Tag Archives: Temeraire

Book Review: Black Powder War (Temeraire #3) by Naomi Novik

5 Apr

BlackPowderWarBlack Powder War picks up where Throne of Jade left off–in China, in the aftermath of the death of Prince Yongxing. As Temeraire and his crew are waiting for favorable winds to carry them home, orders arrive by a curious source to head at once to Istanbul where they are to pick up three valuable dragon eggs purchased by England. After a hasty and dangerous adventure across continents, they arrive in Istanbul to find the British Ambassador is dead and the authorities are none too eager to hand over what is rightfully the property of the British. To top it all, one of the eggs is close to hatching, and the crew must act before it is too late.

I took a bit of a break from Temeraire because to be honest, I wasn’t hugely impressed with the second book. My husband insisted it gets better, though, so for lack of other reading material, I picked up book three and I’m so glad I did! I liked this one even more than the first — same brilliant writing style, same wonderfully drawn characters (plus some new faces), and an even more interesting plot is a recipe for a book that will be thoroughly devoured by anyone who loves dragons as much as I do.

What entertains me most about these books is the diverse personalities of the dragons, of course, which I think is what got me down about Throne of Jade — for most of the book we only see Temeraire, and then some stuffy Chinese dragons who aren’t nearly as interesting as their British counterparts. In Black Powder War, we get to meet some ferals for the first time, plus the introduction of a certain fiery dragon who I cannot WAIT to read more about.

Plus, this story was a lot more fast-paced. The journey from China to Istanbul is much quicker and more full of adventure than the ship journey to China from England. And once they get there, there’s all sorts of covert operations they have to get up to–sneaking into harems and all that–and then that’s not the end of it; stealing across the border, they are further delayed, and you can sense the urgency of getting these eggs home in time.

I can’t wait to delve into the next installment. If you haven’t already checked Temeraire out, I suggest you do so!

Book Review: Throne of Jade (Temeraire #2) by Naomi Novik

25 Jan

Throne of JadeWhen Temeraire is summoned to China to help with trade negotiations there, Captain Laurence naturally goes with him. But as the long journey ensues, it becomes clear that Laurence is not the first choice of the Chinese. Threats and assassination attempts, hidden behind a veil of polite ceremony, make Laurence all the more convinced that he and Temeraire need to return home. However, dragons are treated much differently in China than they are in England, and Temeraire might want to stay…

I’ll be honest, I didn’t like this book nearly as much as the first. The writing was as perfectly wonderful as it was before, and I loved the interaction between Temeraire and Laurence and watching their relationship unfold, and I felt immersed in the Napoleonic era, but the plot just didn’t do it for me.

The beginning felt promising: we’re going to China! Except it takes practically a year to get to China, and boy does the book let you know it. China didn’t actually show up until the last third of the book, and so the time spent there was rushed. I would have much rather skipped a lot of time at sea, which bored me a bit anyway, and spent more time discovering things in China. It was so interesting, the differences in the treatment of dragons, and I would have loved to explore those differences more in-depth, with more interactions with these other dragons.

That said, it’s not a bad read and I’m told the remaining books are just as brilliant as the first, so I’ll be continuing the series at some point soon!

Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik

29 Nov

Temeraire1The Napoleonic Wars are in full swing, with a twist: warriors on valiant dragons patrol the skies, engaging in aerial battles that could determine the outcome of the war. Captain Laurence of the Reliant, one of the ships of the British Royal Navy, never expected the direction his life would take after capturing a French vessel. On board was a dragon egg, and it was ready to hatch. Laurence manages to harness the dragon, which he names Temeraire, and together they must train to fight against the French troops. But training isn’t easy when Napoleon will do anything to make sure his dragon egg returns to him–even if it’s already hatched!

I had seen this book (and the rest of the series) around for several years and never thought to read it because it was an “adult book” and I tend to prefer YA for its typically quick and to-the-point style. But my husband started reading this series shortly before we left for Europe and raved about it, so I thought I’d give it a go and I wasn’t disappointed. Honestly, I’m surprised more of my friends haven’t read this and I highly recommend that they do! First of all, Napoleonic Wars with dragons? Yes, please.

The book does contain quite a bit of history and I feel like the voice was spot-on for the time period. The reader is immersed in the life of the very respectable Captain Laurence and his views will likely make you chuckle from time-to-time with how much he stands on ceremony. The battles are a mix of real and imagined (I mean, some of them kind of have to be–dragons and all that!).

Loved how different areas of the world had different breeds of dragons. Temeraire was easily my favorite character. Dragons in this world can speak straight out of the shell, but that doesn’t mean they have all the answers. Temeraire is a hugely intelligent dragon with the curiosity of a cat, and while some of the topics he chooses to question are rather deep or technical–mathematics, why the sea is not owned by man but land is–others become downright hysterical when posed to upright Laurence. After all, why DO men enjoy whores?

Temeraire and Laurence are explored most thoroughly in this first book, with a wide cast of characters circling around them who I hope are developed more in subsequent books. I’m particularly intrigued by Catherine and the Rolands (because yes, women can ride dragons, too!). I will admit that I was a bit bored by the battle scenes, not because they weren’t well-written, but because that’s my reading style–I love character interaction, not necessarily action. My husband LOVED the battle scenes because that’s what he enjoys. Either way, the battle scenes don’t make up the bulk of the book and it was still thoroughly enjoyable to me. This was a really excellent start to a series and I can’t wait to read the rest. Cal assures me that each one is just as good as the last! Highly recommend to all who enjoy fantasy, and particularly to Dragonriders of Pern fans as there were some similarities.

Did this book catch your interest? Check it out here!

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