📖 Review: The Dragon Experiment – Louisa Masters

Series: Here Be Dragons

Pages: 229
Time to read: 1h17m
Pages/hour: 178

Date read: Thu 21 Apr 2022

Rating: 💍💍💍💍

“That’s part of the problem. You’re not paying attention, and things go wrong. You get excited about bondage with some random person you picked up and end up cuffed to a pipe in their basement for two days.”

The flightiest of dragons meets his match

So, this is the third book in the Here Be Dragons series, a spin-off/continuation of Louisa Masters’ fun Hidden Species series. They’re all fun and relatively upbeat (which isn’t to say nothing bad happens, only that things are, generally speaking, optimistic) and this one is no different.

Fabian, dragon historian and often distracted by whatever thought just crossed his mind, inadvertently signs up for an experiment run by Dr Rhys Griffiths – all he has to do is wear a ring and every time he has sex, readings about his metaphysical state will be sent back to the doctor, so he can see if sex has the same impact on metaphysical health as it does on physical and mental health.

Great plan! Or it would be if Fabian had been listening…

Cut to four years later, when some of the people around Fabian have questions about the purity ring he’s been wearing, and he and Rhys meet again – and sparks fly.

There’s also a larger overarching plot in this one. I’m not entirely certain if it’s introduced here (though I feel like it is; I don’t remember any mention of the issue in the first two books in this series), but it’s a nice addition to give this series some more direction.

Rhys is sweet, gets flustered easily, and is obsessed with his research, and Fabian is flirty, easily distracted, and also obsessed with his research. There’s a nice pace to their relationship and though there’s not a huge amount of conflict between them, that’s really not the point.

“Why would I want to stop participating? This sounds like interesting and important work. Have I been helpful? If I’d remembered what it was for, I could have tried to have more sex.”

My jaw drops. Holy crap, I have incubi signed up who don’t have as much sex as he does.

I do have one teeny issue…

Spoilers ahead!

So, let’s talk about that subplot. The basic concept is that there seems to be an issue with magic – as in, there isn’t as much anymore. Kind of. And everyone’s been trying to solve the problem and they figure Rhys’ research might help them find a solution.

It doesn’t, but he does, as he and Fabian work out that the magic wants balance. Humans had magic in the species wars (which took place 9,000 years before) and then it was taken from them when they tried to destroy all the other species. Now, some of them are starting to get it back – that was Noah’s whole deal, after all, and the magic wants more of them to have it, to readdress the balance. If they don’t do that, then magic will completely die out.

So far, so good. It’s a new problem, presenting new obstacles.

My issue is that every character we’ve met is furious/terrified at the idea of humans having magic again. Even though Noah has it! And when he points it out, they literally go, oh, no, you’re not like the other ones and there’s a throwaway thought about how humans try to kill each other in inventive ways so why can they be trusted with magic and it’s just – ugh. Frustrating. Yes, we’ve seen humans misuse magic and other skills throughout this series, but we’ve also seen creatures with magic misuse this magic – that was the whole thing with the elves and yet there’s this air of sanctimony about it that’s very annoying.

I just think there should have been more variety in the opinions here, especially when we’re dealing with characters who not only have longer lifespans than humans but many of whom don’t seem to have been alive for the species wars. Why don’t they have human friends they can trust? It just felt weird, to have the fantasy world crash back into the real world like that and have them not match up this way.

What’s the verdict?

Still, I’m going to give this book four shiny rings: 💍💍💍💍

I can’t explain enough how frustrated I was by that ending, the reluctant agreement to teach humans in the know about their magic, but the actual relationship was very cute and the slight exploration of Steffen’s character in preparation for his book was a nice addition, too! I really, genuinely hope he falls in love with a human so we can iron the creases out of my annoyance with that scene, but we’ll see what happens when we get there.

“There are dragons who never give away anything from their hoards, not even to those they love most. For me to give you this ring, from my hoard, is a sign that you’re not just a friend. We’re not casual. We’re not dating. You’re my forever.”

Fancy giving it a read?

Check it out on Goodreads.

Find it on Amazon (UK).

Find it on Amazon (US).

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