Jo Walton, ‘Tooth and Claw’

I said in my last post that I liked the absurd. I do. I like the surreal, too. It’s just that sometimes it makes me scratch my head a bit. To quote ‘The King and I’, “Is a puzzlement.”

This is a book about polite society jostling for status, about subjugated daughters and their marriages, about family quarrels, about snobbery and posturing, about masters and servants, and about the ridiculousness of social conventions. Austen meets Thackeray meets Dickens meets Downton Abbey. It’s just that everyone in it is a dragon. Oh, and they eat each other. Mostly they eat their dead relatives, but not always.

If the mere thought of this concept makes your head explode, it’s probably best to avoid this book. However, it’s lively, well-paced, with interesting characters, and is a fairly effortless read, so I’d put it under the heading of Good Entertainment. I was just hampered by being the sort of person who wants to know exactly how a dragon fits on a train, and what their office furniture looks like.


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