I'm trying to take the advice of some people who have critiqued my book, which features dinosaurs as part of the animal kingdom. They want the animals to be an integral part of the book (but in the early drafts they are fixtures that stand out), and I'm not sure how to do it. Any advice?
Here's the situation: it's a far future Earth, where magic has replaced advanced technology (think Renaissance-level). Earth had been declining, dying, and succumbing to war. Then these supernatural creatures called Founders give it a total makeover -- new continents, new plants and animals, etc. And that includes dinosaurs being brought back to life (on a side note, it's because a child asked the supernatural creatures to put dinos in this new world, but that's NOT important to the overall narrative). Thousands of years later, they are part of the ecosystem and taken for granted, like horses or snakes or elephants. And I have some good ideas for integrating them into the storyline, thematic importance, and fleshing out the world I'm building.
The problem is that because they're dinosaurs, some people might find it jarring and think I stuck them in for the "cool" factor. Actually, they're there to help make the world a bit more original. There are dragons, as well, but just having dragons would be cliche, and just dinos would look too much like Jim Gurney's Dinotopia (great book, by the way). So, I'm trying to give the dinosaurs a good reason to be there and actually fulfill their original purpose of giving the world a fresher flavor, and not look like a fanboy shoving everything and the kitchen sink into his niche novel.
If anyone had thoughts or advice, I would deeply appreciate it. Thanks for your time.