According to Wikipedia, Asimov considered this his worst novel. I can see why. It's not aged particularly well (which isn't his fault, of course). While the story itself has its moments, two things really lowered my evaluation. First, the casual sexism on display is really hard to ignore - there's one woman in the whole book and she exists only to provide a love interest for our hero. Second, the ending is a complete howler. To be fair, it wasn't Asimov's idea, but it's still his name on the book, so he gets the blame. Thankfully, he'd go on to do much better.
This was the first novel Scalzi wrote, initially putting it up for free on the web. It's got a great premise and presents our hero agent with a conundrum:how to make foul smelling gelatinous aliens "sell" to humanity for first contact. It's such a conundrum, in fact, that I suspect Scalzi realized he didn't have a good answer. The last quarter of the book is preposterous and sells the premise short. But, getting to that part is pretty fun and there's lots of humor going 'round. Not a masterpiece by any means, but well worth a read/listen.
Although I can't say this wasn't an enjoyable read/listen, I was disappointed that Novik didn't do more with a very interesting premise. Put simply, the dragons are just too easy to deal with. They roll out of the egg able to speak with those around them, in the King's English (even if sired in China and given to the French!). For all their bulk and the fear that the non-aviators have of them, the fact is my girlfriend's cats are more dangerous and unpredictable. Some seeds are sown for the idea that huge, sentient beasts maybe shouldn't be treated like cattle, but it doesn't go very far in this book.
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