Intoxicating Draconic Drama Nov 2, 2008
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.