Naomi Novik's beloved Temeraire series, a brilliant combination of fantasy and history that reimagines the Napoleonic wars as fought with the aid of intelligent dragons, is a 21st-century classic. From the first volume, His Majesty's Dragon, listeners have been entranced by the globe-spanning adventures of the resolute Capt. William Laurence and his brave but impulsive dragon, Temeraire. Now, in Blood of Tyrants, the penultimate volume of the series, Novik is at the very height of her powers as she brings her story to its widest, most colorful canvas yet.
Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England's already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark - a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead.
For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire - along with some unexpected allies and old friends - will face their ultimate challenge...and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.
©2013 Temeraire, LLC (P)2013 Tantor
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
Bottom line: If you have come this far in the Temeraire series, you will definitely want to grab Blood of Tyrants and you will enjoy much of it. This series is one that must be read in order and if you haven't started it, I recommend it as wonderful alternate history fantasy - start with His Majesty's Dragon.
This is not the best book in the series - actually, I'd say it is the weakest. But if you have gotten to book 8, you have probably come to love these characters as I have and spending time with them again is enormous fun in spite of a rather frantic inconclusive plot line for this edition. Laurence's amnesia that begins the book is silly, but does serve as a reminder not only of past events in the series (catching us up for the home stretch I guess) as Laurence slowly recovers, but also calls up one of the central elements that makes this series truly grand. The walk down memory lane recalls the moral/ethical development of both Temeraire who started his life as a blank slate and Laurence who started the series with a moral code externally dictated by his station, government, and culture. Watching Temeraire and Laurence both grow in the development of personal conscience and understanding of the the other's perspective has been a delight and has made this series special in the world of fantasy. (In addition to having the best dragons since Pern!)
Novik takes her human/dragon duo to Japan, China, and Russia in this installment of the Napoleonic wars as fought with dragons. However, in spite of an inordinate number of skirmishes and all-out battles in this book, the over-arching plot line is little advanced, the Laurence/Temeraire relationship is only explored from the past (because of the hokey amnesia thing) with little opportunity for the two to grow as they have in previous episodes, and the book has a rather graceless ending with everything up in the air.
Although Blood of Tyrants seems to be mostly a set-up for the Grand Finale of the Temeraire series, I still really enjoyed it and recommend it to all Temeraire fans. A little time with not only our heroic duo, but also some fun moments with clever Emily, long-suffering Granby, and the hilarious, narcissistic Iskierka, in addition to the ever-so-fabulous voices of Simon Vance makes this a good listen. I think and hope Novik is prepping us for a really great conclusion.
I thought this was an excellent addition to the Temeraire series, faster paced and with more adventure and emotion than books 6 and 7. This is among my favorites in the series, nearly up there with books 1 and 5.
Amnesia is certainly a tired potboiler plot device, but after all this is an adventure serial.
I thought Novik handled it well and delicately, using it to highlight how much Laurence has changed over the course of the series and how his relationship with Temeraire has developed as well. She also uses the device to get some emotion and tender moments, without wringing it dry.
It's good to see Temeraire moving to more of a general's position, which is very difficult for him but gives the readers a better idea of the big picture. There are a number of nice plot twists and bits of clever strategy which I thought were quite interesting. I only wish that Temeraire had been able to use his eloquence more to persuade other dragons, as he did in book 5. As usual we get to see some new countries and the different ways their cultures deal with dragons, in addition to some old familiar friends from earlier in the series. And of course the difference between human and dragon perspectives on events and characters is a source of humor and some deeper philosophy.
Simon Vance's narration is fantastic as always - I only disagreed with him on one voice (Granby's), but otherwise all the voices he choices were suitable and distinct, with accents noticeable but not intrusive.
This is the first Audible book in which I've found a technical problem - a bit from earlier in the book spliced in between 5:39 and 5:42 in the first section. Annoying, but on consideration I didn't feel that it detracted from my enjoyment enough to remove any stars.
The book ends on a cliffhanger, but not a horrible cruel one - just enough to have me looking forward eagerly to the next book!
As always the interaction of Laurence and Temeraire is one of my favorite relationships in literature.
I love Simon Vance, and have discovered other books because he was narrating.
It is a good read, but the story does not go anywhere. This and the book in Australia read like filler material. This is better than that simply because of the return to the Napoleonic Wars, and how the Russian campaign is changed.
Amnesia? Really? I was ready to roll with it. But after a couple of chapters of it I was done with it. There is nothing new about the style of the amnesia and it feels like a device, almost from the outset, to create drama for drama's sake. It seemed awfully convenient that Lawrence just happened to forget everything just up to the time he met Temeraire and became an aviator. Poppycock, it was just too blaringly obvious. I found myself struggling through part 2 of the book.
The final third of the book was by far the best
Not on the whole, but I do love the last part.
Just stay away from Amnesia people. It's just so stale of a literary device and is dreadfully hard to pull off with any class. Naomi Novik, you're better than this.
Even though I love these books, the amnesia storyline is annoying, and creates a pointless stress on the characters. They're in a war against a military genius--surely that is stressful enough!
What if you were dangerously ill somewhere in Asia, and as you recover, someone told you you owned a dragon? Seeing what problems they cause, would you even want it?
Our hero, Captain Laurence, is lost overboard during a storm, and separated from his beloved Chinese Celestial dragon Temeraire. Even when reunited, Laurence can't recall or feel the once unbreakable bond they once shared. All he knows is his duty to do whatever it takes to stop Napoleon's sacking Moscow. And what is worse, the casual brutality of dragons, the machinations of men, or the epic brutality of war?
Can this disjointed pair survive? Will Laurence return to his familiar life in the navy and give up Temeraire forever? Will Temeraire return to China and find another partner? Can Laurence regain his memory, or does he want to?
Simon Vance is back again, a perfect narrator for this tale.
The action is cut off mid-brutal-battle, when seems more of a cheat than hurtling us into the next book in the series.
Still, can't wait!
I would recommend to anyone who has liked the Temeraire series
He continues to do an excellent job of narration
This book is a return to form. I wasn't a big fan of Tongues of Serpent, but Crucible was much better. This is just as good as Crucible. I can't wait for last novel
This one ended so abruptly that I was sure my download was incomplete, until I read the other reviews here. The final book better get here soon, or I just might seek out the author and sit on her doorstep until she finishes it. Get to work Naomi!
This is by far the worst for me, because he and Temeraire keep collecting baggage, don't get credit for their successes, and stay pariahs, while they're pretty much single-handedly keeping the world from collapse. It's time to get them more influence openly, and end the war. That doesn't have to end the series. There is much else to explore about dragons, sailing, and about this alternate history. The amnesia basically wasted a book by stopping the development of the main character, and the relationship between him and Temeraire.
I loved the first book, including the alternate history, the characters, the unique take on the role and character of dragons, and of course the narration. But not even Simon Vance can save this series unless it's ended with clever bang, or things change in a big way. Just my opinion. There's still time to save the ship.
among the very top in all my genres because it's an excellent series and book one was my very first audio-book. It got me hooked...
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.