The comparison is a little simplistic, but this alternative history is tons of fun. The characters are consistant with the period, the writing is good..Show More », and Simon Vance is one of the best readers anywhere. I loved every minute of this book. A great adventure!
4 and a half was what I wanted, but it didn't quite reach my 5 star threshold.
Loved the book, just thought I'd point out an issue with the recording. Part 2 of the download for me started about 40 minutes from the end of the bo..Show More »ok! by trial and error I discovered that the part 'begins' about 1 hour and 9 minutes after hitting play. So, if you have no idea what's going on when you start part 2, fast forward and give it another try as this is an excellent series.
Novik has created a truly wonderful story. The cast is marvelous, the scenery is rich, and the premise is both captivating and refreshing.
H..Show More »owever, 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.
The Empire of Ivory picks off right from the cliffhanger at the end of the last book, and, unsurprisingly, ends with a cliffhanger of its own*. Betwe..Show More »en these sections, you get to visit another part of the subtly altered world of Novik's 19th century: Africa, where colonial ambitions meet the undiscovered powers of the continent. The pace is often leisurely, echoing the Patrick O'Brien meets Jane Austin meets Tolkein style that you have come to expect by now. Additionally, for much of the book, the pacing of the series seems to be slowing further, though that eventually changes. The social interaction between high society and the aviators receives more attention, as does the domestic politics of England, with the deft addition of real political figures of the time. Thus, if you don't mind a relative lack of action for much of the novel, this is a very solid book, with well-developed characters, a sense of history, and some great plot developments later in the audiobook. Though not the delight that the first novel was, this remains a worthwhile and interesting addition to the continuing series.
* So if you haven't read the series in order, you really should start with the first novel, His Majesty's Dragon. It is quite good, and about dragons to boot.
This book, the fifth of the series, marks an improvement over the rather confused action of the last novel. The story returns to Britain, and to a Nap..Show More »oleonic invasion that must be fought off with the help of the disgraced main character. Where it retains the "Patrick O'Brien meets Jane Austin meets Tolkein" style, this is a more conventional narrative focused much more on warfare, with only brief (and not too convincing) diversions on the politics of England and the nature of honor. Fortunately, the battle scenes are fascinating, and occasionally wrenching, and there is plenty of action to go around.
But even as the action swells, the main drivers of the series, the characters of Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, become less dynamic. Will, especially, spends much of the book moping over his "treason" of the previous novel, and generally being cut off from friends and compatriots that have driven the relationships in previous novels.
If you liked the previous novels, this one is also a good read. But, in the end, this book continues the strangely unsatisfying approach the author has adopted - it ends on a cliffhanger, with few of the major issues resolved, and the series promising that the next novel will again take us to another, seemingly randomly decided-upon, far away land in the alternate universe of Temeraire, and thus further from whatever resolution Ms. Novik eventually hopes to achieve.
I know many people have felt this book was a disappointment compared to the rest of the series and that it didn't go anywhere. While I would be dissat..Show More »isfied with the book if this was to be the end of the series, it is not and I believe leads to numerous possibilities in the last few books yet to be released (and some not yet written). The addition of several new dragons and foreign lands was enough to keep me engaged and I am terribly sad to know that I will have to wait at least a year before the next book is published and released. BOO! "I want more Temeraire daddy and I want it now!"
If you liked the series up till now, give this book a try and once again, Simon Vance rises to favorite reader status in my book.
As always, Simon Vance does an amazing job with the narration. All the characters have distinct and ..Show More »recognizable voices. Furthermore, those voices have not changed from the first book until now (which can be an issue with long series; listen to the Wheel of Time books, voices and pronunciations change several times despite the same narrators).
This book has more of the "Captain and Dragon; Buddy Adventure" feel from the first few books rather than the "I'm super depressed that I'm a traitor" theme that has dominated the past two books. There is some really nice character development for the dragons in this book, mostly regarding Temeraire and Iskierka, but also the new member of the gang: Kulingile.
If you didn't enjoy the last two books quite as much as the first few, this book puts the series back on the more upbeat and optimistic tone set in the beginning of the series.
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. Thi..Show More »s 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.