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4.4 out of 5 stars34
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 November 2008
In this fifth book in the series, the author departs once and for all from a path that did once run parallel in a way to the Napoleonic Wars that we know from history, as Napoleon invades England, and the corps is called on to work with the army and the militia to try and force him back across the Channel.

Will Laurence has never been a light-hearted character, always constrained by his notions of etiquette, duty and honour, and now he is completely weighed down by the consequences of his actions at the end of the previous book. I haven't quite worked out why I so enjoyed reading about a character who is often such morose company, but I did.

Again, some of the characters are far from rounded - Laurence's former fiancee and her husband seem to be present solely as a plot device - but these are notable as exceptions rather than the rule. And also on the negative side, I was made a more than a little dizzy by the speed with which various characters sped around the British Isles. But these points were outweighed by far by what I really liked, in particular the characterisation of the dragons, including those found in the breeding ground; the development of the characters of the aviators (looking back to the first book); the characterisations of Wellington, Napoleon and Nelson in particular as men from history interwoven into Novik's fictional world; and finally the plot itself. Yes, there are some weaknesses, but there is also much originality and many clever touches.

I don't know if a further book is planned. There is a more complete ending to this than to the previous books, I think. I would like to read of their further adventures in ... (that would be telling!), but if there is no more to come, then there is enough in the existing books to warrant re-reading, and I can find the elusive Throne of Jade, which I have to read out of sequence as I couldn't get hold of it and was too impatient to wait for it before going on with the rest of the series!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 February 2012
After the distressing ending to the last book, this one opens with Temeraire and Laurence separated. But when Napoleon finally lands in England, our adventurous twosome are reunited - but is it only a temprary respite?

I adore this series and just can't get enough of these books. Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I thought this was one of the best to date: it allows our two protagonists to develop separately, and melds character and exciting plot in a seamless way.

Temeraire's politicisation and increasingly radical stance is wonderful, and I laughed out loud at some of his naive-but-true remarks. This was offset by the emotional depth of some of the scenes and I have to admit I cried when Temeraire finally realised that Laurence wasn't dead.

Novik keeps all her plot strands clear and tight, and I liked the way our characters have changed as a result of circumstances - Laurence's crisis of conscience, for example, felt absolutely right to me.

So I can't praise these books enough - highly recommended.
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on 3 September 2008
The first few books in the series were great, and volume four seemed to be a peak. This fifth installment is perhaps not as good, but still enjoyable and interesting. The war finally hits England, and Lawrence and Temeraire struggle through their own difficulties during the melee. We see a lot of the dragons here as Temeraire makes some headway with fighting for dragon rights, and the over-all story of the series moves on as the Napoleonic war swings right across Britain and back again.

Some of the reviews on Amazon are very negative, and I wish I could disagree with most of what they are saying. The story is not as strong as some of the other volumes, leaving it feeling a bit like an "inbetweener" novel. Fans of books 1-4 will still enjoy it, and it's a worthwhile read.
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on 14 December 2010
The main protagonists in Novik's series include a rare, highly prized Celestial dragon, called Temeraire, who was snatched from a French ship as an egg. His handler, Laurence, was destined for a distinguished naval career - until he accidentally happened to be present when Temeraire hatched and was chosen by the dragon to be his companion. Together they have experienced a variety of adventures in different surroundings with plenty of fighting - both set-piece battles and skirmishes - and both characters have become ever closer and more aware of each other. In this fifth book, Novik does it again. She gives her fans yet another completely different twist to the ongoing tale - a feat not always successfully achieved by multi-book authors.

As the story rolls over almost without a break from the previous books, I recommend that you read them all before embarking on this latest volume, which will be a joy if you haven't yet encountered this very popular series.

While not as high-flown or wordy, Novik does nod in the direction of the more effusive manner of the 18th century style of writing. I am aware that this has hampered the enjoyment of at least one would-be fan, but I personally find the style eminently in keeping with atmosphere Novik has engendered.

In amongst the swash-buckling action, Novik has some interesting themes running through her work. Temeraire, as a Celestial dragon, is highly intelligent and capable of fluently speaking a number of languages, reading and writing. However, he is officially regarded as a piece of military equipment by the English authorities, who are much slower than Napoleon or the Chinese to give their dragons any kind of special consideration. Novik interweaves this strand with the anti-slavery arguments of the day - with Temeraire discussing the issue with Wilberforce.
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on 27 October 2009
These novels are consistently enjoyable, creating a credible universe that mixes history with fantasy, leaving the reader's disbelief well and truly suspended. As with the previous four novels, the plot rattles along apace and makes a decent job of moving the world of Temeraire on, exploring the issue of dragons' rights. However, as others have mentioned, the characterisation definitely needs to step up if there's to be another novel (and there's certainly no reason for there not to be from the perspective of plot). Laurence enters a refreshing depression (excuse the clumsy oxymoron) as he reflects on the consequences of his actions and wrestles with his conscience. However, the child-like naivety of Temeraire, despite still being a young dragon, is starting to grate a little; likewise the relentless self-regard, although an entirely consistent trait among dragons. The move to the New World offers the chance for significant developments and, if the series is to continue, they need to be so.

Also, one further small gripe: this edition of the text contains numerous grammatical errors and missed punctuation marks. I haven't read anything this sloppy, editorially speaking, in, well, ever.

In summary, an entertaining read, but the series has reached a watershed moment where it could tip either way. Hopefully it'll be a case of onwards and upwards, rather than more of the same - especially in terms of character.
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on 20 February 2012
The earlier books in this series roughly follow historical events, albeit with dragons adding an extra dimension to the battles. There are some deviances from history, but they tend to be fairly minor. The blurb for this one, however, makes it clear that it deviates significantly from history, as Napoleon invades Britain.

I wasn't sure that I would enjoy this one, since I liked the close matching of history, but Empire of Ivory: Bk. 4 (Temeraire 4) was left on a cliff-hanger, and I wanted to know what happened. I needn't have worried - the story is excellent, possibly the best in the series so far. It's exciting and well told, and the historical figures that appear (notably Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington) appear to be accurately portrayed.

The story easily warranted at least four, and probably five stars. I've only given it three because of the lack of editing and proof-reading in the Kindle edition. I noted in my review of Empire of Ivory that the standard of editing and proof-reading was not up to par, but I think it may have been even worse in Victory of Eagles.

Ms Novik's work deserves to be shown in a much better light than this. The errors that I found are listed here: [...] At least some of them are also present in the paperback edition.
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on 22 April 2013
As of yesterday, I have read the first six books in this series and am waiting for the seventh to come out in paperback. Overall, I liked them very much, but I think this is the best one. All the books are well writen, all pay great attention to the period detail, all have interesting, well-drawn characters, the right amount of humor and intriguing plots. I myself am not a really big fan of detailed descriptions of battles, with which the series is certainly well endowed, but this is a matter of personal preference. Anyway, this one has all these things and also an added emotional depth, because the main character Lawrence, goes on a spiritual journey, which begins by a crisis of conscience and ends with him reaching a very deep level of emotional maturity and acceptance of himself and the world around him.

Initially, I was very surprised with the reviews that complained about an absence of plot in this novel, since all these books are somewhat episodic in nature; but perhaps the plot only seemed to be a bit thin compared to the previous ones, some of which (Black Powder War, for example) had enough plot for two books.
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on 9 August 2008
Its hard to imagine how you can write a fantasy about dragons which still has something different to say. Well Naomi Novik's Temeraire sequence does just that. Some of the personality/friendship themes are no different from what Anne MacCaffrey used to write when her books were worth reading, But Novik's unique stroke is to place her books not in a repetitive sword and sorcery saga, but in an alternate historical fiction set in Britain in the time of the Napoleonic wars. Brilliant stuff beautifully written. Nice to give kids (the target is teenagers but works for everyone) a taste for history as well as adventure. This is the 5th book but she can go on forever for me.

I'm glad the warfare has come to an end - for now I assume - to allow the rich development of Temeraire's character as a champion for dragon's rights in 19th century England (no really!). Not the place to start, go back to "Temeraire" (imaginatively called "His Majesty's Dragon" in the US edition)and settle down for a treat
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on 18 August 2009
As a fan of historical drama of the Bernard Cornwell variety I was instantly drawn to this wonderful series of books by Naomi Novik. They barrel along at a good pace, with fantastic characterisation, sudden and exciting action scenes and a wonderful sense of place. The alternate history angle is also very appealing, and the descriptions of the dragons and their ariel antics really bring her world to life. Comes highly recommended for anybody who would enjoy a well written but not overly cerebral read. Good for historical fiction/fantasy fans aged 15+
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on 31 July 2008
Just got my hands on this fine novel. As with the others in the series they are a rocking swashbuckling read. The best one yet. It was un put downable from page 1 till the end. It grabbed my imagination and rolled on smoothly from the get go.

The cleaver use of the Dragons abilities and strengths are greatly realised. With a natural tactical appreciation and evolution of Dragon aided warfare. As normal the good old Brits lag behind the innovation of the French. But do catch up quickly and come up with some great ideas.

I think that the humans of the book are being taken over with the characterisation of the Dragons. This is great and well done. The Dragons are more human than the Humans.

I can not recommend it enough. Naomi Novik should never finish this series it is too good.
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