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The first book in Molly Harper's uproariously funny, sinfully sexy new Mystic Bayou series!
Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.
Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.
Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be....
The Audiobookworm's Review
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How to Date Your Dragon was one of four books I grabbed during a recent Audible two-for-one sale. It wasn't something I had already had my eye on, but was more of an impulse buy. Interestingly enough, it wound up being the first one I heard. This wasn't my first experience with Molly Harper, however. Back in early 2018, I heard and reviewed Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs and had a less than stellar reaction to it. I figured it was one of those really popular books that just didn't vibe with me for whatever reason. Because of that, I've been hesitant to pick up another Molly Harper novel since then.
I'm not sure what exactly drove me to take a shot with How to Date Your Dragon, other than the synopsis seemed interesting and I needed another book to round out my two-for-one selection. I guess I chose it more out of curiosity than anything, since I've never read a dragon novel. It may actually be the only supernatural creature I hadn't had a literary experience with yet. That curiosity also made me dive into it immediately after purchase.
Almost right away, I could tell that this was going to be a very different experience. The tone of the writing just seemed so different from what I remember in Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs. How to Date Your Dragon was funny in a simplistic way. Although a lot of reviewers rave over how funny Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs is, one of my main complaints about it was that the humor aspect felt too forced.
One unwelcome similarity did rear its ugly head in How to Date Your Dragon, so let's go ahead and get that out-of-the-way. Insta-love. I remember cringing at it in Nice Girls and although it's also present in How to Date Your Dragon, I was less annoyed with it this go around, probably because my overall enjoyment of the book was so much higher. Still, you have been warned. However, if it's something you think you can look past, I really do recommend forging on. The rest of the book is so worth it.
There's really great world building in this one. The atmospheric setting almost has a cozy feel to it. When coupled with the murder mystery our main character is adjacently involved with, one could probably even classify this as a cozy mystery, although the paranormal romance elements definitely stand out more. It takes place in a small town Louisiana setting. Thanks to Anne Rice, I'm a sucker for anything set in Louisiana and the French/Cajun words and sayings peppered throughout made the setting come alive. There was no way I could forget where this was set.
The other part of the world building that was done really well was the development of the magic system. Harper doesn't go into a ton of broad-spectrum detail regarding her supernaturals. Rather, we get little info snippets about certain creatures, almost as asides. She does go into a bit more detail about one or two species of supernaturals, since they are more at the center of the story and we learn more about dragon sex than I would have wondered on my own, but that's no complaint. I do wish this audiobook had been just a teensy bit longer to allow for extended world building. I'm not saying anything was lacking, per se, just that I wanted more. Luckily, this is a five book series. That discovery actually made me subscribe to the Audible Escape package just so I can hear the rest of the series. It looks like each additional book in the series will also take place in the town of Mystic Bayou, Louisiana, so I can't wait to return. I plan on starting the second installment tonight!
Narration review: The really cool thing about How to Date Your Dragon is that it was released on audiobook exclusively for six months before the release of the e-book. An audiobook releasing before its written counter part is almost unheard of but I love that the audio format is getting this sort of attention.
It was dual narrated by Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis. I was already a fan of Amanda Ronconi but this was my first time hearing anything from Jonathan Davis. I'm normally a huge proponent of dual narration and I didn't mind it in this case, but I also didn't think that it added as much to the overall experience as previous audiobooks I've heard. Jonathan Davis did a fine job, but I did think that Amanda Ronconi outshined him a bit in this performance. Alternating between the two made it more obvious and I also had a slight problem with their different takes on how certain characters sounded. Obviously, some of that is only to be expected, but in this case, the differences in character interpretation actually changed my mental image of the character each time the narrator was switched.
But really though, this was such a well performed audiobook that I shouldn't dwell on such minor annoyances. It was an absolutely wonderful listening experience and I'm excited to continue with these two performers throughout the rest of the series. ♣︎