So the other day nothing made me happy. I started book after book and put them back down again, wondering if it was them or me. And then, over coffee with The Housemate, during which we agreed that sometimes you have to work to find the book that catches hold of you, she talked again about the Temeraire books and how much she was enjoying them. Since we had His Majesty's Dragon in our shared library, I gave it a try that night, and lo, it was good. It was very, very good.
The story engaged me right from the get-go. I'm a sucker for dragons, so I was predisposed to enjoy it, but I don't read just anything about them. I got lured in by action, good characterization, and an intriguing premise, that in the Napoleonic wars, England and France (among other countries) use dragons as aerial corps. A newly-hatched dragon may accept a harness from a human, and if s/he does, then the two of them are virtually tied together for the life of the human. In ideal circumstances, they become best friends, family even.
So when Captain Laurence finds himself in the position of having to harness a dragonet who has hatched aboard his ship, he is not happy. His life is the navy, and he knows how hard the life will be in the air corps, how much he'll have to give up. But he quickly learns how much more he gains when he and Temeraire are paired, and in fact the relationship between the two is the best part of the book. Temeraire is an absolute delight, and watching Laurence come to love him is soul satisfying.
There's a good deal of military detail, but it's not off-putting, and in fact the battle at the end of the book is quite exciting. There were moments of comedy, of heartbreak, and drama. It's an easy read, and a quick one, and it did what nothing else was doing for me this week, it captured my imagination and my interest, and kept me reading. I can't wait to start the second book in the series.