Pairing Books with Movies: Tooth and Claw

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tooth and Claw
by Jo Walton

A Victorian novel with dragons, when it comes to gimmick novels this one certainly fits the bill, yet somehow it rises above that. Instead of the dragons being the focus and letting the rest of the story fall flat, they are just characters. It feels like any other novel that explores the world of social hierarchies and manners. Walton’s skills as a writer allow her to use dragons as characters while still creating a lovely plot.

Bon Agornin is the patriarch of a large family that has grown in status over the years. At the beginning of the novel his five children gather at his death bed; the stuffy married sister Berend, the religious parson Penn, twin sisters Selendra and Haner and the ambitious Avan. As the story progresses resentment about the inheritance rises between Avan and Berend’s husband. At the same time the two young sisters are beginning to be approached by suitors.

Just like the novels of Austen, Tooth and Claw explores the world of courtships and betrothals. So many of the characters were reminiscent of those in Pride and Prejudice (I mean that in a good way). Walton has a wonderful sense of humor in her book, playful poking fun and embracing the stiff social customs at the same time.

What fun! It’s a quick read and one that left me smiling. The final chapters are particularly satisfying.

“His mother had always warned him that one day he would want to settle down, yet he was amazed, as all dragons who are fortunate enough to live so long are amazed, that the impulse had come upon him at last.”

Pair with a viewing of the BBC’s Merlin and Game of Thrones.
Both feature dragons in prominent roles, though Merlin’s dragon has a bit more personality.

There are a few of the excellent reviews that got me to look past the dragons and pick up the book. You can check them out here, here and here.


annieb said...

Where's your picture? I thought I had gone to the wrong place. Nice job though. It will just take a little getting used to.

Anonymous said...

As one currently caught up in the "Song of Fire and Ice" craze (on book three), Tooth and Claw sounds like it might be fun to try. I need an easy read too. Adding it to my To Read list on :-)

Jeanne said...

I love your comparisons, to Game of Thrones and Merlin, although I'd argue that Walton's characters are more fully realized. Not surprising, for a book, but I mean way more fully realized. She's three times the writer George R. R. Martin is, if you ask me.

Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind said...

I've wanted to read a Jo Walton book for a long time now...seeing you pair it with Game of Thrones makes me all the more eager to read this!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

annieb - It's still a work in progress! The designer has my photo/bio and it should be in the side column.

bibliophilica - Hope you like it! I just finished the 3rd GOT book too. I'm so hooked!

Jeanne - I completely agree, Walton's characters are more developed.

Kat - It's more Victorian manners than GOT, but I love both!

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

I like the sounds of Tooth and Claw. I'll have to add it to my wish list.

I just finished reading a work of historical fiction called The Iron King by Maurice Druon. It's the first in a series of seven novels about the French royals of the 14th century -- George R.R. Martin calls the series the original "Game of Thrones." It might interest you. I thought the book was excellent and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

PS -- I love the new look of your blog.

Anonymous said...

I am decidedly NOT a Game of Thrones fan (I tried to read the first book - it was just too violent for me) but I generally love fantasy books & movies. And anything that gets a favorable comparison to P&P sounds good to me! I'll be adding Tooth & Claw to my TBR pile.

Kailana said...

I really must read Tooth and Claw. It's been on my TBR forever. Great new look, btw.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Melissa - I just added The Iron King to my TBR, it sounds so good! Thanks for the recommendation.

abibliophilesstyle - I would be shocked if the GOT books worked for everyone! This book is much more P&P than Game of Thrones.

Kailana - It sat on my shelf for way too long too. I actually read it for the TBR Challenge.