Well, that’s it. The last book in the Temeraire series! I thought the ending was satisfying. It wasn’t particularly surprising, maybe, but I was happy with how things ended up and I enjoyed the last book as much as I had enjoyed the previous books. The rest of this review consists of general, spoiler-free comments on the series as a whole.
I really enjoyed the whole series even though, in retrospect, it lacked some of the things that are most likely to earn my enthusiasm for a book. In particular, Novik used a straight-forward and consistent story-telling style. There were surprises here and there, but this isn’t a twisty story with an intricate plot that keeps you confused and anxious to learn what the heck is going on. I do normally prefer a twistier story, but it held my interest well anyway. I would be surprised though if somebody who isn’t crazy for the books from the beginning were to change their mind if they tried to keep reading. The things that made the series enjoyable for me from the start are mostly the same things that sustained my interest through to the end.
Novik writes action scenes well, and she also does very well with making characters likeable and sympathetic. She writes the interactions between characters well too. I was happy that there wasn’t much romance in the series; I think that would have taken away from the more interesting relationships and been more a source of annoyance than anything. There isn’t anything too deep here, but I liked the theme of duty versus morality that showed up throughout the series, forcing our characters to decide which should take precedence when those two things were in conflict and to deal with the consequences of their choices. Even though the series is set during a war, it has a fairly light tone. Bad and discouraging things happen, but there’s also a decent amount of humor and optimism.
I plan to keep an eye out for future books the author publishes, and I’ll read the new anthology (Golden Age and Other Stories) sooner or later. Right now I only see a $25 hardcover available for pre-order so I’ll either borrow it from the library if it’s available, or I’ll purchase it when there’s a reasonably-priced Kindle edition available.
A standalone fantasy book from the 80’s called Weaveworld by Clive Barker. This is one of those books on my list that I bought on sale a while back and know absolutely nothing about, so I look forward to being surprised. Hopefully in a pleasant way, but we’ll see. :)
I really wanted to be further along in this book by now, but my weekend and this week have been crazy. So I haven't been able to read much of the book. On the weekends my husband whom is a truck driver is home, so are family has family time on the weekends. And I have been babysitting my great nieces and nephews on Monday through Thursday, and this week my niece Andrea has been working later than usual.
Now back to the book, I am still loving Cvareh and Flor the most so far, even though I do like Ari. I am really not sure how I feel about Cvareh's sister, at all, or any of the other characters that have their own point of views in this book. So far I am enjoying this second book, but I am not as crazy for this book as much as I was for the first book. Hopefully that changes, since I am not that far into the story.
This is the good stuff. Epic fantasy with about as much patience with the "wait for the answers while I hint you to death" bullshit as I have, an uninformed protagonist that refuses to carry the idiot ball nonetheless, funny and wise wizard, and heavy hitter female (though I got tired of her "let me die before I hurt you" thing waaay before the end). And of the main villain's three appearances (yeah, neat on the rule), the squicky ruthless first, and his eminently charismatic second were a wonder.
Even better: it is pretty much self contained. We are left a lot of issues to pursue in subsequent volumes, but the adventure we start on we finish (and thank god, given all those pages).
It wont be soon, but I'm likely to keep reading this saga.
by Naomi Novik
I wanted to read something by Naomi Novik, but didn't realise this collection of short stories was fan fiction related to the Temeraire series, which I haven't read. Never mind, it's a good test of a story collection like this to see if it can stand on its own.
The first story, Volley's Cow, did leave me a little bewildered. I think there was an assumption of familiarity with the characters, both human and dragon, as well as adventures they had been through in the series. The second story, Planting Season, was more self-contained and stood on its own well.
This was followed by Dawn of Battle, which I think probably reflected the sort of military battle atmosphere of the series and gave me a taste of the dragons and how they work in this world.
Then there is the title story, Golden Age. This one is longer than the others and rather good. My impression was that it was an alternative history using the characters from the first book of the series and focused very much on the nature of the dragons.
The next story, Succession, takes place in China and tells about how the French came to have a Celestial egg. This is followed by Dragons and Decorum, about a young woman being recruited into the air Corp, because female dragons will only have female handlers. Although I haven't yet read Pride and Prejudice, the use of the names Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy suggest there might be a nod to that book in this story.
The book wraps up with a section of Drabbles, 100 word stories. These were amusing and gave me some snippets of the world in which this series manifests. thought it was a nice way to finish up the collection. The artwork alone is worthwhile.
Over all an enjoyable read that I'm sure will be indispensable to readers of the Temeraire series.