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review 2017-02-17 08:00
The Dinosaur Lords
The Dinosaur Lords - Victor Milán

O, Dinosaur Lords, how much I was looking forward to you! The idea of combining knights and dinosaurs just sounded so great, it had to be great. Then the reviews started to come in, and they were not that enthusiastic, but I held a copy in my hand, and the drawings were so nice. It had to be good. Needless to say, my expectations for this one were sky high.

It managed however to bother me from page one. It starts saying that this world in which it plays is not like Europe, and the book goes on to be one of the most Europe-like settings I've read in a long time. Admitted, it's more like Spain than England, but all the names are like in Europe, just slightly different. It would need a good story and lots and lots of Dinosaurs to make up for the bad start.

Unfortunately, at the end of The Dinosaur Lords, I felt disappointed. It was an okay story, but in a field so heavily populated as High Fantasy it is easy to get lost between all the other stories out there. You'll need something that adds to your story and there was this perfect chance: Dinosaurs. I thought they played too little a role. At times I almost forgot they were there. A shame.

While it was a fast read, it was not the book I'd hoped for.

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text 2016-06-21 12:31
Reading progress update: I've read 69 out of 445 pages.
The Dinosaur Lords: A Novel - Victor Milán

My second attempt  at reading this book. 

 

I don't know what to make of it yet. I really want to like it. 

 

 

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review 2016-05-29 08:16
10 or more reasons why the world-building will make you love The Dinosaur Lords and some favorite quotes
The Dinosaur Lords: A Novel - Victor Milán

 

My Thoughts as I read the book:

 

"A half-metre-long dragonfly, red from bulbous eyes to the vein lacework of transparent wings, took off from the leather bracer on Jaume's forearm and shot forward."

 

Lends authenticity to the environment that the author is setting us up in. After all:

 

 

 

and a more artistic view:

 

 

What intrigued me was their use in falconry. However, as you will continue to see throughout the books, wonderful ideas are mentioned once and then abandoned. There is no inclusion of them afterwards. I know that is a lot to expect but if you are going to build a new universe...

 

"The docks teemed with ships of every size. Its streets, from capillary alleys to boulevard arteries, pulsed with traffic, human, dinosaur, and vehicular."

 

Maybe it is the biologist in me but I loved the description. Also, reminded me of this video, so I thought I'd share:

 

Traffic the Port of Amsterdam sees in a day!

 

"Of course, you're too kind to point out the Parasaurolophus in the parlor..."

 

It got me wondering if including more modified idioms like that would have made the book's world seem more real or not.

 

Btw, this is the dinosaur that the character was talking about.

 

The book did suffer from the usual maladies, such as everybody knowing something was seriously wrong with the king's advisor and yet not doing anything about it:

 

"When she'd encountered Jeronimo, she had felt a strange unease, in the pit of her stomach and beneath her skin, as if sensing wrongness somehow."

 

*sigh* If this character turns out to be bad news in the sequel...

 

One of my favorite quotes from the book:

 

"But if he had loosed at you, you'd have just knocked the arrow out of the air, right? Or snatched it with your hand like those ninja blokes in Zipangu, I shouldn't wonder.

Karyl shrugged.

"Or died, he said."

 

It also made me think why the author used the word, ninja, in the book. The world is quite different from our own and the word just stood out. It might have been because the world the book is set in has an old feel to it. However, as I looked it up, I came across this page that said the word had been in use as early as in the 1600s. It had other interesting things to say about ninjas too.

 

This description about a species of dinosaurs simply called Titans was lovely:

 

"They had no voices: they couldn't force cries down the tremendous length of their necks."

 

That got me to start looking up animals without a voice and most links mentioned Giraffes. However, San Diego Zoo says Giraffes do have vocal cords but they make a limited number of sounds with them.

 

Brachiosaurus vs. Girraffe

 

This quote that was amazingly ironic:

 

"Whether we humans are or not, the dinosaurs endure."

 

Reminded me of the destruction humans have caused as detailed by the book, The Sixth Extinction.

 

This is another example of how good the world building is:

 

"Frequently ridden in battle by light-riders, as well as, occasionally by knights and nobles too poor to afford war-hadrosaurus."

 

This is the Hadrosaurus and here is a video where its fossilized remains were discovered.

 

There are small excerpts from different "books" at the beginning of each chapter. Some of them mention deities that are worshiped in that world. The descriptions go so far to include an aspect that the deity favors. However, they are never mentioned in conversations (except for battle cries). I mean, so many of our expressions could have been modified and used:

 

By Jove, Jeez, Jesus, and so on.

 

Another thing that I found hard to believe was how naive Melodia, the king's eldest was. If you are a princess, you are definitely going to be trained in court intrigue etc. You won't go spouting off things that can be twisted later and have you framed for sedition. Especially, if you have a father who only deigns to remember that he has daughters at certain times. Even more so, if you could never inherit the throne and thus, do not have the security that an heir would. She behaves like a spoiled teenager, which even if she is one, she cannot afford to be.

 

Another favorite quote:

 

"And then, with what struck Melodia as completely necessary enthusiasm, her noble ladies-in-waiting set about burying the Princess Imperial in shit.

 

The treachery wasn't unexpected when it did come. The swiftness of the events was fun though!

 

The Grey Angels are something that I am curious about. One of the theories about them says:

 

My guess is that we must have colonized some planet and maybe started a fun experiment, people and dinosaurs together to see what would happen? It seems like the Gray Angels are some kind of super powered protectors who keep the people at a certain level."

 

All in all, I liked the book a lot. I read it slowly, enjoying every part. Some of the dinosaur battle scenes were really good. The book could have done with a little more of them.

 

All this talk about dinosaurs would not be complete without a mention of this guy:

 

 

#DinosaursAsPets #WaitingForTheSequel #MissTheBowlingHat

 

 

 

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review 2015-11-18 16:43
The Dinosaur Lords / Victor Milan
The Dinosaur Lords: A Novel - Victor Milán

A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden – and of war. Colossal planteaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meateaters like Allosaurus and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles that range in size from batsized insectivores to majestic and deadly Dragons.

Thus we are plunged into Victor Milán's splendidly weird world of The Dinosaur Lords, a place that for all purposes mirrors 14th century Europe with its dynastic rivalries, religious wars, and byzantine politics…and the weapons of choice are dinosaurs. Where we have vast armies of dinosaur-mounted knights engaged in battle. And during the course of one of these epic battles, the enigmatic mercenary Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky is defeated through betrayal and left for dead. He wakes, naked, wounded, partially amnesiac – and hunted. And embarks upon a journey that will shake his world.

 

Reasons to love The Dinosaur Lords:

1. DINOSAURS. Yup, they're part of everyday life on the planet of Paradise.
2. A chance to actually use that French/Spanish/Latin that you've studied in school.
3. All the fun stuff included in high fantasy epics--battles, personal vendettas, romances, escapes and captures, death, lies, and sometimes truths.

This novel owes a debt of gratitude to many that went before it. There is a nod to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books (if you are present at the hatching of one of the large carnivorous dinosaurs, it will bond to you and you alone). The quotes from various texts at the beginning of each chapter were very reminiscent of Frank Herbert’s Dune series, although this world is much less complex. And there is a distinct Robin Hood vibe to the last chapters of the book wherein the Rob, the “Irish” bard, and Karyl Bogomirksy, the old campaigner, take a group of peasants and unwilling nobles and try to forge them into a fighting force to stand up to the Dinosaur Lords.

Still, I found some aspects of the book jarring. Every now and then, in a pseudo-Medieval setting, a blunt, modern term would slap me out of the narrative. Usually something just a bit too coarse for the rest of the writing. There was only one sex scene, which was described much more towards the porn end of the spectrum than I would have expected—if you haven’t seen your lover for months, there is urgency yes, but there is still affection and tenderness that was completely missing from this depiction. Unfortunately, there is a rape in the latter stages of the book and I found it more realistic than the supposedly loving sex.

However, this novel passes the Bechdel test with flying colours! There is a whole bevy of strong women who surround princess Melodía, who is herself seeking a way of making her life more meaningful. Instead of just letting life slip by in a series of pleasures and entertainments, these women are seeking to influence their society. They have sexual agency and a fair bit of freedom and are making the most of it. Bonus points!

I can definitely see where those who are not dinosaur aficionados would be somewhat confused (although that is what those chapter headings are there to help with) and if you resolutely resist using any language except English, you will encounter difficulties. Some interest in Medieval vocabulary is of utility to the reader as well (i.e. knowing that a sackbut is a trombone-like instrument and that Parasaurolophus had a long crest which presumably gave it’s call a trombone-like quality, hence calling this species of Hadrosaur a Sackbut).

I think every dinosaur lover has dreamt of being able to see these marvelous animals in the flesh (and not in Jurassic Park, either!); this book allows us to indulge this dream a bit. The dinosaur masters, who care for the war-dinosaurs, obviously love their charges and have fond relationships with them. I think many of us will insert ourselves imaginatively into that role!

I look forward to the second installment of the tale, The Dinosaur Knights.

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text 2015-11-10 20:12
The Dinosaur Lords: A Novel - Victor Milán

This cannot live up to my expectations.  DINOSAURS!

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