, I jumped; I have a soft spot for dragons and the blurb was appealing. This book is not as puntastic as Asprin's other works nor as humorous but neither is it serious. Griffen, the lead, does not himself or life seriously and neither does this book.
- Dragons! Though these dragons spend most of their time in human form, living with humans and blending in. Though they still like to accumulate wealth and there are some bent on taking over the world. You can't tell a plain vanilla human from a dragon human form but dragons are smarter, faster, stronger and just generally consider themselves superior to puny humans.
- As I mentioned, the story doesn't take itself seriously. It strolls along, meandering here and there, just generally having a good time. It was a fast and easy read, perfect for when you need a light, fun read.
- Many of the dragons are involved in criminal activities, due to their avariciousness and sense of superiority. While this made them arrogant, and sometimes obnoxious, it was fun to see a side of life I don't see in real life and Asprin makes parts of it look appealing (though some readers might consider that to be a flaw in his writing, but I didn't take it seriously). I should mention that all the characters in this book are criminals of one sort or another. There's little black and white but many shades of gray; they are content to be criminals and have no desire to change. If you like your characters to redeem themselves, this is not the book. I don't mind it but I know some readers do.
- The setting. Set in New Orleans, Asprin makes a point of showcasing the non-touristy areas of the city and giving us a look at what life is really like. I enjoyed that change and seeing a new side to New Orleans.
- The sexism. Oh boy, lots and lots of sexism. The women are all conniving and slutty or weak and helpless or ignored or patronized or some combination of those. There are several female characters, all secondary, and for the most part, not strong. Valerie is capable of defending herself and has a sweet side but mostly she's a foil for Griffen or used as a puppet to move the story along.
- There's not a lot of character development or growth. Griffen does mature somewhat during the story but characterization is not this book's strong suit. Exploring magic, having a good time, trickery, and some action are what this book delivers.
- There's a lot of exposition and narrative with some action interspersed in. As a result, the book had some slow patches. Overall, it was a fast read, but it could have been tightened up in places. It meanders, taking detours, and plot threads get dropped for a while and just when you're wondering if Asprin forgot, he resurrects them.
Verdict: Fun, light-hearted, and with some weak spot, "Dragons Wild" is an entertaining ride through the criminal layer of New Orleans via the world of dragons. Despite it's flaws, I enjoyed the book and gave it 4 stars at goodreads.