December 14, 2009
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik (Book 2 of Temeraire series)
Throne of Jade begins with Capt. Will Laurence being informed by his superiors of a diplomatic problem. Since Temeraire’s egg was acquired by the capture of a French vessel, and the egg was a gift from the Chinese, they now want Temeraire back! After some negotiation, it’s decided that Laurence will accompany Temeraire on a voyage back to China and they’ll figure out what to do there.
Some have complained that the sea voyage that takes a good chunk of the book is rather slow, and it can be at times. But I found the culture clashes between the British and the Chinese to be very interesting.
Upon arrival in China they discover the very different way dragons are treated there. The Chinese were the first to tame & breed dragons, and so they are much more common there than in the west. Thus, their roles are not limited to the military. I think the best part of this book was watching Temeraire mature & grow as a character as he begins questioning the status of dragons. Novik brings up many thought-provoking moral and cultural issues. It seemed like it took me most of August to get through this book, but it was worth it!
July 9, 2008
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (Book 1 of Temeraire series)
Captain Will Laurence doesn’t realize what he’s getting into when he and his crew come across a dragon’s egg on a captured French ship. But before he knows it, he becomes the master (or partner?) of Temeraire, a charming and inquisitive dragon. In his world, dragons and their riders serve in the Aerial Corps, battling other nations’ reptilian forces.
The first third or so of the book is concerned with the training of Temeraire and Laurence, so it takes a while to get into the action. I found the training to be interesting, however as it further explains the logistics of draconian battle and Laurence, a proper British gentleman finds himself rather shocked by the social mores of the dragon riders. So military history buffs, be patient and you’ll see our heroes match their wits and strength with the wiles of Napoleon’s cronies.
Cheryl at Loose Ends