by Victor Milán
445 pgs (The Dinosaur Lords series #1)
The Dinosaur Lords takes place in the Empire of Neuvaropa, a fictional land similar in look and feel to Europe in the 14th century. The book, which is the beginning of a series Victor Milán is writing, introduces three main characters: Karyl Bogomirskly, the captain of a Triceratops army, who himself rides an allosaurous, Rob Korrigan, a dinosaur whisperer of sorts, and Melodia, a princess.
George R.R. Martin described the book as "...a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones," and that's a pretty accurate description. I don't know whether the rivalries between the different feudal lords, and the lengths they'll be willing to go to in order to defeat one another will equal those in GRRM's A Song of Fire and Ice series, but it's clear Milán is not just writing a book about battles between dinosaur-riding knights.
But let me weigh in on the dinosaur-riding knights. I was expecting the dinosaur aspect of the story to be a little campy. It's not. The fact that there are dinosaurs interwoven into the story gives it a level of appeal it wouldn't otherwise have. They're not just used for battle. They're a part of all aspects of life in Neuvaropa. They're a source of food, some have been domesticated for use working the land, they're ridden during jousting tournaments for entertainment, they're used for executions, and of course there are the wild ones to be watched out for.
Milán and his new series are legitimate additions to the genre. His characters are engaging and multi-layered, his story is intelligent and entertaining, and he inserts just the right level of fantasy and the supernatural into the world he's created to let you know that there are bigger forces at play than just those who first appear.
Oh yeah, and there are dinosaurs!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆