Yet disaster threatens the mission at every turn, thanks to the diabolical machinations of the Chinese dragon Lien, who blames Temeraire for her master's death and vows to ally herself with Napoleon and take vengeance. Then, faced with shattering betrayal in an unexpected place, Laurence, Temeraire, and their squad must launch a daring offensive. But what chance do they have against the massed forces of Bonaparte's implacable army?
Dragon tales: don't miss the rest of the Temeraire series.
©2006 Naomi Novik; (P)2007 Books on Tape
"Novik's magical 18th century, peopled with sympathetic characters, induces avid reading. Long may she write!" (Booklist)
Novik has created a truly wonderful story. The cast is marvelous, the scenery is rich, and the premise is both captivating and refreshing.
However, the pacing feels more like a slightly episodic long form fantasy than it does a series. "His Majesty's Dragon", the first book, was a bit more conventional. It had a fairly symmetrical plot arc and a thoroughly rousing conclusion battle.
However, "Throne of Jade" was rather more ponderous (as it no doubt would have been for Laurence and Temeraire, sailing to the other side of the world and becoming embroiled in lengthy diplomatic tangles). It also didn't have nearly as cinematic an ending, though still a good one.
"Black Powder War" is similar. They spend a lot of time traveling over vast tracts of fairly barren land, and it doesn't happen very fast. There are several great aerial battles, but what could properly be called the climax is actually not a fight at all. Some might find this disappointing, but I feel that she is taking the time truly do the story the justice it deserves. And that is more exciting than a bit of token action.
I have recently become more accustomed to books like "Wheel of Time" and "The Way of Kings", than to short form fiction. And when the Temeraire series is viewed as a single story of multiple volumes rather than a set of connected, but independent, stories, the arc and pacing feel more natural. Certainly the two books following "His Majesty's Dragon" are slower. However, they are also deeper. Novik takes the time to really delve into the world she is giving us, as well as into the characters with which she has populated it so wonderfully.
As always, Simon Vance is brilliant. His narration is at once subtle and captivating.
Married, middle-age, owner of 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a messy house.
It gets a bit long in the descriptions, but I really enjoyed the story. Makes me want a dragon of my own.
It lacked the charm of the first and second book in this series. Entirely lacking in character development, it just a long road trip with boring politics from a fantasy world I don't care about.
Temeraire is always lovely, as well as Lawrence.
A lovely reader, but an unsuccessful installment in what was otherwise a good series.
Simon Vance brought Naomi Novik's fantasy to life. I'm learning more about the Napoleonic War from this series, despite the fictional dragons. It's an entertaining alternate history, close enough to the "truth" in some scenes to trigger my interest (so I look things up, comparing the historic account with the fictional).
I liked this 3-part plot, even if the pacing got bogged down in Prussian campaigning (by committee, with outdated strategies). Loved the characters. Here be dragons! Huzzah for the beast-baby Iskierka and for shrewd, swaggering Arkady! We also get a close encounter with Napoleon and threats from Lien, set on avenging her dead captain.
And here we meet the inscrutable Tharkay, half-Nepalese, half-British, fully ostracized. Totally hot.
Hopeful ending, when Team Temeraire finally gets to go home, escaping from besieged Danzig / Gdańsk. They have been away from home a full year. The journey has been fraught with fear, hunger, cold, assassinations, accusations, betrayals, avalanches, bandits, feral dragons, fire, and bloody bloody battles.
"But the sky ahead was opening up to a fierce, deep, cloudless blue, an endless road of wind and water before them. A signal was flying from the mast of the Vanguard: "Fair winds, sir!" Turner said, as they passed the ships by. Laurence leaned into the cold sea wind, bright and biting. It scrubbed into the hollows of Temeraire's sides to clean away the last of the eddies of smoke, spilling away in gray trailers behind them...
Out ahead of them, Arkady began something very like a marching song, chanting lines answered by the other ferals, their voices ringing out across the sky, each to each. Temeraire added his own to the chorus, and little Iskierka began to scrabble at his neck, demanding, "What are they saying? What does it mean?"
"We are flying home," Temeraire said, translating. "We are all flying home."
I am loving the entire series of books, and was thrilled to learn Peter Jackson has bought the wrights to make "His Majesty's Dragon" into a film! This book his hard on Temeraire and Captain Lawrence, but their love and dedication carry them through. It's colorful and brilliantly plotted out, and we get to see more of the world in which they live.
Lawrence - he always does the right thing
Danger at every turn.
LOVED some of the new characters we meet in this book! I enjoyed the places they traveled too and the challenges they faced. One of my favorite books in the entire series and the narrator is a pleasure to listen to as always.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
At last, the story of the Napoleonic wars in a world with dragons continues. I enjoyed the story from beginning to end. I especially like the battle/action scenes. I look forward to listening to the fourth book, Empire of Ivory.
Simon Vance is a narrator who grows on you. I strongly recommend everybody to check out the other works he narrated, and he has narrated a lot.
The context and characters are a delight as they evolve and change. This story unfortunately got bogged down in all the minutiae of warfare and barely recovered with the arrival of a feisty firebreather on the scene.
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