I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
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.
I enjoyed the first volume, The Dinosaur Lords, but the second volume The Dinosaur Knights is better. The world is already established, the reader knows the main characters, and the action is already underway. The dinosaurs continue to be awesome and the “rules” of their behaviour in Paradise (our non-Earth setting) are refined a bit. Now it is clear to me why the Tyrannosaurs don’t run amok. What is less clear (and may be fodder for future installments) is who exactly the Creators are and what their aims may be.
There are an awful lot of gritty battle scenes in both books, which generally are not my thing. However, to counter-act that, we have Imperial Princess Melodía joining the rebels and learning to be something besides an imperial princess. This book continues to honour the Bechdel test, as Melodía discovers unexpected female friends along the way. My only reservation is that these amigas seem to be very expendable and Milan eliminates them almost as quickly as he introduces them and never gently. There are fewer sex scenes, which is a blessing, as I don’t care for Milan’s execution of them.
I think the trick to enjoying these books is to go into them with an open mind. Probably it helps for me that I have never read any of George R.R. Martin’s books, to which Milan’s books are compared, most notably on the dust jacket. Milan shares Martin’s willingness to dispose of characters, and a certain gritty, somewhat medieval-like setting. Empty yourself of any other expectations before entering the world of Paradise, and you will be free to enjoy what Milan is offering.
There are a certain number of editing errors which bugged me along the way (‘our’ instead of ‘your’ and similar little glitches that would require re-reading of sentences to figure out what was meant). But over all, these small snafus didn’t ruin the reading experience.