I will be very honest and admit that I had never ever heard of this book until it was mentioned in a conversation between Edward and Bella in Midnight Sun. But, like Edward, I decided I needed a copy to try it out. Now, I can say that I am very glad I did! Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw was a very fun and entertaining story of life, death, love and money – among dragons!
Personally, I loved it all. The array of characters was delightful and the culture they live in fascinating (so like ours, and yet so different). The story itself is charming. The time period has a Regency Era feel to it (thus the Jane Austen reference), with the strict social mores and class distinctions that make romantic development particularly challenging and exciting. But then adding dragons to the mix brings a whole new level of complexity. For instance, these majestic creatures “blush” and reveal a color change for romantic attraction if they are female. Yet they are still animals, turning by-the-book courtroom proceedings into a fight to the death and consuming their own young if the hatchlings are too weak. They act human, but they are not human (and of course, y’all know how I am fascinated with monsters, especially ones that reveal our own humanity). It’s a story worth reading to be sure!
What I really loved was the interplay of fantasy with what would otherwise be a historical romance. Dragons and Jane Austen are not two subjects that I would have imagined blending well together. Yet it worked! Instead of feeling the story was too complex or off-putting in anyway, I see within these pages proof that the mixing of genres can create a richer story.
I actually take quite a bit of encouragement from this. I’ve long felt the need to explain or prepare readers for the kind of books that I write, as if the various elements I’ve intertwined may not make sense to everyone. Sure, I think my stories are worthwhile and that’s why I continue to write them, but in the back of my mind there were always doubts. “Paranormal romance” and “Christian” are just not the kinds of themes that naturally mix! And while a successful combination of unrelated story concepts here doesn’t automatically mean that mine will work out just as well, it is reassuring to know that creating something “different” can sometimes be a very good thing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start a new trend ;-P.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.