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5.0 out of 5 stars great
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.
Published 3 months ago by A. Kane

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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A letdown. . .
Given the fact that after reading Victory of Eagles I felt that the series appeared to be losing a little steam, I was curious to see if this sixth installment in the Temeraire series would be a return to form. The books are becoming formulaic and episodic in style and tone, and I for one was hoping for a throwback to the first four volumes.

And though my...
Published on 31 July 2010 by Patrick St-Denis


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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A letdown. . ., 31 July 2010
By 
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
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Given the fact that after reading Victory of Eagles I felt that the series appeared to be losing a little steam, I was curious to see if this sixth installment in the Temeraire series would be a return to form. The books are becoming formulaic and episodic in style and tone, and I for one was hoping for a throwback to the first four volumes.

And though my expectations were not that high based on its predecessor, it saddens me to report that Tongues of Serpents was a lackluster effort leaving a lot to be desired. After revitalizing the genre with such originality, Naomi Novik's latest work does very little to further the plot of the main story arc.

Here's the blurb:

A dazzling blend of military history, high-flying fantasy, and edge-of-your-seat adventure, Naomi Novik's Temeraire novels, set in an alternate Napoleonic era in which intelligent dragons have been harnessed as weapons of war, are more than just perennial bestsellers--they are a worldwide phenomenon. Now, in Tongues of Serpents, Naomi Novik is back, along with the dragon Temeraire and his rider and friend, Capt. Will Laurence.

Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon's invasion of England, Temeraire and Laurence--stripped of rank and standing--have been transported to the prison colony at New South Wales in distant Australia, where, it is hoped, they cannot further corrupt the British Aerial Corps with their dangerous notions of liberty for dragons. Temeraire and Laurence carry with them three dragon eggs intended to help establish a covert in the colony and destined to be handed over to such second-rate, undesirable officers as have been willing to accept so remote an assignment--including one former acquaintance, Captain Rankin, whose cruelty once cost a dragon its life.

Nor is this the greatest difficulty that confronts the exiled dragon and rider: Instead of leaving behind all the political entanglements and corruptions of the war, Laurence and Temeraire have instead sailed into a hornet's nest of fresh complications. For the colony at New South Wales has been thrown into turmoil after the overthrow of the military governor, one William Bligh--better known as Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. Bligh wastes no time in attempting to enlist Temeraire and Laurence to restore him to office, while the upstart masters of the colony are equally determined that the new arrivals should not upset a balance of power precariously tipped in their favor.

Eager to escape this political quagmire, Laurence and Temeraire take on a mission to find a way through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But when one of the dragon eggs is stolen from Temeraire, the surveying expedition becomes a desperate race to recover it in time--a race that leads to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new obstacle in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.

The principal problem with Tongues of Serpents is that there was evidently not enough material to fill an entire novel. And though the book weighs in at a scrawny 288 pages, nearly a third of it is just filler material that adds nothing to the story. I feel that both Victory of Eagles and Tongues of Serpent could have been combined into a single work. As seperate entities, they are by far the least impressive books in the series, though the former has a lot more to offer.

With an unmistable historian's eye for details, Novik's depiction of Australia made for an evocative narrative. Unfortunately, the better part of the novel is an uninspired travelogue chronicling Laurence and Temeraire's journey across the country. In the past, I've always loved the author's depiction of the various locales the characters visited. Yet discoveries and revelations kept the plot moving, enticing you to keep on reading and find out what happens next. Paper-thin plotlines preclude the same sort of satisfying reading experience with Tongues of Serpents. Sure, a number of secrets are revealed, but somehow it all feels like some kind of interlude, with the story to be continued in forthcoming books.

I don't know if it's because the short story "Seven Years from Home" in the Warriors anthology showed us Naomi Novik's grittier side, but this time around I couldn't really get into the heretofore engaging relationship between Temeraire and Laurence. The cuteness even became annoying at times. The only truly interesting character was Tharkay.

I've heard that the next volume will be the first installment of a three-book cycle that should bring the series to a close. Let's hope that it's the case, for the proliferation of sequels whose pertinence seems questionable is something I can't abide. There are more than enough existing storylines to build on to bring back what made the Temeraire books so fun and entertaining. Quite a lot seems to be occurring "off stage" in this book, so let's hope that future Temeraire novels will recapture that little something that made us fall in love with the series in the first place.

Should you buy it in hardcover? To be honest, what little you get out of Tongues of Serpents just isn't worth []$ in hardcover. I would suggest to wait for the paperback edition. . .

Considering the quality of its predecessors, Tongues of Serpents fails miserably to live up to expectations. All in all, a disappointment. This coming from a reader who's been a fan of the series from the very start. . .
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn...., 12 Jun 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tongues of Serpents (The Temeraire Series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
Yawn: Tongues of Serpents Delivery (Temeraire)

I have been looking forward to this book for some time now, I remember the speed with which I read the first few books, and how captivated I was by the characters and the period, the slightly archaic vocabulary at times distracting but at others engaging. But over it all following the growth and maturity of Temeraire and Laurence.
But this book which could have promised so much with exploration of new lands, which could have hidden so much....well it almost ended up on the unfinished pile, it was very much like a middle series episode in a miniseries, it left me wondering if Naomi knocked it out to keep the fans tagging along while she works on the film rights etc with Peter Jackson?
I have to say I'm utterly underwhelmed by this book and something serious will have to be going on in the next book to make me spend cash on it.
I'm very disappointed, so much promise, seems to have been killed by author apathy.
(Parm)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive and Unexciting, 4 May 2012
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tongues of Serpents (The Temeraire Series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
After some pretty negative reviews, I put off reading the 6th novel in Naomi Novik's 'Temeraire' series, despite having enjoyed the previous five to varying degrees. However, with the publication of the 7th volume, Crucible of Gold (Temeraire (Unnumbered Hardcover)), which was greeted by some far more positive notices, I felt it was time to catch up. Besides, I thought inwardly before purchasing it, surely Tongues of Serpents can't be as bad as some of the reviews make out.

And it isn't as bad as the worst reviews claim, but nor is it more than just 'Okay'. As many of the other reviews state, Tongues of Serpents suffers from being, frankly, a rather dull book. A slow start segues into a lengthy middle-section that is, as another reviewer points out, one long interminable journey punctuated by dragons arguing with one another. When that journey finally ends it does so with an anti-climactic discovery, a brief burst of action and then the book sort of drifts to an end. At no point did anything on the page generate a real sense of excitement.

At times it almost seemed as if Naomi Novik's skills as a writer had deserted her. It might have been my imagination, but the both the descriptive prose and the dialogue in Tongues of Serpents felt leaden and at times almost garbled. Some of the sentence structures in the book's opening passages were quite frankly baffling and on several occasions I found myself rereading paragraphs to try and make sense of what was being said.

Equally her talents at crafting a compelling narrative also seemed to have gone missing. Not only was the story dull and unengaging; when she did try to liven things up her efforts fell flat. At one point, for example, Temeraire and his companions find themselves threatened by an unseen enemy that is by turns stealthy and deadly. This should have generated as palpable sense of danger and fear, as individuals first go missing inexplicably and then the danger is revealed, but the way the author handles it there is little or no tension generated. Even a passage when Temeraire himself trapped and in direct danger never really takes off.

Other reviewers have put forward various theories as to why the series has suffered such a dip in form with Tongues of Serpents. Personally I think that Naomi Novik, having placed Temeraire and Laurence in Australia, found herself in a narrative cul de sac and didn't really know what to do once she was in there. The result is this hugely underwhelming book.

All I can hope is that, with the precis of the plot of Crucible of Gold suggesting that it will see Temeraire and Laurence leave Oz and rejoin the war effort, the next book provides more action and with it sees the series get back on track after this major hiccup.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tongues of Serpents? Should be called Moaning Dragons, 4 Feb 2011
By 
Erastes (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
Oh my God, what the hell happened? The series has been pretty good so far, and I've enjoyed every single book for its mix of adventure, humour and pathos--but this? What on earth?

Firstly, it just STARTS. Any poor soul who picked up the book without having read any of the previous books would have no clue at all what was going on who anyone was and what the universe was all about. I don't expect a rehash of everything at the beginning of each book, but perhaps a preface would be good?

Also - the version I had had no map--I understand there was a map in some edition.

But the main complaint is that it's BORING. So so boring! There's this endless flight over Australia which is repetitive in the extreme and other than looking for 1. a way through the blue mountains and 2. smugglers and then 3. a stolen egg there's nothing actually going on except flying.

Oh of course other than the dragons bitching. This could be called "Bitching Dragons" because that's about all the conversation there is. When Iskierka was first introduced this was amusing--Temeraire's horror at her appalling behaviour--but now we have a miserable lazy Caesar and a odd runt who is nearly put down from birth.

All the things I liked about the previous books--Roland, the female crew member, the interraction between Laurence and Temeraire, Temeraire's growing republicanism (we can see, can't we that the only place they are going to end up in is America, can't we?) - all this and more was entirely dumped for a long boring road trip. You could precis this book as BITCH BITCH TRAVEL EAT EAT DRINK BITCH TRAVEL BITCH BITCH TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL.

The entire "plot" such as it is, could have been encompassed in a couple of chapter in a new book. Really not recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Antipodean action? yes to Antipodean, no to Action., 20 Jan 2012
By 
D. J. Ketchin "living in books" (Edinburgh Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tongues of Serpents (The Temeraire Series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
This is the sixth book in Naomi Noviks 'Temeraire' series of alternative history.

The Napoleonic war still rages and Temeraire and Laurence have been exiled or 'transported' to the prison colony in New South Wales. Their insistence on passing the cure for the dragonic plague to the enemy has disastrously ended their careers.

This book is a nice read , but the plot is non existent. Its mostly a tour of the Australian outback with a conclusion thats finally something worthy of a next book. The entirety of this book is spent waiting for something interesting to happen. there are various red herrings , such as the possibility of laurence and Temeraire becoming privateers , but this fails to materialise and the book concludes leaving the reader somewhat bemused. As plot devices go - the introduction of new plot threads at the end of this book - could have been revealed in the first chapters via an urgent summons and we could have skipped this books content entirely in favor of the next.

Yes the prose is fine, and we all want to know what Temeraire and Lawrence are up to - but not 300 pages of miserable and pointless introduction to the cast of the next few books. I actually think that this book can be skipped entirely unless you just want a comfortable and easy read. If you just want to judge the book on the prose its a 3 star book, but as part of an ongoing series I find it very difficult to justify its cover price given its lack of content.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much happens, 27 Aug 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tongues of Serpents (The Temeraire Series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
As a long time fan of Novik's Napoleonic dragon series, I really can't wait for each title to land. In this case the heroic duo's tale of exile in Australia due to the events in the previous offering.

Whilst the adventure was there and the familiar characters warm the readers emotions alongside memory, this is perhaps the weakest of the series to date as not much happens. I really hope that Laurence and Temeraire's next outing improves as I'd hate ot see what started with a bang end with a damp squib.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tongues of Serpents, 20 Aug 2010
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In a word, disappointing. The only interest I really found in it, compared with the previous books in the series, was the strong hint that the next one will be set in the Americas. There was more emphasis on a rather tedious plot line this time, and very little attention paid to character. Not a book for re-reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 350 pages of set up, 5 July 2011
By 
John Middleton (Brisbane, QLD, AUST) - See all my reviews
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This is the sixth Temeraire novel, and it is substantially different to those that have come before it, although it is somewhat similar to Empire of Ivory in a way. Laurence and Temeraire have been transported to Australia for treason, along with a few other characters, to start up a dragon-covert in Sydney Cove with three eggs, as there are few local humans, and no local dragons at all. They are sent off to survey the Blue Mountains and find a pass, and have a look for local smugglers. Of course, this ends up turning into a trip across the country, as given away by the map inside the front cover.

At one point there is talk of Laurence and Temeraire taking up privateering and preying on French ships in the East Indies trade, and I must say I would have much preferred to read that novel. I assume thought that this book is basically one - perhaps two - huge plot points for the final trilogy of Temeraire stories. Ok, but did it need all 350 pages to cover those off? Couldn't something else - possibly even something interesting - have happened as well as all that?

The story hums along well enough, but you get to the end and are still really waiting for something to happen. For a series with flying war-dragons and air-to-air combat as a selling point, there is none of that on show here. If you have enjoyed the first five books, read on and try to enjoy this, but don't expect much in the way of fireworks this time around. Its not as good as the first three books, but maybe this is some necessary legwork for a big finale, rather than books 7-9 being more of the same.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik, 28 Nov 2010
By 
Paul (Kettering, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The other 5 books were very good and exciting reads. I cannot believe that Novik wrote this utter tosh. It must be a doppleganger that wrote this surely.

First off it was way to low on page count. There was a lot of missed opportunities in the novel to make it a good read. Gone was the rip roaring action and good realised characters. The Bunyip thread could have been much better and a bit more about that story thread would have been nice. I mean these are the only other "fantasy" race in the book and a great opportunity to realise them just more than the bogey men they were portraed.

Also the inclusion of the Aborigines and their mythology was missed.

I am glad I borrowed this to read, I would not have paid to read this book.

I would say must try better Miss Novik to keep the fans hooked.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Temeraire series, 26 May 2014
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This review is from: Tongues of Serpents (The Temeraire Series, Book 6) (Kindle Edition)
Absolutely fascinating. What a tale! It is always a great pleasure to listen to Temeraire reasoning and his human failings. What a great combination with Laurence character. A great escape from reality.
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