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Temeraire Naomi Novik

Default Smiles Let me tell you a story. Little Smiles was sort of an… impulse buyer when it came to fantasy covers. And since I got them second hand I sometimes wouldn’t notice it said ‘book three’ or something until later and was very disappointed. Either that or the books just weren’t any good and I’d be even more disappointed. Now, I see these lovely dragony books in the store. FINALLY, book one of something! Wait, wait, I’ll have to be careful. Well this looks promising enough, I’ll just get one and give it a go.
Surprised Sharky 2 I’m proud of yo-
Happy Smiles I bought the first one, took it home, and started reading. After the first chapter I ran back to buy all the rest.
Default Sharky Aaaaand there goes the pride right out the window.
Default Smiles Imagine dragons. … what, you’re still not sold on it? Fine. Imagine you’re a Navy captain during the time when Napoleon was rubbing his hands and cackling over a big map of the world. You capture a French ship and find a dragon egg! Awesome! Except no it’s about to hatch. But someone could captain it and use it in the Air Corps! Awesome! Except no it’s you and your career and social life as you know it is completely destroyed. Now let me tell you the plot twist. This isn’t a magical world. There’s not really any other magic, no low or high fantasy setting. Just dragons.
Surprised Sharky What. That’s not a thing Smiles.
smiles-intensifies IT’S A THIIIIIING!
Happy Sharky2 As you can tell, I was kind of sceptical. You can’t just… throw dragons into the age of naval battles and expect them to work, right? Well it turns out you can, and it’s amazing. The idea of just adding one fantastic element to an ordinary earth is something I wish was more of a thing now.
Default Smiles The dragons are as big as navy ships, and bigger. So you have all the thrill of a pitched sea-battle with a full crew of gunners and riggers and so on, while speeding madly through the air on the back of a 'ship' that has its own mind and reactions to what's happening. And your ship is adorable and loves you and likes to cuddle and chat after all the excitement.
Happy Sharky2 Our favourite main characters are still the sarcastic smartasses, but it turns out we have a before-now-unheard-of soft spot for William Laurence in all his easily offended, honour and duty, golden-hearted glory. It’s just a shame fate doesn’t seem to have a soft spot for him.

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Happy Smiles There's little touches I absolutely love that really bring out the humanity of the characters despite the war. Like the fact that almost every dragon has an excessive Latin name, because their trainers name them when they're pretty young and it's a DRAGON you have to name it something IMPRESSIVE. The relationship between the dragons and their captains is so cute, they're so devoted to each other. And Laurence and Temeraire's little group of friends are fun people to be around, so I would happily just read a whole book of them all just having a lovely vacation.
Happy Sharky And props to the world-building. I love the details about how different countries have different dragon breeds with different abilities and how that affects everyone’s battle strategies. I’d happily read a whole book just about dragon breeds.
Happy Smiles It's rare to see this setting too, and honestly I think we need more of it because it gives me an excuse to shout about things like cannons and mainsails and starboards.
Confused Sharky Starboard. It's a direction, not a thing.
Surprised Smiles … well that makes things make a bit more sense.
Angry Sharky 3 Extra points for creating a character I actually want to punch in the face and then keep punching until I’m tired. You'll know.
Sad Smiles 2 Oh… yeah…
Default Sharky You might have to emotionally brace yourself with this book a couple of times. Just saying.
Default Smiles  Brace yourself by looking at the cover. These are beautiful covers. We’ve never talked about our book covers before, mostly because different publishers have wildly different ones, so you might not get the ones we have anyway. But we should probably do a separate post on them because there are some classy examples. If buying the Temeraire series, keep an eye out for the Andrew Davidson covers.
Happy Sharky2 Each book tends to feature a trek through different countries with their own ways of dealing with dragons, and entirely new dragon breeds besides. That’s clever right there, because I’m glaring at the backs of some books wishing I was there already when I still have to read the ones in between. Now, we’re still flailing towards the distant finish line, but I do have to mention that the books down the middle aren’t as strong as the first two. And the second one wasn't quite as tight as the first one to begin with.
Shocked Smiles Sharky!
Angry Sharky 2 It's true and don't you deny it.
Sad Smiles But-
Default Sharky Look, did I start skipping a few times? Yes. Did I stop reading? No. And there have been series where I just stopped reading in the middle because I wasn’t enjoying it much anymore. Even the best plots can get a little boring or repeat themselves, so it’s usually either because the characters weren’t strong enough to keep me engaged that long, or the series bafflingly starts focusing on characters I just don’t like. I wouldn’t stop this one even when I feel like the plot’s taking its sweet time to get to the point. I love the characters we’re with too much and I keep hoping we’ll come back to the characters we’re not with. But we can’t not point things out just because we’re fanboying.
Sassy Smiles … Sharky, you can’t call an author’s decision to focus on things you personally don’t like ‘baffling’.
Sassy Sharky How dare you sir!
Shocked Smiles Water pistols at dawn!

5 thoughts on “Temeraire Naomi Novik

  1. I admire the boys’ dedication to their costumes, I really do. And I am kinda jealous over that Laurence-ragdoll.

    I very much share your love of the characters and the setting. The worldbuilding is exquisite. And I must give tearstained props to the author for wrapping up the series after nine books, instead of just letting it fizzle out. Thank you again for introducing me to it ^^

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