Tooth and Claw

Jo Walton
Tooth and Claw Cover



This is a very clever book, with a very clever setting and some bits of clever world-building. I can't say that the novel gripped me, or that it made me believe in its outrageous premise, but I don't think that was Ms. Walton's point.

So yeah, it's about a Victorian-style society of dragons. The premise is well-executed, and Jo Walton put enough thought into it that it kept me entertained throughout the entire book. Walton was very resourceful in building this society of gentle-born dragons, much more so than I would have imagined.

Walton was firmly committed to writing a Victorian novel when she set out to write this. That is to say, she takes her setting and characters seriously enough. A few chapters in, I realized that I cared very little for Victorian comedy of manners, and that the fact all the lords and ladies did their social dance in dragon costume was enough to keep me entertained, but barely.

Luckily, many of the characters are nicely drawn, and even though they're forty feet-long and can fly, I soon found a few of them endearing enough to root for them. The story wasn't as engaging as the setting, but it allowed the setting to live much beyond what could have been a simple clever idea.