History takes flight in the second book of Naomi Novik's deliciously addictive series which captures the Napoleonic period perfectly and skillfully layers the timeline with imagination by adding a Dragon Air Force to the battle for England. Captain William Laurence of the British Air Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, begin their slow voyage to China, fearful that upon landing they will be forced to part by Imperial decree. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly-prized of all draconic breeds; famed for their ...
History takes flight in the second book of Naomi Novik's deliciously addictive series which captures the Napoleonic period perfectly and skillfully layers the timeline with imagination by adding a Dragon Air Force to the battle for England. Captain William Laurence of the British Air Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, begin their slow voyage to China, fearful that upon landing they will be forced to part by Imperial decree. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly-prized of all draconic breeds; famed for their intelligence, agility and most of all for the Divine Wind - their terrible roar capable of shattering the heavy timbers of war ships, shattering woodland and destroying other dragons mid-flight. Temeraire's egg was captured and claimed by the British at sea, but he was meant to be the companion of the Emperor Napoleon and not captained by a mere officer in the British Air Corps. The Chinese have demanded his return and the British cannot refuse them - they cannot afford to provoke the asian super-power into allying themselves with the French - even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal and inflicts the most unimaginable pain upon Laurence and his dragon.
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This series is very compelling. The plot never slows, the action is fun and fascinating, and the concept is vastly entertaining. Who doesn't love dragons, and these are sentient, speaking, not to say condescending, dragons. I loved it all. Never a dull moment.
Nov 2, 2008
Intoxicating Draconic Drama
I found this second story, `Throne of Jade' in the continuing series just as engrossing and fluid as the impressive first book, `Temeraire'. Indeed, all of the story elements familiar to Novik are here in abundance e.g. political wrangling between warring nations punctuated with immensely vivid and barbaric battle sequences, while the on-going development of the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire adds some much needed human drama to the well-plotted whole.
Despite some terrific set-pieces throughout however, I'd agree with a previous reviewer who has mentioned that the main bulk of the novel (that covers the journey to China by Laurence, Temeraire and their fellows) will undoubtedly cause some readers to grow restive, as the journey meanders along pleasingly, but is lacking in dramatic complication and revelation in story. Important clues as to the eventual outcome of the novel are provided along the way, but this section does nonetheless feel of unnecessary duration. But that really is only a minor criticism, because even then I was still just as hooked as ever and so that shouldn't deter anyone from picking up and enjoying this book with as much pleasure as the first.
The ending might be a little abrupt and the page-count still considerably less in comparison to other examples of the genre, but for me that's another part of the immense charm to these stories. I'd only deduct one star for the few instances in which character development is disappointingly sacrificed for no apparent reason- Novik will often conclude a chapter in dramatic fashion with a surprising revelation, but will then gloss-over these significant developments that I would really have been interested in knowing more about. But you can't have everything and when I read these books I'm more than appreciative of the unique characters, plots and heady historical atmosphere, so I can easily overlook some small imperfections.
Aug 24, 2008
Wonderful Second Installment
No sophomore slump for Naomi Novik! "Throne of Jade" manages to further develop the characters of Laurence and Temeraire while also presenting them with new challenges as the scope of their world widens to include international relations outside of the war with France. She also avoids merely repeating the basic themes from the first book, instead exploring issues of loyalty, jealousy, and injustice within the world they inhabit. I admit that I was concerned when I realized that a good third of the book was to take place onboard the ship bearing Temeraire to China. However, Novik is not at all hampered by the monotony of locale and characters. She also deftly weaves in more narrative threads than the simple fear of separation between our two bonded-for-life protagonists, and the resulting novel is just as gripping as the first.
Apr 3, 2007
Love this dragon!
Couldn't wait for this second installment and it was everything I hoped it would be. Can't say enough good things about this series.
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