**spoiler alert** Spoilers at the end for the next book preview as well.
Novik is a very good writer so I always find her books hard to put down, but i...more**spoiler alert** Spoilers at the end for the next book preview as well.
Novik is a very good writer so I always find her books hard to put down, but it was difficult for me to get through this book because my dislike for many of the characters grew to the point where I wanted to throw things rather than read one more word from Iskierka, etc.
There were some things I loved about this book. It was nice to see an author take into account the massive amount of death caused by plague after Europeans landed in the Americas, and Novik did some research on the Inca (I assume she's using the plague as an excuse to gloss over their human sacrifices...).
Some things were so long overdue that when they finally happened, you just felt pity for the characters for taking so long. Such was the case with Granby finally standing up to Iskierka. You want to be sympathetic, but on the other hand, this was so long in coming and put so many others through such misery (and us, as the damn readers)... *sigh* I'm also confused that Lawrence is still waffling around trying to protect ladies even though he's been told and shown a million times that they neither need nor want his aide, but barely blinks an eye when his friend tell him he's an invert? (A crime punishable by death in the very navy he came up from.) I needed more explanation for why Lawrence accepts that so easily but can't get it through his head that women are equal to men.
I took a long hiatus after the fifth book because this series pissed me off so much and I might have to take one again now and not read the final book until a couple of years have gone past because the preview makes it seem like they're once again going to be wandering around half the world rather than finishing the damn Napoleonic war. Also, it seems the new book involves Lawrence getting shipwrecked in Japan with added melodramatic amnesia. I have a special hatred for amnesia plots, and for plots about Westerners shipwrecked in Tokugawa era Japan so I'm really not sure if I'll be able to bring myself to read this book at all. (less)
As I was shelving this book, I was looking over my categories and hesitated long and hard over whether I should put it in the Western category because...moreAs I was shelving this book, I was looking over my categories and hesitated long and hard over whether I should put it in the Western category because that is what this book most reminded me of - the long, harsh, but always filled with a natural beauty journeys you find in many a Zane Grey novel. Such journeys are for characters to develop and change, and since I like how Temeraire (and to a lesser extent Lawrence) evolved here, I have little to quarrel with even though the long journey did get dull in places. As someone with an interest in history and a passing fascination with trade companies and their influence on the east, it was great to see a whole new interest insert itself into the picture. These books are one long argument against imperialism sometimes.
(As a whole, the series doesn't make sense since the author treats each area of the world as if it were independent of each other, when in fact most areas interacted through trade for years (China was in trade contact with the Romans for example) and Europe would therefore never have developed the same way it did in our world, a fact which becomes increasingly clear as each huge new difference in non-European areas of the world is revealed. It was enough to stop me reading for quite awhile, but I've since resigned myself to it.)
I was not disappointed in this book. It was a great improvement on the angst of the last book, and I have read enough fantasy novels to know that the ending does not mean anything in the long run. Now if only I could decide if I should put it on my Western shelves or not...(less)
**spoiler alert** It took me two tries to finish reading this book and I actually had to get some spoilers by reading the synopsis of the sixth book b...more**spoiler alert** It took me two tries to finish reading this book and I actually had to get some spoilers by reading the synopsis of the sixth book before I could force myself to go through with it. Why? Because I hate angst and it was near unrelenting in its' pace in this book, and when there wasn't angst, I was forced to pay attention to the antics of a million new characters who, other than Wellington and Perscita, I didn't give a fig about.
It gets three stars and not two from me though, because I'm thoroughly aware this is my personal preference, not a reflection of the author's abilities. There were things I liked like how Temeraire actually has the exact same mannerism as Lawrence of falling back on politeness when he's been taken aback, and Wellington was a joy, enough so to make me want to reread my Sharpe novels. On the other hand, there were things I disliked beside the angst like the fact that for someone who loves Lawrence so thoroughly, Temeraire doesn't seem to understand him at all.
I appreciate that the author did a good job of writing a believable battle at the end there, though with Napoleon alive and uncaptured, I feel a great weariness that there's probably more fighting to come. With that in mind, the endings a good thing. (less)