Book Review: The Dinosaur Lords (preview) by Victor Milán

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Title: The Dinosaur Lords
Author: Victor Milán
Published: July 28th 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Adult, Epic Fantasy
Length: 448 pages
Source: NetGalley eARC

Book Blurb (via Goodreads):

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.

My Thoughts

I received a preview of this book to have a sample taste of the book and, to be honest, I’m glad I only had the preview. The premise of the book sounded amazing. It had dinosaurs mixed into the typical epic fantasy style worlds that we’re used to reading about. Sadly, I found myself more bored by the book than I was thrilled by the presence of the dinosaurs.

We follow several characters after an epic battle opens the book. Lord Karyl has been defeated, left for dead, in the aftermath. The man who may have initially led to his downfall, Rob, a sacked dinosaur master is now his only ally as he accepts a new position to build an army from a pacifist nation. Meanwhile, the man who betrayed Karyl is back home with the Emperor and his lover, the princess to whom he plans to wed. Still reeling from the death of his other lover, his best friend Pere, during his last adventure, Jaume barely has time to think as the Emperor plans to raise an army against his foes.

I wanted to like this story so much more than I did. I found the dinosaurs to be interesting in the way that they were used as tools in the society, but the majority of the sampler – which went for 18 chapters – focused on the princess’s lust for Jaume and how they were never able to be alone together to satisfy this. I found Lord Karyl and Rob’s parts much more interesting – with actual fights and secrets meetings going on.

The thing that bothered me the most about this story was how slow the pace felt. It was draining to read and felt like much longer than it actually was. I found it less enjoyable because of this and often got bogged down in the strange terms and pieces of foreign language that were scattered throughout the sampler.

I feel that the story has the potential to be something really great. It could be that the beginning was just poorly paced and it gets much more exciting later on. I am interested to see how things work out for Karyl as he journeys to his new destination, and I’m also mildly interested in what happens with the Emperor’s war, but not enough that I want to get the book to finish it – at least, not right away.

Not the worst book I’ve ever read, but not the best either. I had expected so much more from it than what it gave.

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About the Author

Victor Woodward Milán is an American writer known for libertarian science fiction and an interest in cybernetics. In 1986 he won the Prometheus Award for Cybernetic Samurai. He has also written several shared universe works for the Forgotten Realms, Star Trek, and Wild Cards Universes. He has also written books under the pseudonyms Richard Austin (Jove Books The Guardians series), Robert Baron (Jove Books Stormrider series), and S. L. Hunter (Steele series with Simon Hawke, who used the pen name J. D. Masters). He also wrote at least 9 novels under the “house name” of James Axler for the Harlequin Press/Gold Eagle Books Deathlands series & Outlanders series.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

*Picture and Biography from Goodreads

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