- The Good: Dragons eating dragons; Gold; Climbing the social ladder; Romance
- The Bad: Conflict resolves too quickly
- The Literary: Tongue-in-cheek homage and satire of Victorian novels
In this sentimental Victorian tale of love and money, the death of a patriarch results in squabbles over inheritance. One son goes to court over it because his brother-in-law takes more than his fair share, eating nearly half of the corpse. You read that right—everyone in this book is a cannibalistic dragon, red in tooth and claw.
Now readers, you may be thinking to yourself, “but I’ve already read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and The Mummy of Monte Cristo. I understand the gimmicky mashup genres of 2010.” I’m here to tell you that Tooth and Claw was published in 2003, so Walton did it first, and this book won the World Fantasy Award, but most importantly, it’s not a gimmick.
If you enjoy the social criticisms of Austen about courting rituals, and highly structured societies, not to mention the quippy remarks and comedies of error, then you’ll fit right into this Regency-era romantic drama. If you enjoy imagining dragons in fancy hats eating sides of beef for lunch and sleeping on piles of gold at night, then this is also for you.
I love that the strict societal rules, particularly in regards to titles and they power they wield, seem to fit perfectly within dragon lore. And we all know that females shouldn’t ever be alone with males (what would people think?), but here, any close contact with male changes the color of their scales, signaling the end of their maidenhood and potentially ruining their livelihoods.
You’ve probably read all the parts of this novel before, but it comes together nearly perfect. Highly recommended for fans of romantic fantasy!