Thursday, October 07, 2010

[Lisa’s Take: Tooth and Claw (Jo Walton)]

I’ve been a bad little reviewer (and fantasy reader) lately; though I’ve started traveling for work again (giving me copious free time), I’ve been filling the hours with crocheting instead of consuming books at an ungodly pace. I may have to investigate picking up some audio-books to accompany my crafting binges, as it’s putting a severe limit on my “books read this year” list!

Anyway, I wanted to put up a quick review of Tooth & Claw by Jo Walton. In a word: delightful. I enjoyed Tooth and Claw more than I’ve enjoyed any book for a while. I enjoyed it unabashedly, I enjoyed it with no caveats, no buts, no places that the author needed to tighten up her work; no gripes about the characters or the settings or the pacing. When’s the last time I said that? I think it has been a distressingly long while.

Tooth & Claw is a Victorian fantasy or a fantasy of manners, much like The Magicians & Mrs. Quent or Swordspoint. Instead of humans, the characters are all dragons. It sounds a little silly as a premise, but it’s superbly executed; Walton has seamlessly retooled her world to accommodate the change. She’s thought about the economy, the religion, the landscape and the history – it’s artfully done. The story follows the heirs of a family as they are left reeling and fighting over their inheritance – it’s not deep nor epic in the premise, but the execution is truly wonderful.

I’ll keep this one short – I truly have nothing other than resounding praise for Tooth & Claw. It was a breath of fresh air amid the books I’ve read this year; all of which I’ve enjoyed, but most of which I’ve also had loud complaints about. It’s nice to know that I can still be impressed.