Dragons Wild is an engaging modern day fantasy mostly set in New Orleans, LA. It is also, in Robert Asprin’s own words, “…a radical departure from my usual style and subject matter,” (While not as punny as the Myth Adventure series Dragons Wild offers a few things that are necessarily lacking in books that do not take place in a real life setting.
Asprin spent nearly as much time describing and opining, through his characters, about his own town and setting, New Orleans, as he did explicating the plot and developing the mythos around the book. Each page has something to grip the attention and bring the reader closer into the world of its characters. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy modern fantasy, deep setting development, and would like a literary tour of New Orleans through the eyes of a gambling Dragon.
Plot spoiler alert. The book begins by introducing Griffen McCandles who has just graduated from the University of Michigan. Griffen is trying to secure a cushy job from his Uncle, but instead finds out that he is the member of a race of powerful shape shifting beings called dragons. He does not spend the rest of the book in scales breathing fire, though when he does transform much of what changes follows those lines. When Griffen finds out that he and his sister, Valerie, are dragons he refuses to believe the news until it is verified by several seemingly unconnected sources. After a few sources have come forward and Griffen meets with his sister to explain the situation to her he still does not believe what he has been told.
She points out that regardless of whether he believes it or not others believe and they will act on their belief. She convinces him that they must respond regardless of their own beliefs. After meeting with an old college poker buddy, named Bones, Griffen decides to take Bones up on his offer and head to New Orleans to take charge of a gambling operation there. Valerie comes along and, as an extremely physically fit person, acts as Griffen’s bodyguard.
The novel continues to explore gambling, politics within the dragon’s power structure, and the dangers that spring up from the various new complexities in the duo’s lives. These threats range from angry pot dealers, to the George, a dragon assassin hired to kill Griffen and who seems capable of ending his life whenever he chooses. Dragon’s Wild has a wonderfully realistic feel for a fantasy novel, and even the flow of the novel seems realistic in its many intertwining plot lines that vie for the main spotlight.