The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milán (2017)

DinoPrincessCover blurb

Note: The Dinosaur Princess is the third book in a trilogy that began with The Dinosaur Lords. Spoilers ahead for the first two books.

The Dinosaur Princess is a thrilling epic fantasy adventure set in an alternative world of intrigue, beauty, brutality… and dinosaurs.

WELCOME TO PARADISE: A primordial world with every species of dinosaur, large and small. And humans, who were brought to this world on the whim of the gods. Knights ride into battle on Triceratops; their heroes lead them on T-Rexes.

Karyl Bogomirskiy is one such hero. Once, he held power. Betrayed by those closest to him, he was resurrected by the Fae, magical beings native to the world, who seek to use him in their eternal battle against alien gods. Karyl just wants to be left in peace, reluctant to be anyone’s tool, much less a savior.

But the gods have returned to judge their human experiment and to finally rid the planet of the Fae. And while Karyl doesn’t feel like a hero, he’s humanity’s last best hope.

The Dinosaur Princess is the newest epic fantasy adventure set in a world where knights ride armored dinosaurs into battle, hailed by George R. R. Martin as “A cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones.”

My thoughts

The Dinosaur Princess is the third title in a trilogy of fantasy novels set on a world modeled after Medieval Europe, but with the major difference being that knights ride dinosaurs into battle. Starting with The Dinosaur Lords, the series was billed as “a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones” by none other than George R.R. Martin himself. Sadly, I must inform you that it’s time for these two famous properties to get a divorce. The Dinosaur Princess is a slog filled with boring characters, sparse plot development, and little interest in the one element that makes it unique from other fantasy settings: Dinosaurs.

The Dinosaur Princess picks up immediately where the last book in the series began. The heroes are celebrating their defeat of a Grey Angel crusade when they learn that Princess Melodía’s little sister has been kidnapped, supposedly by agents of a hostile foreign power. After an unsuccessful rescue attempt, the characters spend the rest of the novel debating whether to go to war to retrieve the girl. And that’s pretty much it. Much of the action of the previous novel is jettisoned so the author can devote more time to court intrigue as Melodía seeks to undermine the schemes of the villainous Duke Falk and his mother to gain control of the empire. The problem is Milán isn’t as skilled a writer as Martin, and what makes Game of Thrones work isn’t necessarily all the scheming but the interesting characters and the moral quandaries they face. Readers don’t care about the make-believe politics of a make-believe world if you don’t give them people to care about.

Adding to the book’s problems is that two of the main characters spend a majority of the novel away from the center of the action. They are instead off doing their own thing, which mostly involves the daily administration a small part of the empire that has come into their possession. These scenes serve as little more than filler to stretch a thin plot to novel length.

As for dinosaurs, as I’ve said in my reviews of the previous books, they don’t add anything to the setting. Instead of building a human culture around the existence of the animals, Milán just shoehorned them into a generic fantasy world. In fact, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how the ecology of Milán’s setting is supposed to work. The novel’s human inhabitants share the land with herds of animals several times larger than elephants and gigantic predators, yet the world is no different that what you would find in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. The author could have easily have replaced dinosaurs with dragons or unicorns and ended up with the same plot.

The above complaints are bad enough, but by far the worst sin committed by The Dinosaur Princess is that the book isn’t a conclusion to the trilogy. Rather, the novel exists only to set the stage for a second trilogy that may or may not get published. None of the mysteries raised in earlier books are resolved, the plot ends on a cliffhanger, and all the characters end up in more or less the same positions they were at the beginning of The Dinosaur Lords. While I’m sure the series has its fans, I have a hard time imagining most readers sustaining enough interest to delve into another three books after The Dinosaur Princess.

Trivia

  • The author’s website is victormilan.com
  • Just a warning: If you find Game of Thrones’ incest scenes creepy, then you will find Milán’s descriptions of the incestuous relationship between the mother and son villains particularly stomach churning.

Reviews

 

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