Archive for April 16th, 2011

Tooth & Claw

 Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 0765302640

(book 6)


From Publishers Weekly

Dragons ritually eat dragons in order to gain strength and power in Walton’s enthralling new fantasy (after 2002’s The Prize in the Game), set amid a hierarchical society that includes a noble ruling class, an established church, servants and retainers. On the death of the dragon Bon Agornin, his parson son Penn, one of five siblings (two male and three female), declares, “We must now partake of his remains, that we might grow strong with his strength, remembering him always.” But Bon’s greedy son-in-law, Illustrious Daverak, consumes more than his fair share of the departed dragon, setting off a chain of unexpected and, at times, calamitous events for each sibling. Avan, the younger son, decides to litigate for compensation. One unmarried daughter, on moving in with the married sister and Daverak, discovers a house filled with injustice, while the other unmarried daughter goes off with Penn and falls in love. Full of political intrigue and romance, this provocative read sets the stage for further adventures in a world that, as the author admits in her prefatory note, “owes a lot to Anthony Trollope’s Framley Parsonage.” FYI: In 2002, Walton received a John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

This book was a gift from my “sis” across the pond, Cath.  I had only heard of the book once when someone else reviewed it, so wasn’t sure what to expect of it.

There’s good and not so good about it.

I had some difficulty seeing dragons acting as *people*. Not sure why since I like dragons so much, but I did. 

The basic story sounds like typical Victorian life.  Re: coming out in London/ marry only in your own class/ looking down at the poor and not associating with them etc.   In general, it was the everyday life of Victorian “households”, but of course it was dragons , and they were given at least “some” dragon behavior, which I won’t go into, lest there be no surprises at all.

The beginning of the book was rather slow.  Sort of like, “what did you do today?”… “well, I got up.  Had coffee. Did some shopping. Came home again and put it away”.   .. slow.

It did pick up later once you had a bit more of a feel for the characters. I think there was some difficulty giving them personalities and yet keeping them *dragonish*.  But by the end of the story, of course ,you were hoping for a happy ending and yet not sure how it could possibly work out that way.  I’ll let the ending be a surprise.

If Jo Walton makes a second book using the same dragon characters, I might read it, but I would hope there could be a faster paced story.

In the Amazon review it mentions that she owes a lot to Anthony Trollope’s “Framley Parsonage”… so now I am a bit curious about that book!

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