Book Review: The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Dinosaur KnightsThe Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 2 of The Dinosaur Lords

Publisher: Tor (July 5, 2016)

Length: 448 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

After my wonderful time with Victor Milán’s The Dinosaur Lords last year, I was understandably quite anxious to take on the sequel The Dinosaur Knights. However, there were some aspects with this follow-up that made me think the honeymoon period might be coming to an end. While I still love the epic-fantasy-meets-dinosaurs premise behind this series, admittedly the magic has faded somewhat due to this book’s uneven pacing and my growing dissatisfaction with a couple key characters.

The Dinosaur Knights continues the narrative from the first novel, following more or less the same handful of characters. In the Empire of Neuvaropa, a fictional land reminiscent of 14th century Europe, everything is in turmoil as rumors of a Grey Angel Crusade lead desperate men to form the most unlikely of alliances. We pick up Rob Korrigan’s story in the pacifist town of Providence, where the dinosaur master and his friend the famed noble captain Karyl Bogomirskiy are on trial for their perceived crimes against the adherents of the Garden of Truth and Beauty. At the same time, Princess Melodía and her maidservant Pilar are on the run after escaping imprisonment in the palace from the traitor Duke Falk von Hornberg. Eventually, their search for a safe haven leads them to Providence, where the fates of our major characters finally converge.

Meanwhile, Melodía’s lover and Karyl’s rival the Count Jaume dels Flors has joined forces with Emperor Felipe, hatching up an insane plan in the hopes of stopping the Creators’ Grey Angels from returning to Paradise. As war erupts across Neuvaropa, even those who just want to withdraw into peace and isolation are swept up in the rising wave of fear and madness. Worst of all, despite the extreme efforts by the Empire, there’s no telling whether the weapons of the Gods can even be stopped.

First, the good news: All this will ultimately culminate into one hell of a climax and ending. The bad news? I felt like I had to plod through more than 200 pages just to reach the point where things start getting interesting. I experienced little to no emotional engagement or suspense for the first half of the book, because it was impossible to shake the pesky feeling that the author was simply biding his time until he could maneuver all his characters into place, after which he can finally usher in the real action.

I was also disappointed with the characters, especially Princess Melodía, the only female POV in a cast dominated by men. She was my favorite from The Dinosaur Lords, and my one regret was not seeing her play a more significant role compared to Rob or Jaume. In a way, I got my wish granted, since Melodía received a lot more page time in The Dinosaur Knights, though I remain unconvinced this was actually an improvement. I didn’t like the way her character was repeatedly set up to be duped or to make mind-bogglingly bad decisions, undermining the hard won admiration she earned from the previous book. Then there was Rob, who frequently displays more respect and compassion towards his dinosaurs than his fellow human beings, which is especially apparent when it comes to his sexual objectification of women. I don’t usually let this kind of stuff get to me, but there were so many unnecessary allusions in this vein that even I couldn’t help but notice. With Melodía being almost useless for the first half of this novel, and Rob going from passably charming to downright insufferable, it was harder to engage with the characters this time around.

Happily, the dinosaurs are still amazing. For one thing, I just love the smattering of chapters we get from Shiraa the Allosaurus’ point of view. These brief glimpses into the dinosaur’s head can be a bit incongruous, but I can’t help but appreciate them for being one of the series’ cooler idiosyncrasies. Furthermore, Milán continues to excel at writing fantastic dino-battle scenes. They’re the real highlights of this novel, with the largescale combat sequences in the final section going a long way in making up for a humdrum first half.

This sequel also delves deeper into the lore of the Creators and their Grey Angels. With dinosaurs and angels, this series is really starting to build into something a lot more complex than I had anticipated when I first picked up The Dinosaur Lords. And while world-building continues to be a work-in-progress and we still don’t have all the answers, I admit I’m curious to see how all the puzzle pieces will fall into place.

It should come as no surprise then, that I still have plans on continuing this series. It’s true that I felt the second book slump with this one, but several promising developments in the last half of the book also give me hope that the third installment will pick things up again. Plus, there’s no dismissing those final climactic chapters, and with the book ending with the Empire of Neuvaropa in even more of a mess than when we started, I’m definitely keen on finding out where our characters will go from here.

3stars

Mogsy 2

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Dinosaur Lords (Book 1)

Advertisements

24 Comments on “Book Review: The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán

  1. I hope the third book picks up for you! I hate when the second book in a series doesn’t live up to the first. I’m usually the sort who decides not to continue, though.

    Like

    • I wonder how many books will be in this series. Usually if a trilogy slumps during the second book, I figure I might as well go for broke and pick up book three since I’ve already come so far! And usually 3 stars means there’s enough to make it worth it; I was a little disappointed here by some of the developments, but there’s definitely still room to grow and improve.

      Like

  2. Second volumes are often a trial, both for the readers and the author: as the former build their expectations, the latter is aware of them, and that often impacts on the writing.
    I’m however glad that you found enough material to keep you reading: I’m looking forward to hearing how this trilogy fares in the end… 🙂

    Like

    • Yes, I’ve heard many anecdotes from authors about writing their second books, and I definitely don’t envy them the pressure! I think this world is so cool though, so even though I didn’t like this one as much as the first book, I still want to read book three 🙂

      Like

    • Haha, yeah it’s so difficult to recommend a series when that happens. I guess it will depend on what I’ll think of the next one. Though I would say it’s worth giving the book one a shot!

      Liked by 1 person

    • That was probably my main frustration. She makes great strides in the last part of this book though, so I’m curious to see where she’ll go from here.

      Like

    • Yeah, I thought the dinosaurs and angels were cool too. That’s like the last two things I would expect to be in a book together, lol. Here’s to hoping book three will pick up again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rob was unbearable in the first book, I really cannot like a book that features misogynistic dudes so I had a ton of problems with The Dinosaur Lords, I wanted to read a couple of review of its sequel to see if it improved or not but since you didn’t really like it while you liked the first one, I am 100% sure that I won’t give this one a try!

    Like

    • Yeah, unfortunately if you couldn’t handle Rob in the first book, I doubt he’d impress you here in the sequel. I actually thought he was bearable in book one, but this one had an overall misogynistic attitude to it I just didn’t care for. Melodia felt like the butt of a joke, and there were one too many unnecessary sexual jokes and scenes depicting violence towards women for me. The key word there being “unnecessary”…like, did that extra quip about blow jobs really need to be there? Or the scene where a raptor chews off a woman’s breast? Ugh, stuff like that.

      Like

  4. That’s a shame – I know you were looking forward to this. I only ever read an excerpt of the first and was waiting to see how the series panned out. Will wait and see how the series continues. Maybe this is just a second book blip.
    Lynn 😀

    Like

    • Yeah, second book blips are not uncommon, which is why I usually continue the series anyway because most of the time book threes pick up again 🙂 Hopefully this will be the case.

      Like

  5. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

  6. Pingback: The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán (2015) – Prehistoric Pulp

  7. Pingback: Book Review: The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milán | The BiblioSanctum

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: