Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Wow. Tooth and Claw is definitely the most original comedy of manners I have ever read. Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope meet - well, dragons. All the characters are dragons. 

Much about the dragon society made me uncomfortable. Eating dragon meat makes dragons grow and get healthy, so they share in the eating of their parents when they die. But high ranking dragons also eat the dragonets of their farmers and their servants when they get old. When a maiden dragon falls in love and agrees to marry, she changes from gold to blush pink. But a single male dragon can "crowd" a maiden uninterested in his attention and cause her to blush, which will either ruin her or force her to marry him.

But when I stop to think about it, much about Victorian society, especially in regards to women, children, and the treatment of servants, should make me just as uncomfortable, and that I think is Walton's intent. 

Walton is such a fine wordsmith that I know that when she writes, for example,

"That's amazing," Avan said, amazed. (p. 321)
she means it, and it is not because of lazy editing or unimaginative word choice.

The plot surprised me many times, and the ending is satisfyingly happy - although still with those niggling concerns about society and justness.

Recommended for lovers of Victorian novels and dragons. The Galesburg Public Library owns Tooth and Claw as a print book and as an ebook.

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