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His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1)

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  36,114 ratings  ·  3,067 reviews
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordi ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 356 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Del Rey
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Donna The books aren't related in any way, so you can read either one first, depending upon what you're in the mood to read. I read Uprooted first and loved…moreThe books aren't related in any way, so you can read either one first, depending upon what you're in the mood to read. I read Uprooted first and loved it, and now I'm starting in on this series which has a completely different feel, but seems well written, too. (less)
Dustin Not in any measurable amount. A sliver's worth now and then. I certainly wouldn't consider it a romance novel.

More of a bromance, I guess.…more
Not in any measurable amount. A sliver's worth now and then. I certainly wouldn't consider it a romance novel.

More of a bromance, I guess.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dafna
Jul 11, 2007 Dafna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
God, I admit, I'm one of those douchey fucks that look down on fantasy readers while I sit firmly ensconced in my igloo composed of "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron" and "Star Trek: The Lost Years" books. Of course, it'd be a book about dragons fighting for the British army against the encroaching Napoleonic forces to get to me to realize: DRAGONS ARE FUCKING COOL.

Especially dragons with awesome Han Solo type female riders and plucky young girls manning the gunnery and uptight, strong silent type men
...more
Irene
I wasn't expecting much when I picked up His Majesty's Dragon. To tell the truth, if I'd seen it in a bookstore, I wouldn't have picked it up. But it was recommended to me by a reliable source as a better alternative to Eragon, and it was a historical fantasy set during the Napoleonic Wars. I figured I'd give it a try. I didn't regret it.

I don't love this book because Naomi Novik's writing style is equal to that of Tolkien. I don't love this book because it's perfect in every way - indeed, some
...more
Jessica ❁ Elsecaller ❁ at Rabid Reads
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

This isn't my first Novik read. In fact, the whole reason I finally got on with reading His Majesty's Dragon is b/c I read and absolutely adored Uprooted . But Uprooted isn't being released until May, so this is the first Novik review I've posted.

Same and not the same, people. Same and not the same.

Meet Will Laurence:

description

Laurence is a Captain in the British Navy. He is a perfect gentlemen. He is ostentatiously dull.

And while there is significant character growth throughout
...more
Jim
A very engaging book, I read it in a few hours on a very cold Sunday afternoon & evening. I didn't want to put it down. Historically, it is set about the early 19th century during Napoleon's reign. Told from the POV of a British sea captain, but the twist is that dragons are a part of the war effort between the two. Our captain/hero gets caught up in that part of the war.

Characterization is very good as is the portrayal of British society & military. There isn't a lot of military detail
...more
Robert
Nov 06, 2007 Robert rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Bored SF fans
This is a tough one to review in some ways. First, I've read lots of "dragon books", and this is far, far from the best. For one thing, I'm a physicist and while I'm willing to suspend disbelief up to a certain point, the image of dragons capable of carrying anywhere from tens to hundreds of humans at a time (plus weapons and armor!) for distances that again range from tens to hundreds of miles in a day just does not compute. Let me count the ways it violates natural law, not just by a little bi ...more
Mj
I'm amazed at how many people enjoyed this book. The premise is fascinating and extremely creative. And for that it avoids a single star. Otherwise, the characters are bland, there is minuscule character development to speak of, and THERE ARE NO REAL CONFLICTS. Every conflict is conveniently tied up with no trade offs. This isn't fantasy, it's day dream.
By far, the most amusing portion of the book is the conversations between Laurence (the protagonist) and Temeraire (the dragon)-amusing to the
...more
Katie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
It took me a long time to get around to reading this, which is a shame, because it’s delightful. If you like historical fantasy at all, you’re almost certain to enjoy this book.

Will Laurence is a captain in His Majesty’s Navy at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, and it looks a lot like the Navy you’d see in a Patrick O’Brien book--all protocol and taking enemy ships for profit--until his ship captures a precious dragon egg and Laurence is sent off the Aerial Corps to be captain of the dragon inst
...more
Vinaya
Feb 21, 2011 Vinaya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: The Paolini Hate Club
I read His Majesty's Dragon when it first came out in 2006. The Eragon craze was in full swing, and everybody but me was raving about the book, it seemed. I have had a fascination with dragons ever since I watched Dragonheart (which made me cry like a baby!). Paolini's immature rendition of a draconian 'plaything' made me crave some decent writing. A friend recommended the Temeraire series, and it was the biggest favour he's ever done me, then or since.

Sometimes when I re-read books that I read
...more
Mpauli
In this alternate reality series, the napoleonic era is enrichened by dragons. So, battles started way earlier being not only fought at land and sea, but also in the air.

As british navy Cpatain Laurence seizes a french frigate, a dragon egg is found within and it's about to hatch. As dragons bind to the first person that is able to harness them, Laurence unexpectately becomes the handler of Temeraire, the dragon inside the egg.

For Laurence this means that his life as a navy captain is changed up
...more
Gar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
Naomi Novik's Temeraire books are set in an alternate reality in which dragons are found around the world, are intelligent and have allowed themselves to be linked to a rider.

Set during the Napoleonic Wars the drgaons are, at this point, recruited by both sides as an Air Force changing the way the war actually went by adding in an extra element. The main characters are Temeraire, a Chinese dragon whose egg was captured from the French, and his handler, Capt. Laurence.

From the start I found the
...more
Chloe
Napoleonic wars with dragons. Really, do you need much more of an explanation? These are dragons written how I always wished they were, in a world that I care about. Alternate histories are dicey things- either the author hews too closely to the original events for the story to take on its own life or the history just serves as a lure to get unsuspecting nerds to take the plunge. Novik pulls off the ultimate balancing act, however, weighing Nelson's naval maneuvers with aerial raids from French ...more
Stephen
4.5 to 5.0 stars. Outstanding beginning to what looks like a great series. Excellent back story/ world-building making the presence of Dragons in the time of Napoleon seem very realistic. As great as that was, what carried the story was the superbly written relationship between Temeraire and Capt. Lawrence. Highly recommended.

Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2007)
Winner: Locus Award for Best First Novel (2007)
Allison
His Majesty’s Dragon is a historical fantasy set during the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s. There isn’t really any magic in this alternate history, and there is really only one difference, which is - obviously - the existence of dragons. I love the way that Novik interweaves dragons with what really happened, giving them a place in history as it played out. It’s such a subtle change, really. Humans use dragons in war. They have entire units of them to supplement naval battles. They are not a ...more
Beanbag Love
I'd actually give this a 4.5. I found it intriguing and hard to put down. It was different from many books I've read recently.

This is an alternative history where dragons are a part of the military and have a long tradition of bonding with their 'aviators' and fighting international skirmishes.

I won't go into much detail because it's laid out so nicely in the book it's a joy to read it fresh. I will say that this takes place during the Napoleonic wars and it's set in England. It isn't romance, a
...more
Jenny Maloney
I picked this book up (and it's two follow-ups) because there was a great write-up in Writer's Digest about how Novik turned this story into a 'great new series'. Um, after reading it, I'm not sure quite how she managed that.

There are scenes. Sometimes really exciting scenes. But I fail to see the over-arching problem...and I don't know how you would drive a whole series without a bigger problem. The relationship between the rider, Laurence, and the dragon, Temeraire, is strange...to say the le
...more
AH
Let’s go back to the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon was trying to conquer Europe and Britain. Now let’s just alter the history, just a tad, and imagine these wars fought aerially with dragons and imagine what an aerial battle would entail during this era.

His Majesty’s Dragon struck me as an original, entertaining read. A lot of detail went into this story and at times it was a little difficult for me to imagine a fully outfitted dragon flying off into battle carrying his harness, his avi
...more
Maria Snyder
Just when you thought Dragons had done it all - along comes Naomi's book. Dragons fighting in the Napoleonic Wars - I was reluctant to read it at first, thinking it would be heavy on the military aspect. But when it was nominated for a Compton Crook, I picked it up and was surprised. The war is a part of the setting and plot, but the characters are the stars of the show. Both Lawrence and his dragon.

PS: Naomi won the Compton Crook.
Anna-louise
No i couldn't finish! I was getting to the point where i was not looking forward to reading and i don't think life its long enough to read books that make you think that.

So why didn't i finish? Well pure and quite simply the main character is about as exciting as someone telling me they enjoy cars, oh and football in detail! Booorrrinnngggggg! the saving grace in the book is the dragons and that's why it was OK and 2 stars. I love history and alt. history is fun, but just oh my goodness this bo
...more
Ben Babcock
Have you ever taken a good, long look at the Napoleonic Wars and thought, “These are cool, but they could really use more dragons”? Naomi Novik did, so she wrote a book about it.

That’s really all you need to know about the Temeraire series: if it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then it’s not going to change your mind about dragons or about the Napoleonic Wars. But if it sounds awesome, then you’re in for a treat. I originally gave this five stars when I added it to Goodreads, having read it
...more
Joseph
Laurence read the final sentence and placed the book down. He was tired after a long day of training and eager to fall asleep, but he sensed Temeraire's energy, knowing his companion had something to say. 'How did you like the book?' Laurence asked.

'I enjoyed it.' Temeraire said 'I liked the dragons and the people. They all felt real and comfortable... when we got to know them.'

'But perhaps we didn't always get to know them?' Laurence asked as he closed his eyes and leaned into Tereraire's warm
...more
Nathan
Fantasy Review Barn

Oh friggen sweet. Ok, so here’s how it is. This stuffy British sea captain wipes the deck with a frenchie ship (ha, wipes the deck). When they take control of the ship it has this giant egg on it, because it turns out there are dragons. This egg is about to hatch so he makes his crew draw straws on who is going to be its best bud because these crazy people don’t want their very own dragon and it is a punishment or something. But when the egg hatchets and the loser kid tries to
...more
Brad
It would be easy to slip into hyperbole about His Majesty's Dragon, so before I get to the hyperbole I want to make it clear that while I did enjoy Naomi Novik's story of dragon riding in Napoleonic Europe, it is not the most amazing book ever. Although I will probably continue in the series, it isn't at the top of my to read list.

Now for the hyperbole.

His Majesty's Dragon is very entertaining. Novik sweeps us into the world of her dragonriders and delivers action at a perfect pitch, even makin
...more
Jamie
Jul 24, 2008 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jamie by: Julie Carter
Horatio Hornblower meets Dragonriders of Pern. This is a really fun, light read. It's predictable - you can see plot twists coming a mile away, but that doesn't make the story any less satisfying.

There's no magic in this book. It's an alternate history where dragons are a normal part of warfare. The author is pretty good at making it a believable story, even if you might raise one eyebrow a little at dragons capable of carrying a dozen men or more.

I do love Regency England, especially the dialog
...more
Kathleen
4.5 stars, because I found myself listening again and again to favorite parts. Wow. Narrated by Simon Vance, who is fast becoming a favorite storyteller, even though I wasn't totally satisfied with how he portrayed the dragon, Temeraire. But maybe as he grows into an adult, his voice will deepen —the hatchling, not Simon.

This book won several awards. According to Novik, Peter Jackson is considering this series for the big screen. The author is currently writing one final book; book 9 — League o
...more
Jonathan
A brilliant take on the dragon-rider concept. Naomi Novik takes a much used concept (featured in Eragon, The Dragonriders of Pern and countless other fantasy novels) and plunges it into a fictional history during the Napoleonic Wars.

As someone who is both a fan of history and fantasy I found this very enjoyable to be reading a novel incorporating both aspects in an enjoyable and excellent manner. His Majesty's Dragon was both short and at the same time well written.

The tale of a man devoted to
...more
Kelly
I believe I can safely say that this is the first and likely only book in which I finished it and thought: "OMG, I want to hug a dragon."

Temeraire is sooo adorable. Can I say that about a dragon? He is, though! Lovable, intelligent, sincere, earnest, and AWESOME. Novik has a wonderful creation in Temeraire. He's appealing to read about, even without the drama of battle and human relations surrounding him. I give the books an extra star just for him.

As evidenced by the fact that I finished this i
...more
Monica
This is a lighthearted series with an exciting plot line. Temeraire is an irresistible character, and getting to know him in this first book is one of my favorite parts of the whole series. I love that Novik combined dragons with the ordered warfare of the times of Napoleon. Dragons are usually portrayed as savage and unpredictable creatures, and to read about them in such a proper and formal setting was a distinctive treat. I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of fantasy, especially ...more
Richard
Mar 23, 2009 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pretty much anyone that enjoys fantasy fiction, even a little.
Recommended to Richard by: SciFi & Fantasy Group 2008-12 Fantasy Selection
Shelves: fantasy, bookclub, series
This was the Fantasy selection for the Goodreads SciFi and Fantasy Book Club for the month of December 2008. Visit this link to see all of the discussions, group member reviews, etc.

Some very trivial spoilers are, I suppose, present below. But not really anything more detailed than one could discover in the book's marketing copy and promotional blurbs. But if you are hypersensitive, then skip to the next review...

I thought it was charming that the first blurb inside the front cover of my paperba
...more
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An avid reader of fantasy literature since age six, when she first made her way through The Lord of the Rings, Naomi Novik is also a history buff with a particular interest in the Napoleonic era and a fondness for the work of Patrick O’Brian and Jane Austen. She studied English literature at Brown University, and did graduate work in computer science at Columbia University before leaving to partic ...more
More about Naomi Novik...

Other Books in the Series

Temeraire (9 books)
  • Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2)
  • Black Powder War (Temeraire #3)
  • Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, #4)
  • Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5)
  • Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire, #6)
  • Crucible of Gold (Temeraire, #7)
  • Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire, #8)
  • League of Dragons (Temeraire, #9)
Throne of Jade (Temeraire, #2) Black Powder War (Temeraire #3) Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, #4) Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5) Uprooted

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“I should rather have you than a heap of gold, even if it were very comfortable to sleep on.” 111 likes
“Temeraire said, 'It is very nice how many books there are, indeed. And on so many subjects!” 53 likes
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