So yeah, my worries about this series going downhill after Throne of Jade were completely unnecessary!
A few mindblowinglyTEMERAIRE IS BACK, BITCHES!
So yeah, my worries about this series going downhill after Throne of Jade were completely unnecessary!
A few mindblowingly awesometacular things Black Powder War brough to this series:
-Tharkay. That is all. Tharkay alone is enough reason to read this series. Without spoiling anything about him, I can pretty much guarantee that you will find Tharkay, in and of himself, mindblowingly awesometacular.
-The trip around the world was way, way better executed in this book. It gave us some seriously awesome scenes, and the world-building in this series is downright astounding.
-SOOO many awesome fight scenes. SOOOO much funny! SOOO much intrigue, drama, love and just-ansjalcnasf!!!
-Lien and Napoleon Bonaparte are working together. Awesome team up is awesome!
-Dear god, the men in this series! Laurence - the stoic, heroic, bloody sexy gentleman I fell in love with in book 1 - is back, along with his lovable Second in Command Granby, and now we have Tharkay too! (READ. THIS. SERIES. IT GAVE US THARKAY!)
-Iskierka! To avoid spoilers, I will say only two words: EPIC WIN!
And that, folks, in only the tip of the iceberg! If I was to list all the awesome things about this series, I would be here all night, but I'm sleep-deprived as it is. I will, however, end on this note:
PETER FUCKING JACKSON HAS OPTIONED THIS SERIES!!! HE'S DEBATING WHETHER TO MAKE IT A MOVIE OR A SERIES! I BEG OF YOU! I WOULD WATCH THAT SHIT TO DEATH! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! ...more
**spoiler alert** There will be serious spoilers in this review. Seriously. Spoilery.
2,5 stars, but I'm sad to say that I can't round this off to thre**spoiler alert** There will be serious spoilers in this review. Seriously. Spoilery.
2,5 stars, but I'm sad to say that I can't round this off to three stars. It's just not good enough.
I loved His Majesty's Dragon, I really did. I loved the setting, the world, the action, and most of all, the characters. It was epic, and emotional, and nerve-wrecking, and fun.
Throne of Jade are all of those things as well. Just not all the time. Actually, not even most of the time. It drags, is what I'm saying. The bigger part of the book is spent during the eight months that it takes for Laurence and Temeraire to get to China. Okay, I know eight months is a long time, and if Naomi Novik was trying to get across just HOW long, then she really succeeded. Which is all fine and dandy, EXCEPT THAT IT EVENTUALLY GROWS OLD. I feel like several large chunks could have been cut out; there was so much that didn't further the story, so much meandering and repetition: so much that just didn't have to be there.
But, worst of all by far, is that after that longass trip to China, the actual events IN China are rushed!
Are you serious? Are you actually serious? The book is called THE THRONE OF JADE, and yet we only get to the actual Throne of Jade in the last fourth or so?! BTW, don't expect an explanation why it's called the Throne of Jade: the emperor and everybody dresses in yellow clothes, AND they never really use the name. As of right now, I'm not even sure it's actually called 'the Throne of Jade'. Novik might just have used it because it sounds epic.
But I digress. Where was I? ...Ah yes, the part in China is rushed. And I mean it: Temeraire gets a love interest (it's even hinted that they have sex!), which is LITERALLY never introduced. Suddenly, she's just there. The same goes for the crown-prince of China, who's supposedly an important character, but I don't think he had a single line. Laurence and his men are attacked by some group from a province that had never been introduced , and on top of that, they never step back after the attack and honestly ask 'Wait, why where those people after us?' In the very last chapter, we're told that the death of the bad guy has shifted the power-struggle back into favour of the crown-prince, BUT WE WERE NEVER INTRODUCED TO THIS POWER-STRUGGLE TO BEGIN WITH! And it just goes on and on like that: Novik hints at things which seem interesting, but she never fucking develops them. Instead, she focuses on a few simple things, and it gets boring.
But, you know, I'm a pretty forgiving fellow. Even with all these flaws, I would have been able to give this book 3,5 starts. After all: the fight-scenes are still extremely good, the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire is taken in a new direction, the different cultures and their treatment of dragons was extremely interesting, the characters are still good, without a simple, boring 'bad guy' or other stereotypes, and I still laugh out loud at parts.
But no. I'm so sorry, no. Because on top of all these flaws, there were the little things.
You know what I'm talking about, fellow readers and reviewers; the little things that doesn't quite ring true to you; the little things that grinds at you and can be outright aggravating if stumbled upon too many times.
Throne of Jade is full of those little things. Most prominently, there is something slightly off about Laurence and Temeraire. Laurence is just... he feels insanely passive, something I never experienced in the first book. Oh, he makes a big show of standing up to the Chinese when they try to separate him from his dragon, but when it comes to stuff like the diplomacy and relations and, y'know, the stuff that actually matters, he doesn't really try to understand anything! At times, his allies sit at the same table and discuss political elements and moves that directly affects him and Temeraire, yet he doesn't seem to care. Really?
As for Temeraire... remember in the first book, how when another dragon lost their rider, he was miserable for like a week? Yeah, well, in this book, he practically murders another dragon's rider right before her eyes, and doesn't seem to have any qualms about it. He kills a sea serpent that's trying to eat the crew of his ship, and it tears him up completely. Yet when it comes to another dragon - his cousin, at that - losing her rider, he just snorts at her.
The climax is another one of those little things: a fight between two giant dragons should feel way more epic than that! We know Novik can write kick-ass battle-scenes, so why is this so unimaginative? Also, why the fuck does Laurence stay for the fight?! I know he's Temeraire's rider and everything, but someone just tried to assasinate him! Yet everybody, including Grandby, who's been very protective of Laurence this whole book, just leaves him there alone!
Umm, guys, what if the assassin had a companion or a backup-plan? Nobody's worried about that? Just sayin'...
Oh, and at the end, Laurence is adopted by the insanely traditional, suspicious-of-strangers royal family.
It fits because the hippo kinda talks like the people in this series!
All of this: the big stuff, the little things, coupled with the fact that I was looking forward to this book like mad, has left me very disappointed. I will continue with this series, but something had to change, or I'll leave it!
I finished this book a week ago, but due to a storm here in Sweden, my internet has been fucked up (pardon my French). Eh, whatcha gonna do?
This bookI finished this book a week ago, but due to a storm here in Sweden, my internet has been fucked up (pardon my French). Eh, whatcha gonna do?
This book is stunning. I was gonna wait until Christmas and ask for the sequel as a present, but I can't wait that long. I'm buying it tomorrow (waited this long only because I had to make room in my otherwise tight budget). There is not a single aspect of it that I disagree with. The story-telling is superb, I love all the characters, the concept is fresh and engaging, and the battle-scenes literally had my hands shaking!
Oh, and did I mention: FUCKING DRAGONS!!!
I haven't been this blown away since I read Harry Potter at the tender age of eleven, and that was the book which opened the world of literature to me, and made me realize my dream of becoming a writer. If I wasn't already a hard-core dragon-fan (and by the way: why the fuck hasn't there been a huge dragon-hype yet?! I mean we get some true masterpieces every now and then, like "How to train you dragon" and, well... this, but nothing along the lines of the vampire, angel or dystopian-hypes. Why the hell not?! They're DRAGONS! Do I even need to explain how fucking awesome they are, and how many different concepts you can come up with?! THEY'RE DRAGONS!)
Ehrm... sorry about that... Where was I?
Moving on! As far as story-telling goes, Naomi Novik uses a brilliant technique: every time I got even the vaguest thought that 'this is getting boring', she jumped ahead to a more exciting part. It was like she could FEEL when the reader needed something new, and responded to it. How did she do that?!
And if you're worried that this technique harms the flow in any way: don't be. It doesn’t happen often at all (because honestly? There’s very little boring stuff in this book to begin with) and she flawlessly weaves in all the information you need, until the jump feels as natural as breathing. Brilliant!
As for the characters… where do I even start? Contrary to many others, Temeraire is NOT my favourite (though he’s high on the list, make no mistake).
I’m actually kind of in love with Laurence. He’s kind, he’s brave, he’s honourable and confident – a true gentleman in every sense of the word. This is the kind of guy I want to marry. As a matter of fact, if I ever have any daughters (Instead of the triplet-boys I’ve got planned), I’m gonna make them read this book and be like “Girls, if you’re gonna go all boy-crazy on me, make sure that this is the kind of guy you’re drooling over, and not some drama queen-vampire with eyebrows so heavy that they’re practically crushing his eyes.” You know what? I might take it one step further! If anyone ever asks me what I look for in a man, I’ll hand them this book and tell them to do their homework. And I don’t give a crap that my ex-boyfriend thinks that books are one of the biggest turnoffs on the planet!
But anyway… aside from my Laurence-crush, the other characters, while rather in the background, were wonderfully vivid as well! Berkely, Maximus, Harcourt and Lily had rather small roles considering, but I liked them anyway. Another honourable mention goes to Granby, whom I also kind of love, and Jane Roland. Dear god, that woman was made of pure awesome: her personality, her looks, her role as a skilled aviator and Laurence’s on-off lover… what a woman!
Oh, and Temeraire is pretty much the most adorable and awesome dragon ever. That goes without saying.
What’s next… ah, yes. EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN FLIGHT-SCENE WAS UNIQUE AND WONDERFULLY VIVID. HOW DOES SHE DO THAT?! HOW?! I HAVE TO KNOW!
Furthermore, the concept and setting… it’s the Napoleonic Wars with dragons.
Do I have to say anything more? Do I really?
It actually boggles my mind how anyone can NOT like this book – and that’s not something I say very often. I can usually understand why people feel a certain way about a book, even if I don’t agree. But this… this is just so awesome.
One of the main complaints I’ve heard while browsing the reviews is that the book doesn’t have a plot: that it’s just a bunch of very nice scenes and no overall issue. Needless to say, I COMPLETELY disagree with this. Laurence and Temeraire’s lives, the way they get intertwined and face hardships together… that’s more than enough plot to last a lifetime, in my opinion. It’s not like they have no problems; there are plenty of conflicts – social, personal and political – all of which comes up naturally as the story progresses.
I just don’t understand… what is it, more specifically, that these critics think should be in there?
So, in conclusion, this is definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I can’t wait to read the sequel!
Oh, and one more thing: the titles of all the books in this series are so kick-ass! ...more
Seriously, people. Where do I begin? Where to I even begin?
Okay, so... read this book. You need to read it. Yes, you. I'm talking to you personally. You need to go out, to a book-store, or onto the internet, and get this book. Because there is no way I can put into words what this book does to a person. Heck, I tried earlier tonight to give my best friend a brief summary, and I ended up going "Well, there's this kingdom with twelve dragons, and uh... there's a lot of political power-struggle and a war happens and, uh... this girl who dresses up as a guy and nobody knows and now she must, uh... save the world and... and... it's complicated."
Like the masterpiece that is Fullmetal Alchemist, there are numerous layers to this story, and they are all handled with care. On one hand, we have the twelve celestial dragons and their dragoneyes, which is a fascinating story all of its own. The book could have easily focused on only that, but no. Instead, it is masterfully interwoven with the political situation of this kingdom, the power-struggle between the rebels, the emperor and the treacherous high lord.
On the other hand, we have Eona and the rest of the cast, which is so complex and delightfully multifaceted that it almost feels like Mrs. Goodman isn't showing enough sometimes. I don't know about you, but I could have easily gone with more Ryko and Dela action, not to mention Chart and Rilla and Kinra and Lillia and Yuso and, especially, the delightfully evil villain that I love to hate: Sethon.
I almost feel like this story should have been a character ensemble because there was so much development of personalities, motivations, and relationships going on. Then again, that would have meant giving up Eona as a narrator, which would have been a terrible loss, since she is so very conflicted, so very complex, and so very human in everything she does.
Eona, as a character, most certainly won't appeal to everyone; she is very frustrating to read about. The trick, for me at least, is that we can understand her choices. Half of the time, you have no idea who to trust; who is manipulating whom, and what hidden agenda is behind every word. If you, as the reader outside the story, can't see that, how is Eona, caught in the fray with her heart, life, and soul at stake, supposed to cope?
As for the situation between her, Kygo and Ido (I refuse to call it a 'love-triangle', because that would bunch it up with Twilight and the Hunger Games.
I will never, ever, ever, bunch this book up with Twilight and the Hunger Games.)
That being said, their situation was handled with skill: it was creepy and twisted, but also kind of intriguing and sexy at the same time. I had such a hard time categorizing Ido, until I realized that there was no need to categorize him; that he was just as much of a flawed, human character as the rest of the cast. That, to me, is great writing!
So, if I liked this book so much, why not the Big Five?
Well, that is simply because I wanted more, after the end. The climax was amazing, but I have so many questions about what happened then. I'm not only talking about the big ones, such as "How do they rebuild and cope?", though I certainly wouldn't have minded some exploration of that. I'm talking about what happened to Vida, and Chart, and Rilla. I wanted to see how the relationships that had been put under so much strain would recover, or if they fell apart completely. I wanted to see the grief, the moving on, the hope for a better tomorrow.
But, all in all, Eona took every issue I have with Eon and made it right. While you may not love every aspect of the book, this is one of the few books that I dare recommend to everyone, because I do believe that there is something for everyone in it. Don't miss out!
There's an authenticity to this book that I haven't felt in a long time. Alison Goodman knows her shit: the world-building is rock-solid, and I can'tThere's an authenticity to this book that I haven't felt in a long time. Alison Goodman knows her shit: the world-building is rock-solid, and I can't think of a single time when I saw the strings, so to speak. However, the great portrayal of culture had both its upsides and downsides: I loved the story in its entirety, but found myself hating parts of this world - most prominently: the slavery - just BECAUSE it was so well-portrayed. In other, less real books, when I read about suppression and discrimination, it never quite touched me in the same way, because hey, I can feel that it's not real. Here... it hit a little too close to home.
That being said... I'm not seriously going to complain about a book telling the story TOO well!
A sense of realism isn't all Eon: Dragoneye Reborn has got going for it. Goodman's writing-style is equally wonderful: simple but elegant. The characters are vivid, interesting, and believable, the themes of gender and sexuality handled with maturity and an open mind. The political intrigue also felt very real, and thankfully didn't rely on any stale love-triangles or forced plot-elements. (YA, I'm looking at you.)
It wasn't all fun and games though. While the book is interesting all the way through, the twists were painfully obvious. And I mean PAINFULLY! It was incredibly frustrating to read about Eon's fear and confusion - even more so because Eon is a very intelligent character. And I don't just mean that the writer says she's intelligent (YA, I'm looking at you again), but you genuinely get the sense that this is a person with a good head on their shoulders. I found myself thinking 'Come on, Eon, you're too smart to miss something this obvious'.
At the same time, when they finally did reach the right conclusion in the last 200 pages or so, the relief I felt was so much greater. And speaking of the last 200 pages: WOW! What a climax! Starting from (view spoiler)[the Emperor's death (hide spoiler)], I really could not put the book down. I read for nearly two hours past my usual bedtime, because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!
So, overall, an amazing read! It met my expectations, and surpassed them in some areas! I would highly recommend this to everyone!
Okay, I'm off to order the sequel! (view spoiler)[Here's to hoping for a romance between Eona and the Pearl Emperor! (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more