This book turned out to be exactly what I expected: a well-written, deeply imagined Napoleonic world that explores the what-if of dragons serving as an air force in the time of Nelson's navy.
That said, this book was not quite what I hoped for: something that would offer surprises beyond its clever premise. Novik writes with impressive economy, but it too often felt to me as if, knowing she had a winner of an idea, she stretched it out too thin. In other words, the plot moves remarkably slowly -- not in itself a bad thing -- as if it's trying to beguile you into sitting down for the second, third, fourth, and who knows how many subsequent volumes of the series. I enjoyed it, but I'm not hooked enough to sign up for another ride.
Currently a local truck driver who has hours to listen to my audio books. I am hooked, some of my fellow drivers enjoy them also
I enjoyed this story line and it had a few good twist for that period in history
None that combine the story line and action with the cast of characters
What can I say Mr Vance is a true professional reader who has many talents that make the
listener enjoy the books he reads
War on the land sea and air
Look forward to reading the others in this series
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.
Overall, fascinating story and concept but occasionally a bit of a stretch in the credibility category. However, the relationship between the dragon, Temeraire, and the main character, was endearing. It is a good clean story. I like a good fantasy or science fiction as much as the next, but the apparent load capacity of these dragons including armor and personnel doesn't quite work but this is a very much a minor point. The narration is very well done and adds tremendously to the quality of the story. Simon Vance is fantastic as always.
The alternative history dealing with the French and British battles during Napoleon's reign is interesting and provides an interesting back drop for the dragons, which are the equivalent of the army air corp during WW I.
I enjoyed the story very much but am unsure I will work through the entire series. I do recommend the book, if not the series. All the dragons have unique personalities which makes them more, well, human.
The print version is better than the audio version but the audio is still an enjoyable listen. The story is terrific and I enjoyed all the characters. Some reviewers find them, Laurence in particular, to be one dimensional. I can't disagree but I don't really find that a flaw in a book of this type.
Unfortunately the performance of this book is not good. The story itself is wonderful and Simon Vance does a great job with the human characters but the voice he uses for Temeraire is dreadful. In the book the dragon is youthful, intelligent, lively and outgoing. Vance reads him in a flat, monotonous voice with no character. The situation is not helped by the weird accent he adopts for the dragon.
I am not sure I will continue with the audio versions of these books as I find the voice for Temeraire to be so awful as to be distracting but that is the only flaw I have, so if you are not bothered by it then by all means purchase them all. The stories are great and with the exception of the dragon voice so is the performance.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!
I cannot fault Simon Vance's narration, for he is as eloquent as ever, and I consistently give him high marks. As for the story itself, this came highly recommended to me, and I can't imagine why at this point.
The best way I can describe this book is character-driven. I have no problem whatsoever with character development; indeed, I demand it. But there must also be a plot. You'd think that the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars would help, and maybe I just didn't give it enough time to fully mature, but "character-driven" is typically code for "no plot." This book fits that bill.
What you do get within is the highly-structured character of a British naval officer coping with his new life as an "aviator" in the dragon corps. What passes for political intrigue is the kind of high school "new outsider vs. the established popular kids" mentality and such hard-pressed questions like "should my dragon wear a harness?" or "should I wash my dragon after he eats?" or "should I read to my dragon since he can't hold books?" Good character development and detail, yes, but... yawn.
So what did I expect? I expected the complexities and intensity of the Napoleonic Wars, and all of the political intrigue that implies. World building means nothing if the war seems so far away and nearly irrelevant to the story. I expected epic battles on dragonback that go far beyond a single from-above strafing attack in a training session making the rider indignant. Looking ahead, as near as I can tell, nothing happens until book 3, and beyond that the story deals with things like dragon disease outbreaks and such. Again, yawn. I'm looking for dragons who are Alexander-styled masterminds when they're not out smashing things into mist and pulp, and maybe I'd get that if I kept going, but based on past experience with similar titles, I'm just not seeing it here beyond signs and portents of things that are promised to come and probably won't. C'est la vie, at least I gave it a shot.
Yes. I ended up buying the next two books in this series and I love them. The author does a great job, very enjoyable, and the reader has just the right tone.
I liked best the relationships between the Lawrence and Temeraire, but also between all the characters.
He does all the voices, but the voice of the 2 lead characters are especially right on target.
Yes, but I haven't the time to hear it all at once.
I've highly reccomended it to others.
I love fantasy but this is better than that - more real than made up and very tender in the midst of a gutsy, sometimes violent historical fiction-based story. Can't recommend it highly enough.
Certainly. The writing is superb and the story intriguing. It is the perfect length for a book of this style, and after I finish the series I am sure that I will revisit this first book to remember the endearing and occasionally comical developement of the relationship between Dragon and Aviator. Naomi Novik is the master when it comes to writing about Dragons.