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Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
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Tooth and Claw (2003)

by Jo Walton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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890609,932 (3.93)156
  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. 30
    Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Herenya)
  4. 20
    A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the Victorian setting, with dragons.
  5. 10
    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (octopedingenue)
  6. 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 156 mentions

English (56)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Apparently, Tooth and Claw has been stylistically compared to Jane Austen if Jane were to interpose her humans with dragons. Walton insists that there is little to no Austen in it and rather the inception is thanks to Trollope. Having not read any Trollope, a travesty that must be addressed, I cannot attest to that, but since authors know best when it comes to their own work, I would be inclined to agree.

Beyond the Victorian sensibilities, what I did manage to discern was that the world-building was multi-layered, complex and wonderfully disturbing. No society is without it's tragic flaws. Walton's dragons have a habit of consuming each other; so much that Church and State have strong dictates of what is considered lawful and/or sinful. The climax of the novel is the civil suit against the son-in-law of a patriarch dragon who is deemed to have eaten too much of his dead father-in-law. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to type that sentence out! Can you imagine how hilarious it was to actually write this book? Not that this book is funny, it is not at all, taking itself as seriously as any upper-class English nobility from the 19th century would have tended to do. Tooth and Claw is brimming with simply glorious teeny tiny details that entertained me to no end. I love when the tried and true version of fantasy or myth are reinvented or simply explored more thoroughly resulting in an almost anthropological study.

I highly recommend this book simply for the sheer pleasure of discovering what is deemed an acceptable amount of dead dragon that a son, daughter and son-in-law are allowed to eat. For my full review visit my blog Thank the Maker: http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.ca/2014/10/to-eat-your-own-review-of-tooth-and... ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
So now, I have read Jane Austen, Jane Austen with "magic", Jane Austen with zombies, Jane Austen in today's world, Jane Austen wannabes, and now this book: Jane Austen with dragons. All in all, I enjoyed the mannerisms and the story and a revisiting of a favorite author's style. ( )
  bookczuk | Apr 22, 2016 |
About a year ago (or something), I read and adored Jo Walton's Among Others, for the way it handled fairies and magic as subtle things in the world, so subtle they often go unnoticed by most people.

Tooth and Claw is nothing like Among Other, a completely different direction in style and story. The book is a comedy of manners, kind of like Jane Austen but with a society of dragons. It deals with the practical matters of such a society. From the book description:
"Here is a tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, a son who goes to court 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."
It's so human in the kinds of troubles the dragons have to face (which makes sense since dragon culture was influenced by the Yarge), but social manners and propriety are all greatly influenced by the biology of the dragons — a young women is gold when she is a maiden, but blushes to pink when she becomes betrothed signifying her new ability to have children (it makes for some interesting new challenges when a woman is "compromised"); the length of a dragon has a strong influence on their social position; and so on. There is more, but I don't want to give too much away.

The only giant glaring negative to this novel was the fact that my edition had two pages that were bound wrong — page 19 came after page 22 (which took me a week to figure out) and another page toward the end was flipped upside down.

Otherwise, Tooth and Claw was a charming read, neatly pulling together the threads of all the character's storylines into a satisfying conclusion. ( )
  andreablythe | Mar 12, 2016 |
No longer will I sigh that the Victorians didn't write fantasy: Walton has done it for them! When an old dragon patriarch dies, his relatives gather round to split his treasure—-and devour his body. The plot concerns the ensuing law suit, several love affairs and a growing spirit of revolution, yet each of the characters are well drawn and believable. Walton does an excellent job of mixing a familiar romance plot with politics and the occasional alien aspects of dragon society. She says this novel is "the result of wondering what a world would be like if the axioms of the sentimental Victorian novel were inescapable laws of biology." An example: the scales of dragon maidens who have too much contact with dragon males blush red, leaving their "disgrace" obvious to the world. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Do you think that the concept of reading a Victorian novel where all the characters just happen to be dragons sounds like the most clever thing you've heard since last season? Well then, this book is for you.
I picked this up since Walton just won the Nebula, and I realized I'd never read anything by her. I thought I had, but realized that was Clayton, Jo, not Walton, Jo. (I do that a lot.) Very different authors. 'Tooth and Claw' won both the World Fantasy and the Campbell awards. It is a very well crafted book. It's both an homage to and a satire of Victorian novels. Walton states that it 'owes a lot to' the book 'Framley Parsonage,' which I haven't read, so I can't say how closely it follows it.
However, although this is very well done, it's not the book for me. It just seemed a little too gimmicky, a bit too tongue-in-cheek without being actually humorous. The plot revolves entirely around issues of social standing, inheritance and marital arrangements. It started out slowly, but by the end I was reasonably drawn in to the fates of these characters (which are all tied up neatly and traditionally at the conclusion.) If you are entertained by the concept of these sorts of social issues being worried over by huge, cannibalistic, fire-breathing reptiles… who also love to wear absurdly decorative hats… go for it. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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.
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(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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:01 -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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