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.
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 loved the other entries in this series. I loved this one, too, right up until I realized that all those reveiwers who complained that it went nowher..Show More »e... were absolutely right. The story concludes at a dead end. Is it the end of the series, or what? Poor Lawrence seems so depressed and discouraged. I feel like the next book will consist of him gardening or learning to crochet, because he's too world-weary to leave his front porch.
Even so, enough events are enough fun that it is worth a listen. Fans of Temeraire himself won't be disappointed, nor will fans of Ischierka (sp?) and the two new baby dragons are delightful. I just hope Lawrence gets a new lease on life in time for the next 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.