Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dragons Wild - Robert Asprin

Dragons Wild
Robert Asprin

Urban Fantasy

Griffen McCandles, known as “Grifter” to his college and poker-playing buddies, think he’s got a plan. Having just barely managed to scrape through college – by attending as few classes and playing as much poker as possible – he’s going to ask his Uncle Malcolm for a job. Uncle Mal runs a huge company. There’s got to be some job Griffen can do to earn the most amount of money with the least amount of exertion. But the interview doesn’t go quite the way Griffen planned.

Uncle Mal put Griffen and his sister, Valerie, through school, after their parents died, but otherwise has been pretty hands-off. Now, he’s sitting on the other side of the interview desk, telling Griffen that the family is made up of nearly pureblood dragons. Griffen has already experienced the excellent health, stamina, and ability to read people. Now that he’s coming of age, his secondary powers – like shape shifting and breathing fire – should be starting. Uncle Mal offers him a job, and then tells him, in all seriousness, to be careful about where he places his loyalties, since dragons are quite territorial and disagreements can get quite violent.

Griffen’s first concern, after worrying about his uncle’s mental health, is his sister. Uncle Mal mentioned that the dragons have “plans” for her that may include using her for breeding stock. Valerie is a six-foot Amazon, so there’s not much chance she’s going to knuckle under for that, but Griffen feels the need to protect his little sister. On the way to collect her, there are several very suspicious incidents, including at least one attempt on his life. Griffen and Val decide to head to New Orleans, where no one would think to look for them, while they figure out just exactly what is going on, and what their role might be in it.

I’m not overly fond of the goofy, pun-filled variety of fantasy, so I admit I’ve never read any of Asprin’s “Myth” series. This, however, is very much urban fantasy. It’s also the first book in a series, and most of the book is taken up with establishing characters and back story. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since this world and its mythology is quite detailed. Griffen reacts to his uncle’s revelation much the way anyone would. It’s only subsequent events that start to convince him. DRAGONS WILD is a very entertaining start to what promises to be a great series. I can’t wait for more.

Rating: 7 ½
April 2008
ISBN# 978-0-441-01470-5 (trade paperback)


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