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3.5 out of 5 stars
Tongues of Serpents (The Temeraire Series, Book 6)
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on 4 February 2012
Naomi Novik has a way with words, her plots are well researched and appeal to a wide range of reader, both men and women (my husband and I both read the novel).
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on 2 April 2014
My sons kindle is linked to my account. I can only assume that has he has purchased the entire series in order that they must be very good.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
When we last left William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire, they had been exiled to Australia. And "Tongues of Serpents" picks up with their arrival -- which turns out to be a lot more exciting than you'd think. Naomi Novik's sixth novel starts off slowly with lots of dragging around Sydney, but picks up into a grimy, sweaty, surprising adventure Down Unda.

Laurence and Temeraire arrive in Australia, along with a trio of dragon eggs and a shipload of convicts. They soon discover that Sydney isn't a very pleasant place to live, particularly for dragons -- there aren't enough cattle to eat, so they're forced to eat kangaroo. To make matters worse, Rankin (BOO!) arrives just in time for one of the eggs to hatch, and he and his bratty new dragon accompany our heroes on a long trek across Australia.

But the trip turns out to be an unpleasant one -- storms, food and water shortages, injuries, oblivious natives, a crippled baby dragon, internal friction and monstrous bunyips intent on eating whatever they can find. Then the Yellow Reaper egg is stolen by smugglers who are whisking it across Australia, and the exhausted Temeraire and Co. set out on a long journey to retrieve it -- with a surprising destination.

I was a little apprehensive about "Tongues of Serpents," since it would take place far from England, China, the Napoleonic wars, and the dragons we had come to know and love. Fortunately, Novik keeps some familiar elements in the story -- there are dollops of England and China in the Australian wilderness, and some news of the war's developments does get woven into the story.

Yes, this is ANOTHER book where most of the story is spent traveling from Point A to Point Z -- in this case, across Australia. Fortunately Novik includes some spurts of hair-raising action (Temeraire fighting through a storm) and some internal tension between the British soldiers and the exiled crew (Blincoln trying to lure away another man's dragon). While Novik's stately, ornate style is much the same as before, she litters these incidents across the story to keep it from getting tedious.

Novik also introduces some new mythical creatures (bunyips), a new dragon breed, and expands the role of sea serpents in the story. And the international conflict in this book should make for an interesting seventh book.

Laurence feels a bit thinly-characterized here, mainly because you'd expect a loyal British officer to be slightly more upset about being exiled as a traitor. Instead he's like, "Meh, whatever." On the other hand, Temeraire has some nice moments of depression and guilt over how he thinks he's wrecked Laurence's life. And since the other dragons/captains are back in merrie olde England, Novik introduces some new ones -- the arrogant hatchling Caesar, the earnest little "runt" and the kindly, strong-willed African Demane.

While most of it is about traveling (again), "Tongues of Serpents" is a solid sixth installment in the story of Laurence and Temeraire -- and it paves the way for an even better seventh book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 July 2011
This book has had a lot of bad reviews, so as a fan of the previous 5 books I was reluctant to pick this one up. Giving the kindle version such a high price considering the length of the book (5301 locations, around 280 pages) was the decider - I'm not paying that for a book with bad reviews, no matter how much I liked the others.

Then the price dropped by half(ish). So okay, now I'll give it a go.

I struggled to get into this book at the start. I found it confusing, and the language hard to follow. Perhaps this is simply due to the books I'd read before this, perhaps the bad reviews were clouding my judgement. Whatever the reason, I wasn't enjoying this during the first couple of chapters.

But then the book got going - around the time that the gang started off on a trek of Australia - the pace picked up, the action started coming and the book overall got more enjoyable.

I enjoyed reading this story. The plot kept moving, and the action was always only a page or two away. The characters were true to the previous books and the new characters filled the book out nicely.

This book is still slightly too short for the price, and perhaps it was just written as an afterthought to the success of the first 5 books - but it reads well and the story is good enough overall to be a worthy addition to the series.
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on 24 April 2014
Really good book I found it extremely hard to put down. I can't wait to read the next one and see where the story takes us.
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on 25 September 2014
Great read but dragged at times
Would recommend if you like fantasy
Will read the remainder of the series soon
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2011
This is the sixth book in the Temeraire series. I have been hooked since book one, and eagerly awaiting this one. Since I don't like to buy hardbacks, and was too impatient to wait for paperback, I borrowed it from the library. I'm glad I did, I would not have wanted to pay money for this.

This story follows Temeraire and Laurence after their transportation to Australia. They get caught up in local politics, spend an interminable amount of time chasing over the barren landscape after one of the eggs which has been stolen, and Laurence gets his sense of loyalty stretched again. Sadly though, the storyline is very thin. The existing characters have lost their depth (except Tharkay, who seems to have some hidden depths but unfortunately does not carry enough of the narrative), and the new characters never develop any. Where is the richness and vibrancy of the early books?

I'm afraid that I found this a dull plod through a barren storyline. Rather than finding the book hard to put down, it became a chore to pick it up again. If the first book had been of a comparable quality to this one, I would never have reached book 2.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2012
I was very surprised to read all the negative reviews on this page as this has (so far) been my favourite Temeraire book. I grew up in Australia so that helped as I just loved being transported to that landscape. I also really enjoyed the slow pace and leisurely rhythm. This allowed me to appreciate and wallow in the writing; Novik has such a lovely prose style. I read this on holiday and enjoyed it a lot. The relationship between Temeraire and Lawrence was explored in greater depth; it was allowed to develop without extraneous action -- and towards the end there was a real surprise battle that had me catching my breath. Also, the slow pace fitted the landscape and geography of Australia. Finally: bunyips!! Yay!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2010
Going by the previous reviews, I was in two minds about reading this book, but I was plesantly surprised. I think the previous Amazon reviewers were too harsh.

This is not the best book of the series, but it moves the plot along nicely with an Australian outback adventure.

The book captures the vastness and hostility of the continent and the struggles of the early penal settlement very well.

My only complaint was that the book initially focussed too tightly on the main characters, but this was corrected as they headed away from Sydney.

The Banyips - a cross between trapdoor spiders and crocodiles, were a terriffic invention, and the twist discovered at the end of the journey was very satisfying.

Definately worth reading.
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on 12 March 2015
Another great installment in this series - such beautiful dialogue.
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