The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Many people have talked about this book by saying that it is a cross between A Game of Thrones and Jurassic Park, which could not be further from the truth.
The Dinosaur Lords follows four protagonists in different parts of this world. One is the daughter of the Emperor of the land, a daughter who doesn't always agree with her father, or the way the empire is run. The second is the Princesses lover, who is the darling of the empire--a poet, leader of a religious order of dinosaur knights, and one of the most brilliant military commanders of his time. He is pushed by an unflinching sense of duty to the empire. Then we have Rob and Karyl whose story is really one because they are so intertwined. These two are charged with helping a small defenseless town prepare for raids from a much larger, aggressive kingdom. Giving that part a very similar vibe to the film Seven Samurai.
There were parts of this book that I liked. There were other parts that I didn't really care for, thus why I only gave the book a three star rating.
Milan's world building is interesting. I liked this world and especially the little bits of world info at the beginning of each chapter. It seems to me that people from our world, many ages ago, were transported to this new world. They brought some things with them--cats, ferrets, horses...etc.--but they went to a world where dinosaurs were not whipped out. This was extremely interesting to me. I would love to read a book about that--where the characters are figuring out how to get to this new planet with dinosaurs.
I enjoyed the Rob and Karyl storyline. It was the most interesting to me. I liked that it was interspersed throughout all of the chapters. I did enjoy Melodia's plot towards the end. There were parts of the book where she was a snore-fest. Jaume's plot was the least interesting to me. I just did not care about him.
There are some awesome battle scenes in this book. Milan is really great a writing battle so it is easy to follow and so the reader can sense the importance of what is happening. Milan excels here where George R. R. Martin has failed in the past--A Clash of Kings I'm looking at you. And Milan is certainly an accomplished writer. He has some wonderful sentences and many of the descriptions are just gorgeous. You feel like you can see these things unfolding in front of you.
But, I felt like this story could have happened anywhere. The dinosaurs could have been horses just as easily and the story would have been the same. And the dinosaurs didn't even make this novel. The story was unimpressive and the dinosaurs didn't make up for that. It was just an average story that had some dinosaurs in it. The problem I have with this is that there was sooo much hype for this book. People were raving, "Why hasn't someone thought up this before?" But I don't know that Milan did all he could this idea. This book was an instant buy for me when I read the description and it was just an average fantasy novel, at best.
I had a difficult time getting into this book as well. The first couple chapters are confusing and a hard entry point--beautifully written, but hard to get into this world. It's as if Milan doesn't want you to feel welcomed until after the battle in the first couple of chapters is over. And I don't know why an author would want that to happen to his readers. I would think that some people would put the book down because of the difficult entry point in this book.
Now, let's get back to the comparison that I noted at the beginning. This book is not a cross between A Game of Thrones and Jurassic Park. The intrigue is no where near A Game of Thrones. The characters are not as fleshed out. The dinosaurs aren't nearly as interesting as those in Jurassic Park. And this is the one that gets me the most: this isn't as good a book as either of those. Now, I love George R. R. Martin as an author. I think he has done some awesome things with his Song of Ice and Fire series. But to be not as good as Jurassic Park? I mean I like Michael Crichton, but he is no Martin. Jurassic Park, while not the best book, is better than this. Go read A Game of Thrones or Jurassic Park instead!
I don't know if I will be picking up the second novel. This one ended in a way that certainly points towards a sequel. I'm assuming that these books will eventually be turned into a movie or maybe a television series. I think they would totally work in that venue. Seeing dinosaurs clash in jousting tourneys would certainly be something to behold on the screen. I would probably tune in. But as a book, it just doesn't do enough to get more than an average rating.
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