Naomi Novik delivers the final adventure in a New York Times best-selling series that has won fans of Napoleonic-era military history, Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, and Patrick O'Brian's seafaring adventures. Since His Majesty's Dragon, Captain William Laurence and his fearless dragon, Temeraire, have been battling Napoleon and his armies...and now the time has come to stop him for good.
3.5 stars, with a value added five-star narration. Thus endeth the storied glories of Temeraire the Celestial Dragon and his most honorable companion, Captain Laurence. And thus endeth Napoleon's relentless pursuit of world domination.
A fairly good story. Many of my hopes came true, even though I wasn't completely satisfied. I love this dragon! Enjoyed the clever strategies Laurence employed to feed and motivate and discipline the hungry dragons, both the small ferals and the heavyweight Russians. Enjoyed seeing Laurence win the full approval of his peers in Europe, including Czar Alexander and General Bloucher (thus forcing the British Admiralty to play nice).
QUIBBLES: (why only 3 stars?)
The pacing is uneven. Important scenes are skipped over in a paragraph while trivia goes on too long. For example, the duel and subsequent recuperation went on and on, yet went nowhere. The "beautiful and marriageable peasant girl" scenes just did not fit.
The writing began well but became choppy, skipping right over key scenes. Temeraire never got to have his final showdown with the albino celestial, Lien. Where did that key scene go? The final battle (the alternate Waterloo) was curtailed and Laurence was cheated out of a solid gold honorable victory by politics — by two disgraceful but well-connected captains, and by Hammond, Talleyrand, and Meternich.
Strangers take central stage! I'd have MUCH rather spent time with key characters from prequels, both dragons and humans. It made little sense for Laurence to get a new crew at this point in the series — and for the most critical battles ever. He was assigned to lead some contemptuous but politically secure fools (captains Poole and Wendell). We saw almost nothing of Maximus and Lily and the old formation.
Tharkay disappeared from the text for a long time. Ferris's character arc simply stopped midstream. Was his name cleared? Demaine got mentioned a few times in passing, but his brother Sipho was completely excluded. Instead, we were treated to ANOTHER boring scene with Edith, the vapid woman who dumped Laurence in book 1.
Temeraire and Iskierka's egg hatched but I was disappointed in the dragonet Ning, despite her fearsome abilities.
Still, I enjoyed the book. Novik created a sense of sympathy for Napoleon (a feat!) and managed to maintain some slight credibility in terms of historical accuracy.
Yet so many loose ends: The Dragons Rights Act needs to be fleshed out and fully realized. Laurence and Temeraire need a place of their own. What will this valiant dragon do next? Gaze at sheep? The series does not feel finished. A global League of Dragons is only embryonic at this point.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Naomi has brought us to a wonderful conclusion at the end of a inspired series. The books action ebbs and flows well, neatly tying up loose ends. The story has a satisfactory and neat ending. I am sad to see Temeraire coming to a close I have immensely enjoyed this series and will definitely pick it up again to enjoy the banter of dragons. I hope we get to see more of temeraire in the future even though this chapter is closed. The book does not linger in port as it were taking the reader on unexpected adventures. The combat does not drag on incessantly and this allows the reader to take a broader view of the state of Europe. I defiantly recommend this book to any that have enjoyed the series and highly recommend the series as a whole. I can't wait to see what Naomi thinks up next!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series, and this final installment lives up to the expectations set by its predecessors. The books are wonderful and the narration is superb. Top marks.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Kind of a slow starter, including some unnecessarily random events. And the transition from Part 1 to Part 2 was a bit clunky and forced. By the end, though, I didn't mind so much. The dragons are as charming as ever and Lawrence as frustrating - poor guy. He's still a cross between Horatio Hornblower and Lord Ramage at heart and ends up having to play politics... and being good at it, too.
It was good to see some old favorites again - Jane Roland provides a hilarious "outside view" of Lawrence's antics and character, and Tharkay once again has exactly what Lawrence needs. Even Hammond manages to make himself useful. All in all a satisfying finale, even if it wasn't as strong as some of the earlier books.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The final book in a great series: the Napoleonic Wars come to an end. word
Seems like a whole book about Laurence as an admiral got compressed into a few chapters here. And it felt like the "climactic" battle is almost completely skipped.
First two thirds of the book feel much more well paced to the series. I suspect there was either too much material to fit into this book and/or too little material to stretch into a tenth book for the series.
Things do get wrapped up fairly well, with plenty of openings left for possible future books. I'd expect at least one more novel about the Hundred Days. Can't not have a Waterloo, despite this book being labeled the last adventure.
Performance is exemplary as normal.
I really wish this had been a story about a campaign that spanned two books. The scope of what was presented deserved it and the moments of action or story we got were excellent. The action was spectacular and some of the intrigue had the opportunity to be truly riveting. That said, Novik skips over climactic scenes and neatly arranges the outcome of the intrigue too quickly.
I've loved this series. The attention to historical mannerisms and detail makes the addition of dragons feel believable and the historical anachronisms brought by that addition were well thought out. But this ending could had the feel of a glossing over or a convenient resolution to a story the author was no longer interested in pursuing. In short, it felt lazy. This had moments that were truly great, but they should have been fleshed out into the ending this series deserved.
I loved this series. But this story does not feel like what an ending book should. I feel as though the author decided 3/4 way through "oh well I'll just end it on this one", so it feels rather rushed and extremely unsatisfying. Having read (ok listened) to all 9 books you tend to care about the characters and with this last book none are given a future just a rather dragon size question mark.
A great ending to such a wonderful series!! My only sadness comes in knowing there is no book following. Definitely recommend.
Loved it. Seems the only thing lacking was a written out telling of one confrontation in the closing battle.