Literature / The Dinosaur Lords

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Dinosaur Lords has medieval knights riding dinosaurs into battle. Your decision to read the book will inevitably be based not on this or any other review but on precisely how excited you feel by the phrase “medieval knights ride dinosaurs into battle.”

The Dinosaur Lords is fantasy/science-fiction series by Victor Milán, and delivers exactly what it promises to: medieval knights and dinosaurs.

Welcome to Paradise, a world where food is plentiful, nothing dies of old age, magic creeps under the radar and dinosaurs are war mounts, beasts of burden, predators and food source. This doesn't mean that the Empire of Nuevaropa, one of the bigger countries of Paradise, is at peace. At contrary - following a succesion crisis, there's civil war brewing. And it's far from the only conflict taking shape there.

Karyl Bogomirskiy, a mercenary in service of Nuevaropa, loses his memories after his triceratops legion is shattered and the Empire he fought for backstabs him. Along with Rob Korrigan, a wandering minstrel, Dinosaur Master and the man partly responsible for Karyl's downfall, they're recruited by self-professed sorceress to train the people of her homeland in arts of war in preparation for religious schism. Meanwhile, Nuevaropan prince Jaume, who did the backstabbing, wanders all over the land fighting wars and skirmishes he doesn't think wise on orders of Emperor he doesn't respect, and his fiancee, Melodía, Emperor's daughter, attempts to carve space for herself in imperial politics as the civil war moves from battlefields to shaded corridors of the Palace of the Fireflies.

Books in the series so far are:
  • The Dinosaur Lords (2015)
  • The Dinosaur Knights (2016)
  • The Dinosaur Princess (TBR June 2017)

Tropes in The Dinosaur Lords are:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder:
    • When sent out to wage war against the Gardeners, Jaume quickly starts to eye his fellow Companions, as Melodía doesn't respond to his letters and they parted on a not-so-friendly note. He doesn't act on this, though.
    • Melodía herself gets seduced by another women when Jaume's absence is prolonged, though she clearly states that Jaume is still her greatest and only love.
  • Achilles in His Tent: When the Fugitive Army is marching away from the horde, Karyl's nightmares and self-loathing start to grow in intensity to the point that he completely withdraws from running the army and sits in his tent.
  • Action Pet: Shiraa, Karyl's mount, whom he raised since she was hatched, and who tracks her master herself and is likely the most intimidating character in the entire story. Fittingly, as she's a freaking allosaurus.
  • Adipose Rex:
    • Count Augenfedels, whose has such a multiple chin, it seems like his head isn't really attached to his shoulders. Apparently, it's quite common among dinosaur knights, as in contrast to their horse-mounted kin, their mounts are the ones doing all the work, so they don't have to keep fit.
    • The unnamed king of Trinia swamps, whom the girl of Melodía's posse describe as so fat, he rarely gets off his throne.
  • Affably Evil: For a given value of "Evil", what with the story thriving in all shades of gray, but the Grey Angels come across as pretty nice, even fun. Of course, they are directly responsible for what's coming to Provenance.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Montserrat is usually called Montse by people who like her.
  • Agent Peacock: Jaume is stylish and skilled, being both the most beautiful man in the palace and the Emperor's Champion. The same goes for the Companions.
  • Alliterative Family: Both Emperor's daughters have names starting with M: Melodía and Montserrat.
  • All Women Are Lustful: The most common topic for girls in Melodía's posse is who's sexy, who's sleeping with whom and who should seduce whom. Blessedly averted later on.
  • Amazon Brigade: Most of the jinete light cavalry are women.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Petit Pigeon, street urchin in Rob's employ. Rob's still can't figure out whether Pigeon's a girl or a boy, and can't find a way to ask about it without insulting them. They're a girl.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Karyl loses a hand when escaping his pursuers after he dies for the first time.
  • An Axe to Grind: Rob's weapon of choice is an axe he calls Wanda.
  • Arc Words:
    • "The most powerful weapon of a dinosaur knight was his mount."
    • "Grey Angels" or "A Grey Angel has emerged".
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Surprsingly averted, as far as we can tell - the dinosaurs are well-researched and plausible, and vast variety of them is used beyond Stock Dinosaurs. Milán even avoids the common trap of mistaking Deinonychus for Velociraptor.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Exploited by Jaume; he manages to win over the commanders in the Correction Army by hunting down and killing a wild allosaurus that's been preying on camp followers.
  • Attempted Rape: When drunk, Falk almost rapes Melodía; only intervention of her handmaiden lets her slip away.
  • Back from the Dead: Karyl dies twice, once from axe to the head, then from falling down a cliff, and mysteriously returns to life.
  • Badass Back: When one of Emperor's commanders tries to order a general retreat before the battle even begun, Falk decapitates him with his axe without deigning to face him.
  • Badass Princess: Melodía slowly morphs into one when she joins the militia; one-third into Knights she's already slaying dinosaur riders from horseback.
  • Bad Dreams:
    • Karyl suffers from those after his death(s), making him wake up screaming. Funnily enough, it's Rob who's most mangled by them, as while Karyl doesn't remember them, his screaming has Rob terrified to sleep at nights.
    • Melodía starts having nightmares where she relives Falk raping her after she starts to have sexual relationships again.
  • Battle Cry: Shiraa screams her name when charging into battle.
  • Battle in the Rain: The first battle against the hordelings is marked by heavy downpour.
  • Beneath Notice:
    • When talking with Montserrat about helping Melodía, Pilar lampshades this, noting that nobody in the palace notices children or servants.
    • Melodía and Pilar escape the Palace disguised in a cart of dinosaur... guano.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Underplayed, but Melodía mentions off-handedly that the fireflies from which the Palace takes its name are a metre long.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Twice played straight and once subverted in Knights' final battle.
    • Karyl's Fugitive Legion arrives to bolster Imperial Army when the tide is against them.
    • Melodía attempts to do the same for Karyl, but she's stopped by Shiraa bursting out and performing the rescue herself.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Falk plays the part of overzealous former rebel who underwent a touching Heel–Face Turn and now wholeheartedly supports the Emperor and his Church, while in fact he's a manipulative bastard who gets himself in Emperor's good graces for his faction's ends and fatasizes about forcing himself on Melodía.
    • Violette plays the part of a sad once-noblewoman who befriends Melodía and pities her plight, while it's obvious from Rob's POV that she's seducing the girl from the start, and later takes advantage of Melodía's fear and sadness to pull her into bed.
  • Bi the Way: Most of high-born characters, including Jaume and Melodía, swing both ways.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lords ends badly for Team Protagonists, with Falk all but in charge of Imperial politics, Melodía on the run, Jaume slowly losing control over his own army, Rob and Karyl arrested and Grey Angels up and about. The only things to sweeten this are that Melodía managed to escape Falk with Pilar and her co-conspirators won't be arrested as per Emperor's direct order. Blessedly, the man still can think for himself.
    • Knights ends a little better, but still very bittersweetly, for the cast. Raguel is dead and his horde is broken, Melodia and Jaume are back together, and Karyl's army has united with the Emperor's and are finally working together. But Raguel could come back, his fellow Grey Angels will definitely come back, Falk is now a hero to the people and revealing that he raped her would not go well for Melodia, Karyl has been named Paradise's Champion (A role he does not want), and the Emperor's confessor is actually a Grey Angel. Oh and hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including many many children, used by Raguel as cannon fodder are dead.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Grey Angels' weapon is sort of this, but the blade is half again stick's size. As a whole, it's two and a half metres of metal.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Melodía has shades of this. While certainly intelligent and somewhat nice, she keeps on complaining that nobody cares what she thinks and throws a hissing fit when Jaume - who at the time is insanely busy preparing an army to march out on short notice - doesn't hear her speak, lost in thought.
  • Break the Haughty: Melodía gets hit with this hard after her arrest. First, Falk rapes her, and then she's forced to escaped the palace hidden in dinosaur guano. While free of the palace, she's mistreated by Pilar as part of their scheme to masquerade as a noblewoman and her servant, and when she eventually reaches Providence, she tries to take over and make a difference, only for things to go horribly wrong. After that, she finally learns her lesson.
  • Brick Joke: Early in Knights, Pilar and Melodía get rid of a pursuing allosaurus by tricking it into ramming its head in a falled tree. Later, Shiraa encounters a fellow allosaurus she treats with contempt because it has a broken mouth, as if it was in "some sort of an accident".
  • But I Would Really Enjoy It: When leading the Correction Army to Terraroja, Jaume catches himself on having some untowardly thoughts towards Florian, his fellow Companion. As their leader, he shouldn't sleep with them - it's in the rules - but he can't help fantasizing.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": A lot of dinosaurs get several in-universe nicknames - for example, allosaurus becomes matador, and deinynochuses are commonly known as the "horrors".
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: In-universe; Jaume's elite unit, the Companions, are chosen as much for their skill as they are for their beauty. Fittingly, they group is full of couples.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: At the start of the story, Jaume is ordered to perform this on Karyl's troops, just as they are being decimated by Rob's ankylosauruses.
  • Chick Magnet: Jaume is a head-turner, and Nuevaropa's style of walking shirtless does not help, as seen when he visits Melodía when she's with her Girl Posse.
  • Child Soldiers: The horde presses children into service too, using Mind Control to turn them into deadly skirmishers and forcing the Imperials to kill them if they want to survive.
  • Church Militant: The Companions, Jaume's Elite Army, are technically a militant religious order, to current Pope's fury. They worship Bella, Lady of Beauty and Truth.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Llurdis likes to see conspiracy and court intrigue everywhere, and when an actual murder happens, she's overjoyed.
  • Cool Big Sis: Melodía ties to be this for Montserrat, in lieu of their father's attention.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Pilar is torn apart alive by a pack of hunting raptors.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Raguel and Uriel have one in the epilogue, not because of playing the pronoun game, but rather because they use so many terms unfamiliar to the reader, it's very hard to understand what they mean, only that it's no good news.
  • Daddy's Girl: Melodía and Montserrat are both adept at manipulating their father... when he notices them.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Karyl's immediate family was slaughtered and eaten by a wild dinosaur when Karyl himself was just a kid. His further family has proceeded to kick him out of the house a few years later to take over his family lands, leaving him with nothing but clothes on his back and young Shiraa by his side. He managed to survive that and worked as a mercenary for years before building up enough powerbase to regain control over his lands.
    • Falk's father is heavily implied to have been an abusive tyrant who rutinely hurt his son, and his mother is a Manipulative Bitch who belittled Falk until she had him wrapped around her finger. Falk ended up pushing his father off the stairs to his death, but in contrast to Karyl, he never really recovered fully, still being an obedient tool to his mother.
  • David vs. Goliath: The finale of Knights has Karyl fighting Raguel, with the latter being easily three times his size and mounted on a Tyrannosaurus Imperator, a predator to end all predators. He manages to take the imperator down, but Shiraa has to step in to save him from Raguel.
  • Days of Future Past: Paradise is very much implied to be some colonized world in the future, but technology and state of the world looks almost like carbon copy of late-Medieval Europe, complete with Nuevaropa being Spain/Portugal equivalent, the "Irysh" and "Slevs". However, it's not taken to the end - while there's a church, agnosticism is "fashionable" and social standards are much looser.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The Palace of the Fireflies is full of court intrigue, illicit romances, schemes and backstabbery.
  • Deadly Lunge: The hordelings are usually slow and lumbering, but get a sudden surge of speed and energy when an enemy is in sight.
  • Deadpan Snarker: While most Companions stay their tongue, Florian likes to snark at people he finds stupid or disgusting, even if it brings a host of troubles on his and Jaume's heads.
  • Death World: Paradise is a full-blown inversion. People have potential to live forever, wounds heal within days, food is so plentiful it takes effort to starve, and climate is on the hot side, but not murderously so.
  • Decapitated Army: With the horde being all under Mind Control of their leader, it's little surprise that killing Raguel pretty much ends the entire thing, at least temporarily.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A benign example; the Nuevaropans don't consider public nudity to be embarassing, but empowering - a person appears in court or in front of a crowd naked if they're convinced that they're in the right and want to shame their opponent.
  • Description Cut: Jaume thinks to himself that Melodía is probably already in Ovda and out of danger right before the story cuts to the girl fighting desperately for her life in Providence.
  • Divided We Fall: The Correction Army Jaume is ordered to lead is composed of people who either hate Jaume or hate each other, which makes even bringing it to the would-be battlefield problematic. As Florian points out, because of various disputes and general opposition to their esteemed commander, it takes them a week to cross a distance the Companions usually cover in a single day and night.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: With the only Earth-like domesticated animals being horses, cats, dogs and geese, dinosaurs are domesticated for all other purposes: food source, pets, war mounts, beasts of burden and all others.
  • Doom Magnet: Karyl thinks himself to be this, as he notes that most people he's attached to, whether family or army, either dies or suffers a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Drama Queen: Fina will cry over her recent issue of choice (lately, noblemen's treatment of peasants), but only as long as people pay attention to her.
  • Dreadful Musician: Karyl is a horrible musician, and Rob, who's a professional trubadour, can't help but point it out. To Karyl's defence, he has only one hand, which makes learning hard.
  • Duel to the Death: To get control over Tyrant's Guard, Falk challenges the previous commander. He wins.
  • Easy Amnesia: Karyl completely forgets who he is and most of his past as a result of axe blow to the helmet, and spending some time carried by the water. It all gradually returns to him after some time, though.
  • Elite Army:
    • Karyl's White Legion of triceratopses used much like war elephants. They're infamous for never having been defeated, and before Rob unleashes his surprise, they all but annihilate rebels' cavalry wing.
    • Jaume's Companions are clearly intended to be this, both in combat and as The Beautiful Elite.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Two of them: The Book Of True Names provides information on dinosaurs, as well as how they're called in various regions of Paradise, while A Primer To Paradise For The Improvement Of Young Minds goes over the Creators.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Falk considers undermining the authority of the Emperor's best general to be ordinary politics in most circumstances, he understands that doing so on the eve of battle against an army that outnumbers them immensely is suicidally stupid, and verbally stomps his subordinates into the ground when he learns that they haven't discontinued the slander campaign against Jaume under those circumstances.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The entire story is based on this.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: You thought you're reading a historical fantasy with dinosaurs! ? Raguel will disabuse you of that notion.
  • Evil All Along: Violette and Bogadrius were on Raguel's side all along.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Grey Angels are all over three metres tall and omnicidal.
  • Fan Disservice: Nuevaropa's style of clothing (loincloth and feather boa) does not suit elderly people, as Melodía muses.
  • Fantastic Anthropologist: After he dies for the first time, Karyl runs into an ancient, Fae-like woman who talks with dying people to learn what it's like to be human. Being how he is amnesiac, miserable, wounded and busy running away, he doesn't give her most acclaiming picture.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Paradise is in large parts Medieval Europe with dinosaurs! Examples include:
    • The Irysh, complete with Irish Travellers' expies, and the Anglysh.
    • Nuevaropa, which mixes Mayincatec aesthetics and climate with purely Spanish naming and culture.
    • Distant and only mentioned Celestial Kingdoms - take a guess.
    • Slev people, who are a mix of Russia and other eastern European countries, with some Huns added in (the Ovda).
    • Providence region, which is very much like French region of Provence.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: People of Paradise worship eight Creators. Some worship only one of them, others all eight.
  • Fallen Princess: Melodía goes from Princess Imperial to a fugitive on the run and the whole Break the Haughty routine, finally finding a new purpose fighting for Providence.
  • Final Battle: The entire last part of Knights is a grand battle between the Imperial Army and Raguel's horde, with Karyl's Fugitive Legion joining in later.
  • First-Person Smartass: Jaume, as Emperor's Champion and commander of Correction Army, can't snark out loud, so he helps himself by snarking at people in his head. While initially rather subdued, it becomes more and more common as the Correction Army starts to come apart at seams.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Rob's job as Dinosaur Master amounts to this, as his job is controlling dinosaurs and preparing them for nobles to ride. He clearly loves his critters, regardless of whether they're full of spikes or with giant teeth.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Falk's infamous albino Tyrannosaurus Rex mount is called Snowflake.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The many mentions of Grey Angels crusading to cleanse the world of sin, which is exactly what starts to happen in The Dinosaur Knights.
    • Raguel's decision to go to Providence, Longeau's dying babbling of Fate Worse Than Death awaiting those who side with the Garden, and Violette's and Bogardius' talk of "higher mysteries". The Garden Council is in cahoots with a Gray Angel - the same one that started the crusade against the Garden in the first place.
    • Bogardius' deteriorating health. Odd silence in the north of Providence. Strange behaviour of people who do show up in the north. Can you say "zombie army"?
  • Genius Loci: Aphrodite, AKA Witness, is a spirit of the planet Paradise, and can influence its weather and climate as she pleases.
  • Genre Shift: The epilogue is written in form of a scene from a stage play.
  • Girl Posse: Melodía, as princess of Nuevaropa, is forced to have one, although she clearly doesn't relish it.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Aphrodite tells Karyl that while she could control every non-living aspect of Paradise, she's forbidden from influencing people, to the point that her healing his hand, once was the maximum of what she could do.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Karyl lets his militia brutally lynch the knight who's been leading raides on their lands, stating that the man is a criminal and as such shouldn't be treated honorably.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Melodía and Jaume, every time.
  • Got Volunteered: The first "recruits" Rob and Karyl get to train turn out to have been volunteered by their lords (that's despite Providence being supposedly egalitarian). Karyl manages to turn them into real volunteers.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The story uses a lot of Spanish for spice.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Pere, one of Jaume's male lovers, is jealous of Jaume's affection for Melodía. Jaume knows it, but doesn't think much of it.
  • Healing Hands: Aphrodite proves her claim of being a sorceress by healing Karyl's missing hand.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Bogadrius tries to rebel against Raguel when he realizes just how bad things are, but the latter promptly turns him into a Person Puppet.
  • Heel–Face Turn: While it's not very pronounced, over time Falk, against Bergdahl's wishes, choses to side with Jaume for the sake of everyone's survival. Not that Jaume knew they were a heel.
  • Heroic R.R.O.D.: Karyl, getting pounded by a furious Gray Angel and refusing to be carried around, reacts to being made a duke by falling flat on his face, and for a long time needs help just standing up.
  • He's Back: After Melodía manages to talk Karyl out of his dark thoughts and self-imposed seclusion, and he finally opens up to her, he manages to get his bearings back just in time to be The Cavalry to Jaume's forces.
  • Hidden Depths: Every member of Melodía's Girl Posse. In the end, she realizes with sadness that she's the only one among them who is shallow, although at this point, she might be selling herself a bit short.
    • Abigail is not just snarky and dismissive, but also a gifted schemer with abilities of someone born to be The Spymaster.
    • Llurdis rarely thinks before she speaks, but she's fiercely loyal and doesn't hesitate to literally walk in shit for her friends.
    • Lupe may be the resident Sir Swears-a-Lot and a cynic, but she does worry and helps Melodía when she needs it.
    • Fina is a crybaby, but also fiercely intelligent.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Montañasul's call to arms against the Garden of Beauty and Truth is based as fighting against heresy and rooting out those unfaithful to the Pope. Melodía probing quickly reveals that the real reason is that Garden speaks for greater equality of social classes and respect for peasantry, whereas Montañasul is infamous for the way he treats his serfs.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • When Karyl proposes his plan of ambushing the riders and striking at them from the dark, the Gardeners are appalled, stating that it's dishonorable and he should meet the enemy face-on, despite Providence's militia being severely under-trained and under-manned. Karyl lambasts them for this and reason prevails.
    • Upon hearing of Melodía's imprisonment and escape, Jaume's first instinct is to sneak out at night and run to find and save her, responsibilities be damned. It takes half of his warriors persuading him and almost literally dragging him off his saddle to convince him to stay.
  • Horse Of A Different Colour: Dinosaurs! Mostly hadrosauruses and deinonychuses, with occasional allosaurus and T-rex.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Inverted; while humans are human-sized, their mounts are often six metres tall.
  • Hypocrite: Violette, one of Garden's loudest preachest of pacifism and egalitarianism, really gets used to bossing Providencials around.
  • Human Shield: When outed, the inside man of Brokenhearts takes Violette hostage.
  • I Call It "Vera": Rob nicknamed his axe Wanda.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Borgardius begs Melodía to kill him, as he's only allowed freedom to speak.
  • Identity Amnesia: Karyl forgets large parts of who he is, retaining only some instincts of his previous persona. It comes back to him in time, though.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Melodía has learnt how to snap people out of Mind Control by reading old sagas and romances.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Uriel asks Raguel whether the other Angel fears that one day, their reactivation protocols wouldn't work and they'd die a true death. He himself clearly feels this way.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Karyl is crazy good with both bow and throwing darts - if he can see it, he'll hit it. At one points, he bemoans that he's thrown a dart at a man more than fifty metres away and hit a buttock instead of butt crack.
  • Innocently Insensitive: One evening the Gardeners, who base their philosophy on works of Jaume dels Flors, are openly praising the prince. Karyl, who's been killed by Jaume once, is visibly uncomfortable.
  • Internal Reveal: While the story makes no secret whatsoever of Karyl's and Melodía's fates, Jaume and the Emperor only learn about it late into book two.
  • Intro-Only Point of View: The prologue is narrated by an unnamed boy who witnesses an arrival of an "Angel", only to have his memories of the encounter removed.
  • Irish Travellers: Rob is member of Travellers, a group of this culture's expies.
  • Ironic Name:
    • Little Nell weights two tonnes, and is larger than the biggest draft horses.
    • Petit Jean (Little John) is the biggest man in his troop. Melodía notes that this was to be expected.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: The north of Providence is strangely silent and devoid of activity. Rob notes that while this seems to be better than the news of raids coming from all other regions of the land, it's still creepy and suggesting of something worse happenning there.
  • Jerkass Realization: When all of her ladies-in-waiting assist her in escaping the palace, Melodía notes with shame that she was a judgemental jerkass and likely the most shallow of all the girls.
  • Join or Die: Raguel's ultimatum to all of providence: join the horde, or die by the horde.
  • Jumped at the Call: When Karyl starts training the people of Providence, he's quick to get out of his shell, stop being a brooding, quiet person quick to lose himself in his own thoughts, and starts smiling again, clearly enjoying himself. Rob is downright astonished by how fast the change occurs once Karyl's given a purpose.
  • Karma Houdini: Falk gets away with raping Melodía because she only gets in contact with people who are able to punish him for it after he'd just covered himself in glory in a major battle, so his crimes would likely be forgiven if she tried reporting him at that time. So she remains silent and plots to destroy and/or kill him later.
  • Kick the Dog: If readers start to feel sorry for "Well Done, Son!" Guy Falk, his attempted rape of Melodía, and later conviction that she was tempting him, are enough to make him unlikeable again in some readers' eyes.
  • Kissing Cousins: Jaume and Melodía are both lovers and cousins. In Nuevaropa, this isn't anything out of ordinary.
  • Knighting: After the Final Battle of Knights, Felipe eagerly knights all the commanders of The Cavalry that rescued his men.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • The Angel from the prologue has a device that wipes out the witness' memory, leaving the kid confident he's been sleeping on the job. Seems to be Angel's tool of trade, as another one wipes away Melodía's memory of seeing him, making her think she drank something that made her black out.
    • Even after Karyl's identity and memories come back to him, he still doesn't remember the first three months after his second resurrection, only that he "woke up" already a wandering beggar.
  • Line in the Sand: After seeing that his Empire is turning dangerously deranged, Jaume tells his men that he's not forcing them to accompany him, but he's going to try to fix things and needs their help. Three Companions leave, while the rest remains.
  • Living Legend: Karyl seems to be one. He's known all over the continent as the best dinosaur commander of his era, his past is Shrouded in Myth with tons of songs about it, and his popularity is so great, nobles of Nuevaropa order his death so that he wouldn't endanger their status.
  • Long Lived: Even with Paradise year being 0.625 of Earth year, Paradisians are unusually long-lived - there are people who live to be 300 years old (187 Earth years), and a person hundred years old is capable of going toe-to-toe with forty-year-olders in duels.
  • Lost Technology: Implied when Jaume and Florian investigate strange ruins on their way. They manage to figure out that battle was fought there, but burn marks on the ground couldn't be made with any technology they know, and lightning doesn't strike in straight line either. Watchful reader could assume laser weaponry.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The main mounts used in warfare are hadrosauruses, who can produce powerful infrasounds, which are capable of crippling the people caught in the blast.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Bergdahl, Falk's (mother's) servant, manages to sway people of La Merced for Falk, undermine Jaume's position and keep his nominal master in check by careful rumour-mongering and playing on emotions.
  • Martial Pacifist: Underplayed with Karyl, who always prefers to solve matters by anything other than violence and avoids fight unless it's necessary, while being a mercenary commander. Discrepancy could be explained by difference in personalities of pre- and post-amnesia Karyl.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A question for the reader rather than the characters. On one hand, it'd be easy to see Aphrodite's actions and the Angel from the prologue as magic. On the other hand, there are indications that Paradise has been colonized by humans who later regressed technologically, so Aphrodite's "magic" that regrows Karyl's hand could be some sort of Clarke's Third Law-adhering tech.
  • Mayincatec: Nuevaropa rocks this style, both in climate and fashion, although warfare and politics are more similar to fourteenth-century Spain.
  • Missing Mom: Melodía's mom died in childbirth bearing Monsterrat.
    • How Shiraa views Karyl, (s)he is her mommy and (s)he is missing so she must find him/her. Because she's a good Allosaurus.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: At one point, Shiraa eats a fellow allosaurus, who was annoying her.
  • Mouth of Sauron: Violette becomes the herald for the leader of the horde, as he doesn't deign to speak to apes.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Violette's is a middle-aged woman in a relationship who tries to seduce barely-adult Melodía from the moment she lays her eyes on the girl.
  • Mugging the Monster: The Entertainers' Guild bravos who try to dissuade Karyl from playing in their city clearly didn't notice the part of his show where he throws daggers in the air and makes them land in a perfect line. Suffice to say, it ends badly for them.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Witness, whose self-professed job is to observe important events on Paradise. She's spotted first when Karyl comes back to life for the first time, then when the final battle of Knights is about to commence. She finally reveals herself as Paradise's Genius Loci.
  • Named Weapons: Jaume's famous sword is called Lady's Mirror, after the symbol of his patron deity.
  • Narcissist: Jaume is incredibly self-absorbed. He thinks nothing of Pere's quite powerful hatred of Melodía, thinking he shouldn't be worried. Meanwhile, he outright dismisses the possiblity that Melodía might have something to say about his romance with Pere, and that's despite the fact that she doesn't know a thing, and treats their courtship as simply political arrangement to let him continue having male lovers, despite Melodía's crush on him being painfully obvious. He doesn't tolerate ugliness in his elite army, picks lovers whenever he wishes and only his concern for his men and mounts saves him from being an absolute Jerkass. He gets better as the story goes on, though.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The hordelings are technically alive, but the general principle still applies.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: For their help in keeping the Providence army alive, Karyl and Rob are arrested by Providence people.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Justified, as the people of Paradise don't have a concept of zombie. Melodía and others come to call them "hordelings".
  • Offhand Backhand: When Karyl tries jumping on Raguel's back, the latter doesn't as much as glance behind to smash him into the ground, and only turns afterwards to finish Karyl off.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Gray Angels have apparently grown to hate humanity so much, they wish to wipe it out and restart everything on Paradise with a clean slate.
  • Oracular Urchin: People with connection to magic, such as the strange woman he meets on the battlefield and sorceress Aphrodite, seem to know awful lot about Karyl. At least in Aphrodite's case, she makes some effort to explain her knowledge away; Witness is just plain weird and, bizzarely, the same person.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Falk sees the conflict between the Empire and the horde as a battle between forces of order and discord.
  • Our Angels Are Different: There's seven of them, named after Archangels, and they might be robots. At any rate, they are sentient, giant and immortal, can send dreams and manipulate memories and are powerful enough that arrival of one is a cause for panic. They can also see in the dark and raise armies of technically-living zombies.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The current trend in Nuevaropa's court is to disbelieve in existence of the Creators and question faith, to the point that Rob and Melodía both freely admit to themselves that they don't believe. Of course, the prologue, as well as Aphrodite's powers, indicated that there is some truth behind the Creators.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Who expected this would turn into a zombie story with an angel as the big bad?
  • Overly Long Title: A Primer To Paradise For The Improvement Of Young Minds is a mouthful.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: During the battle against the Grey Angel Crusade, Falk notes that he's killed at least a hundred people so far, and that isn't even the most badass feat of heroism so far that day - that honor went to Jaume leading the Companions on a cavalry charge straight through the entire enemy army and out the other side. And both feats are later overshadowed by Karyl and Shiraa defeating Raquel.
  • People Puppets: Raguel's more willing supporters are still subject to his will and even if they change their mind, can only speak about it, and not act.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: Deconstructed with Providence, where the Gardeners have their stronghold. They're staunchly opposed to violence and consider diplomacy to be the bast way, but the problem is that they have neighbors who don't share their views or inhibitions, forcing them to abandon their pacifism just to survive.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted when Bergdahl and Falk discuss who else to use to get a leverage on the Emperor when Melodía proves inaccessible. When Bergdahl proposes using Montserrat, Falk is quick to say they're not pulling a ten-year-older into their schemes. A moment later he adds that that's because the Emperor would have their heads if something happened to her.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Tyrant's Guard, named after the T. Rex, who serve as bodyguards and palace police of the Emperor.
  • Rape as Drama: Falk rapes Melodia after his successful power play.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
    • When Jaume is given command of the army, he quickly starts to have problems with his generals letting their knights do all three for fun. Jaume comes down on them hard, winning no love from his men, but states that if this continues, the army's soon going to be at war with its own nation.
    • The army slips out of Jaume's control after conquering Terraroja, when they go against his orders and pillage and burn the castle, raping all women in it.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The problem with making a militant order composed of members of The Beautiful Elite: logistics.
      Sadly, he Empire's most elite band of warrior-artist-philosophers of beauty tended to attract precious few candidates with any gift for organizing things.
    • Trying to appeal to better nature of a man rejoicing in slaughtering peasants is hardly going to be successful.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Melodía's great-grandma is still going at almost three hundred. Theoretically possible for every Paradisian, although few get to live that long.
    • Witness claims to be some four hundred years old. Of course, being a Genius Loci of Paradise, she's somewhat older.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Raguel and Uriel, with the former being cheerful, energetic and fun, while the latter is more thoughtful and introspective. Interestingly, the former is nicknamed the "ice spirit" while the latter is called "the Fire" in inversion of usual tropes associated with those two elements.
  • Releasing from the Promise: When drawing the metaphorical Line in the Sand, Jaume states that whoever decides not to follow him will be absolved from all oaths and forgiven.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: A captured Brokenheart knight is more than happy to tell the Gardeners who the mole in their midst is, noting that the man is pretty much useless for him now.
  • Right Behind Me: On one of Imperial banquets, count Montañasul gives Melodía a long-winded tirade about the need to annihilate the religious sect of Garden of Truth and Beauty. Melodía, her patience running out, waits until he's finished and them points out that Jaume - on whose works the Garden based its doctrine - is sitting two sits away, and listening with rather disgruntled expression. Montañasul promptly falls silent.
  • Rule of Cool: How did all those dinosaurs from other eras end up together on one planet? Why did the clearly-once-advance world regress to medieval era? Can you actually train dinosaurs? Can you actually use them in battle? Doesn't matter - what matters is that this way, you can have medieval knights riding dinosaurs into battle.
  • Running Gag:
    • It seems like apart from Rob, who seems to have some sort of perfect pitch, every person in Nuevaropa is a Dreadful Musician - at least in his POVs.
    • One of the Companions, Will, who's always present but never seen speaking, is always referred to as Will Oakheart of Oakheart.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The Emperor mentions that he likes to repeat the many platitudes his subjects bestow on him on his old, toothless, blind pet T-rex, as according to him the creature would receive just as much respect as him, was it elected.
    • Karyl doesn't think much of his teenage achievements.
    Karyl: I've spent my teenage years selling my services to various masters. Well, Shiraa's services, anyway. She came with a caretaker as a bonus.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Several in Lords.
      • Melodía going to Providence to hide from Falk.
      • Karyl and Rob getting arrested by Providencials.
      • The Emperor revealing that his confessor was encouraging him to trust Falk.
      • And, last but not least, all of Raguel's and Uriel's conversation.
    • In Knights:
      • Aphrodite appointing Karyl her champion.
      • Melodía deciding to murder Falk whenever the opportunity arises.
      • Rob discovering that emperor's confessor is a Grey Angel.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: When Valerie is taken hostage, Karyl simply waits until the hostage taker stops moving before nailing him with a throwing dart.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Jaume's official title is the Prince of Flowers, reminescent of The Knight of Flowers of A Song of Ice and Fire. Both are also Agent Peacocks and have male lovers. The similarities are unsurprising when one finds out that Milán and GRRM are friends in real life.
    • When asked what he'd been doing, Raguel says "walking to and fro in the world, and going up and down in it." His companion even chastises him that "the joke was old before we were created"note 
    • To Shakespeare: When faced with the climatic battle of Knights, Rob exclaims "Once more unto the breach".
  • Sinister Minister: Emperor's confessor Jerónimo, who's so mysterious, Melodía's never seen him, and seems to run his own scheme in the palace. He's a Grey Angel.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: It's not Lupe if she doesn't swear at least twice every time she speaks.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Melodía is honestly smart and has wide military training, but is way, way too idealistic and used to having everything served to her on a silver platter.
  • Slave Mooks: The hordelings are brainwashed by Raguel into serving him.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: The main religious conflict of the novel, between the Garden of Beauty and Truth and Life-To-Come sect. The Gardeners believe that all things should be beautiful and life is there to appreciate arts and nature, whereas Life-To-Comers declare that pleasures of the flesh should be denied in life, as should basic hygiene, and so are pretty much always unwashed and smelling.
  • Son of an Ape: Raguel calls humans "apes".
  • Stealthy Colossus: Shiraa the allosaurus has stalking skills on par with Solid Snake - though granted, she is a predator that relies mostly on surprise to hunt.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: T. rex, hadrosaurs, Troodon, raptors (namely Velociraptor and Deinonychus), Ankylosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, and other stars are prominent, although the story sometimes makes use of less famous dinosaurs such as Centrosaurus and Therizinosaurus.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: Some Gardeners, most vocally Sister Violette, oppose fighting against invaders bearing down on them, stating that "[they] can't abandon their principles just because they became inconvenient", even though the likely result is getting murderered, sold to slavery, raped or any combination of those.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Pope Pío dies at the climax of his impassioned sermon calling for a crusade against Providence, to surprise of all listeners.
  • Technically Living Zombie: The hordelings are humans mind-controlled by Raguel into acting like "fast zombies", complete with eating people and being consumed by rage.
  • That Man Is Dead: Karyl takes to telling this to people after his Identity Amnesia, as he doesn't feel much connection to the man he used to be, regardless of what others feel.
  • The Bard: Rob composes songs when not handling dinosaurs, and makes some money playing in bars.
  • The Champion: Aphrodite decides that Karyl will be her champion, though she refuses to explain why and against what.
  • The Church: The Creators have their own Church, which has quite some political power despite many people professing agnosticism.
    • More dangerous than even the church is the fact that there is a "cult" within the church that ends up causing a lot of problems throughout the series. They insist that, rather than taking the word of the gods at face value, men should look for hidden meaning behind those words instead. This is in spite of the fact that these words were handed down in the same language as spoken by the people, and were intended to have no possible means of severe misinterpretation, to the point that the gods stated that there was no wrong interpretation of their words. This even includes an explanation for basic hygiene and the exact consequences for ignoring those rules. The cult argues that, instead of following those rules, people are supposed to act in the exact opposite way. One of the main ways you can tell if someone belongs to this cult is the fact that they have poor hygiene.
  • The Corrupter: Bergdahl for Falk. Whenever Falk has bouts of conscience or hesitates to Kick the Dog, Bergdahl pushes him further down the slippery slope.
  • The Coup: Falk's scheme is to take over the Tyrant's Guard and use it to elliminate any other person with any infulence over the Emperor, making him the only power behind the throne.
  • The Cynic: Abi is very realistic of the world around her, sees right through court games and has no qualms playing Daddy's Girl to get what she wants. She's also the one to tell Fina that with the world they live in, noblemen branding and whipping slaves is nothing out of ordinary.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Falk's mother. The mere suggestion that she may be arriving on the scene of events is enough to make usually-snarky Bergdahl admit that he's trembling in fear.
    • Karyl has a reputation for never losing (it's not completely correct), making most of Nuevaropa shiver with terror whenever he arrives on battlefield.
  • The Empire: Nuevaropa has a lot of this vibe, complete with Deadly Decadent Court and many nobles treating peasants like trash.
  • The End... Or Is It?: As everybody celebrates victory over Raguel's horde, Aphrodite pops in and tells Karyl that this was only first of seven Omnicidal Maniacs likely hell-bent on Empire's destruction.
  • The Fair Folk: Paradise is full of stories about Fae, and while most dismiss them as children stories, Karyl does get to meet a strange being who hits all the marks of a Fae.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Jaume has shades of this. He's concerned with his and Companions' appearance as much - if not more - as he is with his actual duties as cavalry commander.
  • The Fundamentalist: People of Life-To-Come sect are most fundamental and ascetic of all Church's orders, to the point of denying themselves even pleasures approved by the Creators, calling them metaphorical.
  • The Hedonist: The religious sect Garden of Beauty and Truth believes that the purpose of the world is pleasure, arts and appreciation of beauty, and spend most of their time with one of those.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Rob, Dinosaur Master extraordinaire, is positively giddy at the chance of watching Karyl in combat, even though Bogomirskiy fights for the opposite side. Later, he stays in Providence even though he'd rather be away, because of his self-admitted hero worship of Karyl.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Falk is presented as the villain of the Palace of the Fireflies plot, but it's quickly shown that he's played like an instrument by his servant, Bergdahl, who actually works for Falk's mother.
    • In the end, it turns out Raguel has been manipulating events quite literally from the start.
  • The Social Expert: When faced with unwilling recruits, Karyl manages to turn them around by playing on their emotions and expectations, and using his erstwhile reputation to pull them over.
  • The Speechless: Karyl pretends to be mute when in Porto Fea, mostly to dissuade queries into his past.
  • The Pig Pen:
    • Montserrat is said to be unable to walk five metres without making herself messy.
    • The sect Life-To-Come claims that Creators' order to remain clean is referring to the afterlife, so they make a point of not bathing.
  • The Mole: One of Gardeners in the Council, and Karyl's loudest opponent, is an agent of Brokenheart knights.
  • The Reveal:
    • Violette and Bogardius are allied to - or enthralled by - a Gray Angel, and that the "Ascension" in ranks of Gardeners involves accepting his guidance.
    • Aphrodite is a guardian spirit of Paradise, and the same person as the Witness.
    • "Father Jerónimo", Emperor's confessor and confidant, is a Grey Angel.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: The story mostly jumps between Rob and Melodía, only sometimes jumping to Jaume, Falk or Shiraa.
  • Three-Way Sex: Melodía gets into a threesome with Violette and Bogardius.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Melodía goes from an intelligent, but hopelessly naive and pampered princess to a badass light cavalry sergeant over the course of Dinosaur Knights.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: What Karyl and Rob are hired to do; the religious group Aphrodite's friends with are Technical Pacifists, but with accusations of heresy bearing down on them, they need someone to teach them how to defend themselves.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: The Emperor's list of titles is so long, it takes solid ten minutes for the priestess leading the ceremony to state them all. He finds it immensely funny.
  • Turbulent Priest: A villainous example. Father Tavares, assinged to Jaume's army as Papal Legate (the man in charge of "spiritual health" of the army) is trying to undermine Jaume's command from the start, and encourages his men to Rape, Pillage, and Burn.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: Aphrodite and Witness are the same being performing different jobs.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Several pop up, but surprisingly, author refrains from using them too much in favour of other dinosaurs. Their impact on the world is felt, though - the Emperor's personal guard is named the Tyrants after in-universe name for them.
  • Undead Child: Twelve-yeard-olds are seen killing people.
  • Unknown Rival: Falk to Jaume. Falk can't help but compare himself to Comte dels Flors and keeps on being frustrated at not matching up, while Jaume has no idea about it and simply regards Falk as a co-worker.
  • The Unseen: A great many people in the Emperor's court notice that nobody in the court other than the Emperor himself has knowingly met Fray Jeronimo, the Emperor's confessor. This is because he's a Grey Angel.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Falk works hard to make himself one - he's popular, his story of Heel–Face Turn is touching, and his views make him popular with many young and hot-headed knights. He's also plotting against the Emperor, but doesn't say that out loud.
  • Walking Spoiler: Raguel and Uriel, two Grey Angels from the epilogue.
  • War Is Hell: The story doesn't shy away from the sights of gritty combat, the cost in men and dinosaurs, the terror of combat or the horrid images of post-battle lands full of dead bodies.
  • Warrior Poet:
    • Jaume, apart from being one of Empire's top cavalry commanders, is also a famous poet.
    • Karyl has surprising amounts of philosophy hiding in him, to Rob's surprise.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In his head, Falk has something of a masochistic relationship with his mother. He despises her, but craves her approval; he's the second-best swordsman in the Empire, but it doesn't matter to him until she acknowledges it; he wants her to approve of him and acknowledge his status, but knows that she never will; he struggles nevertheless.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The epilogue to Lords. Two Grey Angels are about and they manipulated the news of their arival to have the biggest impact on people at the best time. The other Angels are fighting a war with something called the Anomalies which is beginning to be active on Paradise. One of the Angels is walking the world completely unseen.
    • The last chapter of part 3 of Knights, where Melodía learns that Raguel is raising a full-blown zombie apocalypse.
    • The epilogue to Knights has a trifecta. Aphrodite reveals herself to be the Witness and Paradise's genius loci, and appoints Karyl her champion. Falk's oft-talked about, dreaded mother is coming to La Merced to take active part in politics - just as Falk was getting independent. And, last but not least, Rob discovers that Emperor's confessor and the person influencing his decisions the most is a Grey Angel.
  • Wham Line: The last lines of Knights:
    [Fray Jerónimo] was, quite unmistakably, a Grey Angel.
  • Who Needs Enemies?: Melodía, in mistaken belief that Karyl is no different from Falk, starts to undermine him upon her arrival in Providence, while Karyl, still hung on Melodía's fiance betraying him, ignores her aggresively, leading to a tragedy.
  • Xenofiction: Sections written from Shiraa's point of view are decidedly not human, both in the way Shiraa perceives and describes the world around her. She "sees" the world by sounds rather than sights, follows her instincts and considers Karyl to be her mother, among others.
  • X Meets Y: The first book is taglined by George R.R. Martin's statement "It's like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Several princesses, mostly Llurdis, keep on telling Melodía that the reason for her cranky behaviour is that she doesn't get nearly enough sex, to Melodía's annoyance.
  • Zerg Rush: The horde infantry's one and only tactic is to run at the enemy without order and often without weapons, screaming at top of their lungs and tearing the enemy to shreds. Considering they vastly outnumber the Imperial forces, don't feel pain and never tire, but lack higher brain functions, it's likely the only viable method available to them.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/TheDinosaurLords