Posts Tagged ‘temeraire series’

Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

This is the third book in the Temeraire series, and probably my least favourite so far. It’s still very good, though, and I still recommend the series.

No sooner has their adventure in China finished when Laurence and Temeraire receive orders to go to Istanbul and carry three dragon eggs, one of which is fairly close to hatching, back to England. Needless to say this doesn’t go entirely smoothly, and they spend a lot of time caught up in the Prussian conflict against Napoleon which, again, isn’t all that successful.

This book is a bit more disjointed than the others, and there’s a point where I really dislike Laurence. I’d more or less forgiven him by the end though. I still love Temeraire, and there’s one intriguing new character I think might crop up again and one delightful one. It gives a new perspective on the war in comparison to the first book, one that gives a growing sense of frustration and hopelessness, which is interesting.

Another very good read, although I’m holding off on book 4 because a) I have a huge pile of library books to get through, and b) I don’t want to run out of Temeraire books too soon.

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Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

This is the second book in the Temeraire series, set in an alternative version of the Napoleonic War in which England has an Air Corps consisting of fighting dragons. Temeraire is one such dragon, and the one I completely fell in love with in the first book. Thank to the author I’m genuinely quite upset that dragons don’t really exist and I can’t ever have one 😉

I loved this book almost as much as the first. I say ‘almost’ not because it isn’t as good but because I was so excited at discovering a new series I knew I’d love when I read Temeraire, and as much as I loved this one it was less of a surprise if that makes sense. So no fault of the author’s there, the book is still fabulous and Temeraire is just as awesome. Possibly more so, because he can now speak three languages. There were also a few very minor editing quibbles I had which jarred a bit because I really can’t fault the rest of it. These are so minor, however, that it would be churlish to focus on them.

On to the good stuff: in this installment Temeraire and Captain Laurence must travel to China. China is not at all happy that a Celestial is in active service, as they are only intended to have royal companions, and demand his return. Neither Temeraire nor Laurence are at all happy with this and the journey is made in the hope that they won’t be separated. It’s a long and arduous journey, too far to fly and so made on an enormous dragon-transporting ship. The journey makes up most of the book, and just when you think it’s nearly over there’s the stay in China itself.

There’s so much packed into this book that again I had real problems putting it down. There are sea battles, sumptuous blankets, conspiracies, assassination attempts, gorgeous descriptions of China, meeting Temeraire’s family and an emperor, ghostly goings on, Christmas, Chinese New Year, a bit of not-so-friendly rivalry, a quite nasty skirmish on land and Temeraire’s growing realisation that, actually, his treatment in England isn’t all that great. It’s also laugh-out-loud funny  in places, and again managed to make me shed a tear (although admittedly I am soft beyond belief).

I definitely recommend this series and will be rushing out for the next one as soon as I can. Only being in a hotel in the middle of nowhere for the last few days has delayed me.

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

I fell utterly in love with this book and will definitely be buying the rest of the series.

I’ve been looking at the series in the fantasy section for a while; it’s not a genre I’m hugely familiar with so, despite being attracted to the cover art (the basis for an alarming number of my book choices) I hadn’t bought it but decided to go for it, and I’m really bad I did.

The book is set during the Napoleonic War in an alternate version of history in which, along with the usual armed forces, there is also the Air Corps which uses dragons. They dragons are intelligent to varying degrees and can talk. There is no magic or other fantasy in the book so it all fits very well and you could almost imagine that dragons really did exist. It starts with a Navy captain taking possession of a French ship along with its cargo which happens to be a dragon egg. With dismay the crew realise it’s about to hatch – dismay because dragons will only imprint on one person who then has to remain as their handler, a role that pretty much giving up any life outside the force and is generally met with disdain by the rest of society. When the dragon hatches it imprints on the Captain (who names it Temeraire), and this first book in the series mostly tells the story of Laurence and Temeraire adjusting to their new lives.

I grinned almost the whole time I was reading, apart from one section that made me cry, and I defy anyone to get through the book without wishing for a talking dragon. I’m giving it 5 out of 5 despite the fact that it doesn’t have the same depth as, say, This Thing of Darkness. It’s a reasonably short and easy read but hugely enjoyable.