If this collection had contained only the first book, it would be way up there in the five star range.
But I couldn't really accept the idea of whole crews of men climbing over flying dragons like seamen in a ship's rigging; even allowing for air sacs that reduced the dragon's weight, the sheer tonnage should have kept them on the ground or (at the very least) extremely unwieldy in flight. And that's another thing, these air sacs are mentioned several times but never explained: Are they full of hydrogen? Essentially, Novik has lifted British seamen from ships-of-the-line and put them on dragons-of-the-line. If humans have been dealing with dragons (and vice versa) since at least Roman times (there's no specific mention of Westerners dealing with them any earlier than that, though you would imagine they did) it would have had to profoundly change society.
The Napoleonic Wars is my favorite time era in Britian (sp?) after the Victorian Era, so imagine my surprise when I found a book series that basically just adds dragons to it!
I got sucked into the fantastical world where dragons talk! Laurence's affinity for Temeraire is so sweet and endearing, as is Berkley's camaraderie with his dragon and Captain Harcourt with Lily.
i read the first 3 books in a weeks time!
The narrative swiftly and deftly maneuvers the reader into understanding that this world is not the world we live in, but one in which dragons exist--and have existed the entire time. Firstly, by writing in the style of a British novel, Novik made a mistake that is either very large or very small depending on how you read, but nothing in the middle. Her over-use of the colon and semi-colon creates a visual challenge to the text, forcing even a reader who is accustomed to such punctuation to stop and re-read lines over again. The details are so often told, instead of shown to the reader that the narrative takes breaks to describe events, places, or people, in ways that are distracting to the plot. There is one use of obscene language in "Black Powder War" that stands out starkly because it is the one and only time that language occurs, and it comes from a throw-away character never heard or seen again--in other words, it didn't need to happen at all. While his knowledge base expands considerably along the three novels, experiencing dragon riding, then Africa and China, and then through the Ottoman Empire and across Europe, the overall details of his character remain unchanged. His concerns were the same, his goals were the same, his word choices were the same at the end of "The Black Powder War" as they were at the beginning of "His Majesty's Dragon." Similarly, characters who are antagonists are antagonists the whole way through, never surprising the reader with an unexpected twist beyond what is blatantly hinted at along the way. John Granby is a wonderful character until he has his change of heart in "His Majesty's Dragon." Once he decides that he likes Captain Laurence, all is well and stays well between them. Despite the narrative being unengaging, despite the characters being flat and unbelievable, despite the prose being dense and antiquated, the world is so lush, so verdant and abundant with life and imagination, the details so perfect and encompassing, and the cliffhangers so strong and suspenseful, that I want to read the next book.
Over the course of a brief winter sojourn spent working on the game in Edmonton, Canada (accompanied by a truly alarming coat that now lives brooding in the depths of her closet), she realized she preferred writing to programming, and on returning to New York, decided to try her hand at novels.