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on 4 June 2017
'Emily and the other two runners were already waiting by Temeraire’s side with the heavy bags of post that had accumulated for the fleet.' Same ending to two paragraphs with only one paragraph in between.
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on 29 November 2017
I really loved this book. I loved the characters and the story. Don't usually read this type of book, but I am very glad I did. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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on 17 January 2018
Very interesting and a good read, especially for those who enjoy historical fiction and just plain history. Some parts were slightly less interesting but persevere with it and you'll find it a very enjoyable book.
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on 15 August 2017
Love it. Felt really original in set up for a fantasy novel. Great characters and love the depiction of the Dragons, I find them to be like intelligent dogs in their mannerisms, characters and loyalty. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
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on 10 April 2017
Enjoying book Thank you
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on 31 May 2014
A marvellous alternative history of the Napoleonic Wars with dragons. Well written, past paced with believable characters and dialogue. Excellent.
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VINE VOICEon 14 November 2009
Set in an alternate history where dragons are a vital weapon in military conflicts, Captain William Laurence's life changes forever after he finds an egg on board a captured French frigate. The egg hatches into a dragon named Temeraire who will only accept Laurence as its rider. Duty compels Laurence to leave the Navy, give up any chance of having a family and join the Aerial Corps where he must adjust to life with an inquisitive, fiercely intelligent dragon and the less formal structure of the Corps, which allows women in its ranks and even has a dragon instructor. As Laurence slowly forms friendships with Captain Roland (a scarred female captain and mother to one of the Corps' cadets) and Hollin (a member of Temeraire's ground crew), England is threatened by the superior numbers of Napoleon's dragon forces and soon Laurence and Temeraire find themselves playing a key role in the country's defence.

There is much to enjoy in this book. The concept of using dragons as aeronautical ships (complete with crews and gunmen latched on with harnesses) is well depicted and Novik's aeronautical battles are vivid and exciting. Also well handled is the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire, the latter having a child-like quality without ever falling into tweeness. In fact the only jarring note is Laurence's constant use of "my dear" when addressing Temeraire, a form of address that doesn't quite ring true.

Unfortunately, the other relationships in the book lack the same depth and there is little real story beyond the relationship between master and dragon. For example, a storyline establishing Laurence's romantic understanding with Edith is dispensed with in a cursory fashion, while the arrival of a French rider called Choiseul plays out in too predictable a manner. The only sub-plot that holds any punch involves Rankin, a captain who deprives his dragon Levitas of love and kindness and who comes into conflict with Laurence as a result.

Novik's writing style apes 19th century literary style and her research creates an authentic period feel. However there's some serious semi-colon abuse in the opening half of the book, which frequently threw me out of the text and at times the descriptions of all the types of dragon was confusing.

The book ends with a set-up for the next in the series, and there's enough enjoyment to be derived from the story for me to read on.
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on 4 September 2017
I binge read the entire series in two weeks, which was a satisfying approach as there is a definite sociopolitical edge as the series progresses and the difference that dragons can make to a society's progression becomes more apparent. I like authors like Ursula K. LeGuin who examine cultural influences, as well as alternative history series like the early Alvin Maker books. Novik has done a very good job here of fusing the two genres to the betterment of both. The first book can be read purely as a ripping yarn, but the later books add complexity and meaning.
This is one of the few works that I will be turning around and rereading immediately to examine the craft of how they were written instead of just how the plot develops.
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on 18 May 2017
Extraordinary story telling. As only the truly great story tellers can, this book is good for young and adults alike. Clever also in that it is not a one sided i.e., male or female story, but great for one and all. Novik's characters are strong and she has the "voice" of each so that you immediately fall into their world. The different breeds of dragon and the descriptive content, reminds one of enjoying the early Rowling HP books. Novik's knowledge of history comes through strongly and adds a clever context that helps build the foundation to what is a cracking read. Great characters, great plot, real suspense and adventure. Read it to your younger children as a bed time story, or encourage your children to read it as they get older - or just enjoy the pleasure of it as an adult. In that sense it has the magic of The Hobbit. Brilliant.
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on 14 December 2014
Temeraire takes an interesting concept and launches it into a multi-book series (there are nine planned) which has attracted attention from Peter Jackson (of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fame) who has said that it might make a good TV series. To be honest, the attention that he brought to the book attracted me.
If you have read or seen Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Single Disc Edition) [DVD] [2003] and can remmber Jack Aubrey, the intelligent, cultivated and well-mannered captain then you have already met Captain William Laurence who is just as stiffly devoted to the sea and crew of his ship. But, imagine the very same wrenched away from the sea, and any chance of continuing his long-suffering romance on shore, to be the unwilling and unlucky object of attachment, and responsibility ensuing, that the imprinting of a newly hatched dragon to him ensures. There is no shirking this responsibility, and he doesn't hesitate for a moment, but what he finds as an old hand in a new world is not quite so awful as he first thought.
Lawrence names the somewhat unusual dragon after a famous ship-of-the-line. I thought it quite peculiar that the dragon spoke so soon after being hatched and speaks the King's English at that. Yet, this is an especially intelligent beast that learns in its gestation, within the egg, taking in the language of those around him. So, we have a relationship almost of a thoughtful, indulgent father and passive but keen child. But what a child! These dragons grow very rapidly to enormous sizes so they need to be crewed with maybe 20 men who take different firing positions and have various duties.
As other reviewers have commented, there could have been more editing to speed the story along. I am no teenager but I still found the story dragged around issues of rigging and training the beasts. But, the fact that there is a series ahead somehow gives me confidence that these issues will drop away if we persevere.
Which I think I will.
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