This series starts a little slow, with a lot of training and social interaction. But the premise rocks, and Will Lawrence, with all his stiff pride in the face of all the haphazard folks around him, is a hero to savor. I'm completely addicted.
The Temeraire series is one of my absolute favorites, but I find myself disappointed with Simon Vance as the narrator. It's not the narration that is amiss; rather, it is the dialogue that seems lacking, from the somewhat over-the-top French accents to the tentative dragon voices and feeble-sounding female voices. The story itself is compelling enough to try to make up for it, however.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (historical fantasy) - The premise of this book sounded good, but I almost stopped listening multiple times because I couldn't get into it. Britain's war with Napolean is raging, but in this story both sides possess dragons which add an aerial component to the battles. The dragons are intelligent (they talk) and loving. The main character in this book is present at the hatching of a very rare dragon which he eventually comes to possess and name Temeraire. Much of the book is about the care, feeding and training of Temeraire as he grows from a hatchling into a very powerful adult dragon.
The most interesting parts are the battles themselves but, being an animal lover, they made me cringe. The dragons drop bombs on enemy ships but they also claw and rip at enemy dragons with their talons, and once I became "acquainted" with the dragons I didn't like these scenes. They probably won't offend most people, but I'm a sissy when it comes to animals and pain. Anyway, the book gets decent by the end, and there is an epilogue where they discuss the characteristics of different breeds of dragons which is pretty interesting.
PERFORMANCE - Simon Vance does a great job with multiple voices and accents. Temeraire sounded kind of robotic, but then I wouldn't know what to expect from a talking dragon.
OVERALL (actual rating 2.5) - I don't recommend this book for anyone. The plot is too simplistic to be engaging for adults. Even though there are talking dragons, the presentation of the book doesn't seem to be meant for children and I think they'd find it boring. There is no profanity, sex or particularly graphic violence. It is Book 1 of a series but I think it can stand alone, and I'm definitely not planning to hear Book 2.
Simon Vance is fast becoming a favorite storyteller, even though I wasn't totally satisfied with how he portrayed the dragon, Temeraire. But maybe as he grows into an adult, his voice will deepen —the hatchling, not Simon.
Alternative history of Britain's battles with Boney. Based in history, but not. A fun story, mixing Napoleonic wars with endearing but deadly dragons, and with Regency-era British society. I enjoyed it quite a lot. Fast paced and easy to follow. I'd give the story 3.75 or 4 stars, and the narration a bit more.
One quibble is that the dragons are too much like humans, but with wings. They didn't feel like something "other" to me. Another quibble is with the "dreaded" training camp in Scotland: for all the foreshadowing, it fell fairly flat.
As a reader (listener), I was privileged to discover what kind of dragon Temeraire would become and what he would eventually be able to do. He's a very rare breed — virtually unknown in England — so this was a little mystery unwinding across the book. No info-dump poured down upon my head in the first chapter. Thank you.
Cool transport battle scene. (Shocking winds at the white cliffs of Dover.)
Sweet bonding between Temeraire the dragon and Captain Will Laurence. I loved these two lead characters, as well as poor, neglected Levitus. I wanted Captain Rankin to lose his seat. At 1000 feet.
Nice blend of action scenes and quiet bonding times between dragon and man. Several secondary characters added nicely to the mix.
This book won several awards and it was Novik's first science-fiction fantasy. Celestial!
It's even funny sometimes, but never slapstick.
I may read the entire series. Or listen to it.
By the way, there's reference to complicit adult sex. Not explicit.
Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
I had a great time reading this story. It was fun, interesting and overall a feel good time in a mystical, parallel universe. To really get into this adventure, you must love dragons, if not it may be a littler underwhelming because there are not many other fantastical portions. The interaction between the Captain and Temeraire, a dragon that chose him, is heartwarming and at times quite funny. This is a great book for all ages and I look forward to the rest of the series.
I liked this book a lot. It's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it is wonderful light listening. Simon Vance is excellent - he is perfect for this genre and setting.
Make no mistake, this is not Bernard Cornwell or Patrick O'Brien if you like historical military fiction, it isn't Glamour and Glass if you like period stuff, and neither is it particularly epic fantasy. It's light reading fantastical historical fiction with the period elements only providing a light dusting of setting, and if that is what you are after I don't think you can go wrong here.
In my case It was exactly what I needed as I have heavier and "better" books in my queue, but no surplus to spend on them. Simon Vance is a good reader in this case, and I just want to curl up in bed and listen in the same way I'd read a good book if I had the energy and could keep my eyes open.
If you want a book without a single, not even one, word approaching a curse (even though the hero is a former sea captain), no real blood or gore, without any sex, not even any romance, and without much character development, then this is the book for you. Not that I think sex, romance and cursing are required in a good book. But something is missing here that any of those elements might have added to the story.
The writing is good, the plot has a lot to offer. But the pace and the characters just aren't believable, even if you do believe in dragons. From the beginning, things are just too easy for William and Temeraire. Their bonding, which goes off without a hint of tension, sets the tone. When they go flying, you never feel the cold air, or the altitude, or the soaring. William seems to wear his sea captain's uniform when he flies without any mention of the change in temperature. But I guess what seemed off to me was that a rugged sea captain would call his male dragon "my dear" throughout the book. I wanted a little salty talk. The author never found her male voice, for either the male characters or the dragons.
Simon Vance, as always, does an excellent job. I particularly like his dragon voices.
The story is going nowhere and the characters are flat as paper. Yawn.
No, but definitely from other books by the same author.
He is a great narrator, with a beautiful voice and good voices for each character.
I don't think that I would buy another book by Naomi Novik or do I see myself listening to another book read by Simon Vance. He did not make the book come alive like many other readers I have listened to. A good reader can make a poor book more interesting. I am about half way through this book and don't know if I will be able to finish it. If I could I would return it.
Since I don't know if I can finish this book I think that it is safe to say that I will never buy another book by Naomi Novik. I honestly regret getting this book.
The Reader does not bring the book to life, it seems like it is a chore for him to read it.