Temeraire by Naomi Novik

His Majesty’s Dragon
Naomi Novik
2006

Throne of Jade
Naomi Novik
2006

In honor of Crucible of Gold being released this last Tuesday, I have to go back and review His Majesty’s Dragon and Throne of Jade, the first two book in the Temeraire series.

The books are:
His Majesty’s Dragon
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Empire of Ivory
Victory of Eagles
Tongues of Serpents
Crucible of Gold

I have to admit that I’ve actually only read the first two books. However! The reason for that is that I am clearly insane. Despite how I don’t do this for any other series in the world, I can never seem to start the third book without wanting to go back and re-read the series from the beginning. There are so many good scenes and characters and dialog that I can’t resist it. So I go back and read the first two books, at which point I discover that these are really wonderfully dense books in which the plot and action just keeps coming, and so I can’t really read more than two in a row without beginning to feel a bit glutted. But glutted with awesome!

Eventually I’ll have simply memorized the first two, and then I’ll be able to move on to the third and fourth book, I suppose, and I’m very excited about that prospect. But in the mean time, I have to go back and re-read the scene in which Temeraire hatches, and their first air battle, and when Laurence confronts Rankin, and has dinner with Roland, and… and… and…!

Anyway, plot: This is historical fiction based around the Napoleonic War… with dragons. As it turns out, I like historical fiction a lot more when there are dragons inserted. Especially these dragons.

The main character is Captain Will Laurence, formerly of the British Navy. A variety of circumstance, however, lead him to harnessing a young dragon, Temeraire, at which point, he was, perforce, part of the British Aerial Corp. While the war is, of course, a large driving force for the plot, a larger part circles around the differences between the very formal British society that Laurence is accustomed to, the more casual environment of the Aerial Corp, which bridges that of British society and that of the dragons, and the dragon perspective. While Will Laurence and many of the other characters are definitely characters of their time period, the dragons often act as an outside perspective on events and social mores. Dragons, for instance, have their own perspective on sexism and slavery and right and wrong, which isn’t really anachronistic because, well, they’re dragons.

His Majesty’s Dragon and Throne of Jade both really come together because Temeraire is an absolute delight, Laurence is wonderful in his awkward formality and concepts of honor, and they are absolutely devoted to each other, which just makes their differences with and regarding the world around them all the more apparent.

It’s a story about the love of a man for his dragon, and a dragon for his man. Anyway, these are wonderful books and I definitely recommend them.

6 comments on “Temeraire by Naomi Novik

  1. Kinsey says:

    I had never even heard of these books, but you make them sound great. History! Dragons! I’m putting them on my list.

  2. Anna says:

    I keep thinking that I would absolutely love these, but then periodically I’ll pick them up from the library, and the language is just a touch too florid for me. I might try them again, though. The premise really does sound awesome.

    • Rebecca says:

      Yeah, the writing is quite florid. Which I enjoy, but even I can only read so much of it at a time.

    • Oktay says:

      Hmm, I’ll check these out. I’ll seriously low on reaidng material at the moment. I’ve read a few good books recently which I will try and post up here later on Damn you re: Kylie Chan. Damn you.

  3. Rehaan says:

    I started to pscuhare “Resenting the Hero” but decided to wait. I see you bought it. I’ll wait for a review on it, if you don’t mind or just a few words to say if it was good or not. It looked good.Keishon

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