Naomi Novik’s stunning series of novels follow the global adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson’s navy than any he enjoyed as the youngest, least important son of Lord Allendale. Rising on merit to captain his own vessel, Laurence has earned himself a beautiful fiancee, society’s esteem and a golden future. But the war is not going well. It seems Britain can only wait as Napoleon plans to overrun her shores. After a skirmish with a French ship, Laurence finds himself in charge of a rare cargo: a dragon egg bound for the Emperor himself. Dragons are much prized: properly trained, they can mount a fearsome attack from the skies. One of Laurence’s men must take the beast in hand and join the aviators’ cause, thus relinquishing all hope of a normal life. But when the newly-hatched dragon ignores the young midshipman Laurence chose as its keeper and decides to imprint itself on the horrified captain instead, Laurence’s world falls apart. Gone is his golden future: gone his social standing, and soon his beautiful fiancee, as he is consigned to be the constant companion and trainer of the fighting dragon Temeraire!
I shall try not to fangirl too much over this book, but i have to say i am completely in love with not only this book but now the whole series. Not only is the concept an awesomely addictive idea. Especially for a history major like myself. I love Alternate History, like steampunk etc, but add Dragons into the mix and i think i may have reached Book Nirvana. 😀 Because yes i have a serious love of Dragons in fiction, one of the first books i remember having was a bout a girl with an invisible pet dragon.
The characters in this book were also amazingly good. The character development throughout the novel just pills you through the book. Especially as the development of both Temeraire and Laurence are irrevocably tied together, creating a partnership which you immediately invest in and just want to watch grow – transitioning from father to son to something similar to a big brother to wee brother relations despite the exact opposite being true in relation to sheer mass and physical threat, which is made even stronger by the dragon to rider relationship/tie mythology in the story.
Laurence has a real British gentry, character but alot warmer and more caring while remaining a faulted and growing character. He’s not born into this role, but thrown into it head first without a life jacket with the whole of england sitting on his back and turns his whole life of the set track he had believed he was gona live. Which is something i loved about Laurence as a figure, because while it initally wasnt a future that he wanted, planned or expected – but he proudly took control, adapted and prepared himself and his life for the changes that would come and got on with things. Which in the end turned out even better than he hoped and resulted in a friendship that he could no longer imagine his life without. And something i would love to be able to learn from it and make myself a better person and prepared for what life throws at me.
Temeraire is an adorable character. And first i’ll just clarify that he is not one of those dragons from high fantasy or Harry Potter which only roar and are generally chained to a wall or constantly being slain 😦 He is a dragon so is kick ass and action packed, but he’s also a nerdy dragon, who loves to read and learn about complicated topics e.g. science and philosophy – much to Laurence’s challenge although also being ridiculously proud :). He is a breed all of his own even for a Dragon. But i dont want to give anything away so i’ll not go into too much detail. But he is a truely adorable and lovible character who you can not help but love. So if in my dreams i could own a dragon – Temeraire would be the one 🙂
In relation to the story line, the alternate history fascinated me because i had just done a french revolution module last semester, and while i really enjoyed it, adding in an aerial threat with dragons increasing the threat to the nations which just sent my brain spinning and the fiction writer emerged inside my brain, so that even when i’d set down the storyline kept growing in its only little mellowdramas and adventures and then was able to return to follow the offical story line. Which is something which marks a truely awesome book for me that it inspires me to write and get lost inside my head and look like the crazy student on the train, smiling like a mad person or equally looking on the verge of tears, with my eyes as wide as possible to hope they dont spill over because i feel so connected to the characters.
And yes i am already reading the second book, and i was able to finish this book despite the fact that i was and still am buried under Hell Week which has now mutated into Hell Month! Sign of True Love! lol 😀
So i totally recommend this book to anyone who likes alt history or even normal history as she does tie in alot of the actual history especially figures from the period. ANd of course classic fantasy fans, because honestly who doesnt love dragons!
Please comment if you’ve read this book or think you might try it.
And as always let me know how im doing or if theres anything yous think i should improve on 🙂
Thank you, and i hope you’s enjoyed