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Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Tooth and Claw (2003)

by Jo Walton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7825111,788 (3.92)136
  1. 40
    Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope (InfoQuest)
    InfoQuest: As Walton notes in the book's introduction, Trollope's Framley Parsonage provides some of the plot and characters for Tooth and Claw and is a very good Victorian novel (of the Barsetshire series, though it can easily stand alone).
  2. 30
    Soulless by Gail Carriger (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For Victorian heroines of inhuman nature.
  3. 10
    A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the Victorian setting, with dragons.
  4. 11
    The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett (Mint.ChocolateOcelot)
    Mint.ChocolateOcelot: Tooth and Claw is similar to Magicians & Mrs. Quent because of the Society of it. Things like marrying outside your social class, fancy parties, and where Mr. So-and-so was last night are all issues that characters in both books face. Unless you don't care for books with human characters, I think if you enjoyed Tooth and Claw, you will enjoy The Magicians and Mrs. Quent… (more)

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» See also 136 mentions

English (47)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
So: Pride and Prejudice in a world with dragons.

If this description pushes any of your buttons, I heartily recommend this book. I especially liked the way Walton mimics the language of Austen, not simply the manners, customs, and limitations of her era. Not to mention extrapolating all of these to dragons! ( )
  Pat_F. | Jan 26, 2015 |
  ansate | Jul 9, 2014 |
Readers familiar with Framley Parsonage might recognize a few personalities in Tooth and Claw. However, the physical descriptions will be unfamiliar. The characters are dragons who sleep in caverns on beds of gold and eat their own weak and dead. Otherwise their morals and values are very much Victorian. If the thought of talking dragons in a kind of Victorian England hasn't already alienated you, you might find this tale of a bereaved family, a legal controversy over the father's will, and the romances of the unmarried daughters and son as hard to put down as I did. ( )
  cbl_tn | Apr 6, 2014 |
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.

BOTTOM LINE: 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.” ( )
1 vote bookworm12 | Jan 17, 2014 |
I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't this. Walton has a true gift for creating unforgettable, utterly original worlds. Tooth and Claw is a fairly straightforward romance with dragons acting as the main characters - this leads to quite a bit of subtle humour and very sweet descriptions. At its heart, it's a family drama and I have to give it to the author that she managed to make every single member of the family interesting (especially Haner and Selendra, the two sisters orphaned at the beginning of the book whom I completely fell in love with for fighting for more social justice). There's a lot happening in this from the discovery of a treasure in a cave to a trial and Walton explores well-known 19th century themes with great aplomb - money, class, sexuality and sexism play first fiddle here and the fantasy world she created allows her to develop them in a refreshing and riveting way and really illuminates the consequences of Victorian conventions on all aspects of society (though to be fair, I thought religion wasn't well explored at all and even if it's an important theme in the book, the author never seems to know what to do with it even by the end). The author's preface stipulates that that's exactly what she had in mind and she certainly reached her goal. Just like her Small Change trilogy, Walton starts with a well-known world and gives it a twist that both reveals it for its true nature and transcends the genre. Indeed, I thought her world was wonderfully imaginative and really acquired a life of its own by the end. I would have liked to find out that this had a sequel and though the end is commendable, Walton does have a propsensity to stop mid-action (the same happens in Small Change though on a far larger scale) leaving the reader thinking about the book long after it ends.
I'll miss the characters and the atmospheric fantasy world Walton created. She's a very interesting author and I loved reading this book. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walton, Joprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elwell, TristanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, HowardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law—
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed—

Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,
Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal'd within the iron hills?

No more? A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music match'd with him.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from
In Memoriam AHH, 1850.
She'd like me to bring a dragon home, I suppose. It would serve her right if I did, some creature that would make the house intolerable to her.

Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage, 1859
This is for my aunt, Mary Lace, for coming so far down the road towards fantasy for me, and for coming down so many other roads with me, plenty of them real as well as metaphorical.
First words
Bon Agornin writhed on his deathbed, his wings beating as if he would fly to his new life in his old body.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765349094, Mass Market Paperback)

A tale of love, money, and family conflict--among dragons

A family deals with the death of their father. A son goes to court for his inheritance. Another son agonises over his father's deathbed confession. One daughter becomes involved in the abolition movement, while another sacrifices herself for her husband.

And everyone in the tale is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses...in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which the great and the good avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.

You have never read a novel like Tooth and Claw.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:40 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Jo Walton returns with a very different kind of fantasy story: the tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father's deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband." "Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw." "Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses...in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which society's high-and-mighty members avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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