by Robert Asprin
Cover Artist: Eric Fortune
Review by Carolyn Frank
Ace Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441016808
Date: 07 April 2009 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Griffen McCandles has lived in New Orleans as a newly-discovered-by-himself dragon and as head of the citywide gambling ring for several months. Now several out-of-town but far more mature dragons and a host of other non-human creatures are determined to test his mettle. Griffin and his sister dragon, Val, are going to need all their wits and all the Dragons Luck they can get to survive through Halloween.
Introduced in the first book of the series, Dragons Wild, Griffen McCandles just graduated from college in Michigan before he discovered that his now-dead parents were both part-dragon. Armed only with the gambling skills he had cultivated in school and accompanied by his sister, he accepted an invitation to New Orleans where Moses, an aging dragon, was looking for a new strong dragon head of his gambling ring. Griffin is still learning what it means to be dragon, which in this universe includes shape shifting into part or all dragon, animal control, a large amount of charisma and the ability to blow smoke rings without benefit of a smoke.
Now successfully running the gambling operation, when a ghost voodoo queen who befriended him in the past asks him to moderate a convention of supernatural beings, Griffin accepts. With little clue as to what his role is supposed to be or what he is supposed to be doing, he becomes wrapped up in attempting to keep groups as diverse as changelings and vampires from wrecking havoc on each other as well as on the human inhabitants of New Orleans.
His sister, Val, is also gradually getting her act together. Working as a part-time bartender, she is strengthening herself to better fulfill her position as Griffen's protector. During the events in the first book, she met up with a dastardly dragon, Nathaniel, who so overwhelmed her new-found dragon skills that she had become pregnant. Not wanting to add to Griffin's balancing act of the moment, she is trying to figure out what she wants to do about it. Unfortunately, Nathaniel's insane sister dragon, Lizzy, has come to New Orleans to remove Val from the picture.
Earl, the head dragon from Los Angeles has come to New Orleans to see for himself about the powers of this new dragon on the national scene. Far more mature and comfortable with his dragonness, Earl sets out to steer Griffen down as many wrong paths and to toss as many dicey situations as possible at him to see what he does.
Add the chimera, George the contract dragon-slayer, to the mix, and Griffen's situation could be overwhelming. But he has Jerome, his second-in-command dragon, his sister, and his girl-friend dragon Mai to provide support. And Halloween in New Orleans at the supernatural beings' ball is an experience to be savored.
If you enjoy joyous fantasy with continuous action and a creative cast of characters, this story will keep you entranced. Enough background is provided so it is not necessary to read the first book in the series, but if you like this one, you should like them both.