Saturday, July 04, 2009

Yesterday I finished The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick.

Similar to The Stations of the Tide, Iron Dragon's Daughter throws the reader into the deep end of the pool, introducing a complex and multi-faceted world with little explanation or background. In this case, it's a clever combination of fantasy and technology. The background seems to be built around what might happen in a world where magic exists, and the industrial revolution also happens. The result is a fairly grim world where elves rule, dwarves and others serve and the disadvantage exist at the sufferance of those in power.

The protagonist starts out a virtual slave in a factory, longing for some other kind of life, which is eventually supplied by a damaged dragon - in this world a sentient war machine. The relationship between them is more built on mutual explotation than anything else, and is typical of the relationships in this book. The book is fairly grim, with characters scheming against each other, abusing and exploiting those around them whenever possible.

Very interesting, but also frustrating. The lack of exposition on the world make everything that happens feel somewhat arbitrary, and undermine the arc of the character's development and the story.

No comments: