The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán (2016)

DinosaurLords002Cover blurb

Note: The Dinosaur Knights is the second book in a trilogy that started with The Dinosaur Lords. Spoilers ahead for the first book.

Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often cruel world. There are humans on Paradise but dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden, and of war. Armored knights ride dinosaurs to battle legions of war-trained Triceratops and their upstart peasant crews.

Karyl Bogomirsky is one such knight who has chosen to rally those who seek a way from the path of war and madness. The fact that the Empire has announced a religious crusade against this peaceful kingdom, the people who just wish to live in peace anathema, and they all are to be converted or destroyed doesn’t help him one bit.

Things really turn to mud when the dreaded Grey Angels, fabled ancient weapons of the Gods who created Paradise in the first place come on the scene after almost a millennia. Everyone thought that they were fables used to scare children. They are very much real. And they have come to rid the world of sin… including all the humans who manifest those vices.

THE DINOSAUR KNIGHTS is the second in Victor Milan’s lush, exotic tale about knights. Knights riding dinosaurs.

My thoughts

Do you like knights? Do you like dinosaurs? Do you like zombies? Then you’ll be happy to know all three come together in The Dinosaur Knights, the second book in a trilogy set on a world where knights ride dinosaurs into battle. The novel isn’t nearly as memorable as Game of Thrones* or Jurassic Park, the two media properties the series is most often compared. But it is still a nice diversion for a few evenings if you are willing to overlook its shortcomings.

The Dinosaur Knights is set on Paradise, a world populated by dinosaurs and a medieval European society of humans who have domesticated many of the terrible reptiles. There are hints scattered throughout the text that the setting is actually a human colony on an alien planet sometime in the far future, but the author provides little in the way of answers to the mysteries raised.

When we last left our heroes, Princess Melodía was fleeing her brainwashed father after her rape by the evil Duke Falk; Karyl Bogomirsky and his sidekick Rob Korrigan were arrested for treason by the same people who hired them to defend their lands from an invading army; and Jaume, one of the “Dinosaur Knights” of the title, was moping about war being awful. Readers also get snippets of conversation between two “Grey Angels,” supernatural beings that periodically purge Paradise of sinners through holy crusades. One such crusade is about to launch when the story begins.

The Dinosaur Knights resembles Game of Thrones in structure in that the point of view shifts between characters in alternating chapters. That said, there are far fewer characters to follow than in the series’ more famous inspiration, and Melodía’s and Karyl’s stories converge about a third of the way through the book. My main complaint with the novel’s predecessor was that as the first book in a trilogy, it was all setup with very little payoff. The Dinosaur Knights picks up the pace considerably. I was surprised by how many narrative threads seemingly reached their end by the novel’s conclusion. This isn’t Game of Thrones where, five books in, winter is still coming. That said, Milán leaves just enough unresolved plot points and unanswered questions for the upcoming third book.

The quick pace along with a couple well-written battle scenes allowed me to enjoy The Dinosaur Knights more than the first book in the trilogy. Still, many of the first novel’s flaws remain. The characters are bland and forgettable; the writing is a bit dry; and the series’ most unique element — the dinosaurs — really aren’t important to the plot. As I said in my review of The Dinosaur Lords, you could replace with dinosaurs with dragons or griffins and still have the same book. Also, while I appreciated the faster pace of The Dinosaur Knights, several plotlines were tied up more neatly than they should have been given what had come before.

Then there are the zombies, but to say anything further would ruin the novel’s major plot twist.

The Dinosaur Knights isn’t the best fantasy novel I’ve read. It’s certainly not the best dinosaur novel I’ve read. But it is entertaining enough to have kept my interest and made me want to continue with the series.

* I realize the name for George R.R. Martin’s series is A Song of Ice and Fire, not Game of Thrones. But the latter title is the one most people are familiar with, so I used it instead.

Trivia

  • The third volume in the trilogy, titled The Dinosaur Princess, is scheduled to be released in August 2017.
  • The author says on his website he would like to write a second trilogy set in the same world, although that project may depend on the success of the first trilogy.
  • Every chapter in The Dinosaur Lords and The Dinosaur Knights is illustrated with a somewhat abstract, black-and-white image of a dinosaur or other prehistoric beast.

Reviews

 

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