This high concept novel seems it has such an amazing potential. George RR Martin himself called it “Game of Thrones meets Jurassic Park.” I first discovered it while scavenging the bones of a failing bookstore chain like a procompsognathus during its “going out of business” sale. It went on my Christmas reading list… and there it stayed. Despite it’s amazing potential, Victor Milan’s Dinosaur Lords took me a year to complete. That is not my norm.
There’s a lot to like about this series, but first, there were several things that bothered me. These were the reasons that it took me so long to complete the book.
First: Milan is long-winded… severely so. Very often he would take pages and pages to get where he was going.
Second: it felt like Milan was more concerned with world building than he was with his story telling. When high fantasy writers make up words and build societies, languages, peoples, etc. it’s usually from scratch. However, Milan’s is obviously based on existing people groups like the Spanish, Italians, etc. He spends an inordinate amount of time to make sure that we get steeped in cultures that don’t seem to manage to the story.
Third: language. And grammar. Milan often writes. Like this. Often. As a novelist of similar types of books, it continually baffled me that his editor didn’t straighten it out. In some situations, writers can break rules in favor of stylistic methods like this—but Milan often uses them when there is little cause to, making his writing and editing feel lazy.
Fourth: Characters. There are two primary storylines happening at the same time—there is very little connecting them in the story (except for in the beginning). They likely converge in later books, but one of the stories I didn’t care for—it was filled with characters I didn’t like and took up more than half of the story (Jaume and the excessively whiny princess.)
I DID like the plotline between Karyl and Rob. They had a certain kind of chemistry and a Wheel of Time kind of feel to their story arc. Their struggle was what kept me reading.
When the world building was done right, it was spot on. There is certainly a larger world in the mix between the gods and grey angels and books of history. When it didn’t suffer from the above issues, it was great: that’s the book I wanted to read.
While it was overall enjoyable and the writing really sticks with me, I don’t think that what I liked about the series is enough to get me to read the next two in the series. This will be a book that was fun—but left too much on the table for me. I often compare books to it, for what that’s worth. Maybe you’ll like it more than I did.
Phenomenal potential for this high concept tale—but one that ultimately fails to shine like it should.