Sequel to The Legacy of Heorot, the second generation of colonists now want to expand onto the mainland, first studying the biology and ecology before moving over permanently. They find grendels that act cooperatively, and when two members of the colony get eaten to the bone by what looked like a cloud of dust (invisible grendels?) they find there are things just as dangerous as grendels that they know nothing about.
As with Niven's other work, Dragons is downhill from Legacy. There are various irritating inconsistencies in the early part of the book, just in style ('miles' after talking about 'kilometres'), and huge inaccuracies about autogyros (they hover in the book). The characters are full of stereotypes - the very large black man (twist - he's a kind scientific type), the chinese guy who gets very into his history, including taking on stereotyped speech patterns. The artificial womb children who were not brought up by parents are the troublemakers - this may be the way it would work, but it's an easy get out for three experienced authors when they don't want to do anything innovative. This said, it does pick up as it goes along and becomes an enjoyable read, you just don't need too much brain to read it.
Review by Paul Silver, 2004
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