Tooth and Claw

By Jo Walton

Rating: 4 stars

Bon Agornin is dying and his family have gathered for his end. The body is barely cool before it is torn apart and eaten, but then that’s what dragons do. In the aftermath of Bon’s death, his children are split from the family home and each must find their own path to love and happiness.

I had an odd start to this book. The idea of a Victorian romance with dragons is an awesome one, and the first chapter should have been a great introduction to it, with the tension between the style of writing and the subject of what happens to Bon’s remains. And yet, it took an effort of will to come back to the book. I don’t know why, it’s certainly not the book’s fault, but maybe more to do with my state of mind at the time. I’m very definitely glad that I did force myself back because I devoured (heh) the rest of the book in an afternoon.

On the cover, Jane Yolen calls it the “Pride and Prejudice of the dragon world”, and I can’t really disagree with much there. It’s got Jane Austen’s sharp eye for people (even if they are dragons) and satire and some very likeable characters. Walton does a great job of ‘show not tell’ regarding dragon society and the worldbuilding is excellent.

As a confirmed fan of the sorts of Victorian/Regency romances being mimicked, I can certainly see myself coming back to this and hopefully being able to savour the language and writing now that I’m not rushing headlong to discover what happens next.

Book details

ISBN: 9781472100863
Publisher: Corsair
Year of publication: 2003

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