Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton

This was a review copy from Tor for the reissue, which is a lovely reissue. And when people send me free books, I review them! But I'd already read Tooth and Claw when it came out, so I wanted to do something a little different.

Off to the library! I had never read Framley Parsonage, from which a lot of the inspiration for Tooth and Claw was drawn. I had wanted to. This seemed like a good excuse.

I didn't intend a direct comparison, but I have to say I like Tooth and Claw better than Framley Parsonage, and I don't think it's because Anthony Trollope has never once made me dinner. I don't think it's because discussions of eating people make me a great deal less nervous than discussions of debt, either, although that's part of it. No, what struck me about Tooth and Claw was that I didn't feel like any of the characters were allowed to be placeholders. In Framley Parsonage, I liked Fanny and Lucy and the little Crawley girl, and the others were all less interesting to me. In Tooth and Claw, all of the siblings and all of their associates felt distinct and vivid to me, including--and this seems maybe important--the servants. In the previous bit of discussion on this lj about Framley Parsonage, papersky wondered aloud, "Why did I change that [detailed references to debt] when I wrote T&C?", and it's an interesting question. But despite my greater ease with chomping than with financial woes, I think the change that stuck out for me most was that Trollope's concern with the lives and livings of poorer clergymen was explicitly class-based: that these were not a class of people who should be expected to live in such dire circumstances. In Tooth and Claw, Jo and her characters broadened that concern to the rights and well-being of all dragons, not just those who seemed nice enough to have nice things.

If you didn't read Tooth and Claw when it was first out, all this stuff may distract you from the main point in reading it. I don't recommend Tooth and Claw because it is or is not like Framley Parsonage. I recommend it because it's like itself, it's not a lot like anything else, and what it's like is great fun. Dragons! Very proper dragons! Very properly eating each other under the very proper circumstances, and only while wearing the right hats! Go. Devour.
Tags: bookses precious
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