volume 1 is the prologue of the story - a plucky university student that hasn't at all come into her own as a mechanical inventor has a mysteriously-alluded to past, and the set up for a potentially conflicted future. the art has bucketloads of fun little flourishes hidden off to the edges, but it's also more than a little cutesy for my taste. totally diving right on into vol.2....more
'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasa'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasantness at home (being drug through the gossip rags, abandonment, murder attempts, etc), and therefore neatly avoiding her idiot husband. it's a fun romp through one wacky cliffhanger escape after another, and you don't even realize that nothing actually happened until the end. ...more
in which the chinese ambassadors show up to britain demanding the return of the dragon egg they gave away to Napoleon, and amaybe closer to 3.5 stars.
in which the chinese ambassadors show up to britain demanding the return of the dragon egg they gave away to Napoleon, and are appalled that said dragon is in the line of fire of battle; Temeraire & Laurence sail off t china to sort out the mess.
this is definitely the "middle" book of a trilogy (yeah, i know, the series goes on way more than that, but this is what 'throne of jade' feels like). the major battle of the first book has been won, and so we go off on a far less immediately life-or-death journey to solve some left-over questions, but not necessarily engage in the same swashbuckling adventure. it's a slower paced book, heavier on political intrigue and waiting in anterooms than naval battles and explosions. i loved how the cultural differences of britain and china of time are extrapolated into the different views on how dragons live in different societies. without being even a little cliff-hanger-y, the ending is left wide open for the duo to sail into whatever sunset takes the author's fancy....more
starts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/astarts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/alternate history. massive bonus points for having both male and female main characters be actual well-rounded characters, not just stock-issued love interests or generic ass kickers.
random PSA for the day: this is SO not steampunk, guys. they may be wearing corsets and outdated fashion for the whims of their centuries-old undead monarch, but they have cell phones and cars, not dirigibles and clockwork....more
this may be the ultimate of all wish-fulfillment fantasy books. yeah, fiction offers the opportunity to be picked for hogwarts, or travel through a wathis may be the ultimate of all wish-fulfillment fantasy books. yeah, fiction offers the opportunity to be picked for hogwarts, or travel through a wardrobe to narnia, OR have a super best friend bond with your highly intelligent talking (literate!) flying dragon. there's a clear winner there.
the back of book blurb tells you everything you need to know: the napoleonic wars are being fought adragonback as much as asea, and a naval captain has to abruptly switch from the latter to the former. i can't come up with much genuinely unique plot elements here, and that should drive me bonkers - it certainly did with the somewhat similar but much more juvenile Eragon - but it's so delightfully put together that it feels like it's borrowing the best of inspiration from good things, rather than wantonly pirating from common ones. there's an old-fashioned "boy's own adventure" flavor to this Horatio-Hornblower-with-wings that ensures a snappy pace and likable characters (plus, i sobbed like a baby at the sad bits), without it being actually only about boys.
way fun, and most definitely worth the praise heaped on it....more
every bit as ridiculously fun as the cover blurb promises, 'grave mercy' is the tale of a young woman convent-educated to be a skilled assas3.5 stars.
every bit as ridiculously fun as the cover blurb promises, 'grave mercy' is the tale of a young woman convent-educated to be a skilled assassin for the crown of Brittany. our heroine is young and naïve, told nly what she needs to know, but smart enough to figure some things out on her own. most characters get to be nuanced instead of b&w stock, rare for a YA novel. it's plenty silly (especially when the heroine gets bored of dresses and impatient with politics, and longingly wishes for someone to need stabbing), but delightfully so, and imminently readable. ...more
Meljean Brook has written one of the best examples of steampunk i've come across. this isn't a victorian fantasy where everyone inexplicably3.5 stars.
Meljean Brook has written one of the best examples of steampunk i've come across. this isn't a victorian fantasy where everyone inexplicably chooses goggles as a fashion accessory and the word "airship" comes up every so often as background color. no, instead, this is a gleefully gonzo yarn populated with armored kraken (!) and mirror eyes and insidiously helpful/harmful nanotechnology. most excitingly, all of the steampunk tidbits aren't merely lace trim on the edge of a bustled dress - this is a story that couldn't exist without the world being designed the way it is, an actual exploration of the way such technology would impact the lives of everyday people and the way society functions. there's a sort of class war going on between the uninfected and the "buggers" that embrace the benefits of being colonized by nanotech bots that scrub the industrial london soot from their lungs. leavened through this fantastic version of london, we get a snappy mystery right out of buckaroo banzai vs the world crime league, with a shadowy group bent on killing a huge chunk of the population with a clockwork EMD, and an equally snappy heroine with far more depth & layers than you'd ever expect in a romance novel.
indeed, about halfway through, it becomes readily apparent that the bare-chested brute on the cover was no fib, we are indeed in a romance novel here, and that was ultimately the source of any issues i had with this book. i like some trashy good times quite a bit, tyvm, but the boatloads of frenzied sex our MCs started having were an interruption from the story i'd been liking so much. inadvertently hilarious endearment representative of the sort then frequently applied: "i'm going to shag you with my mouth."
still, it's an A+ world to hang out in, and if future installments revisit the deliciously mysterious Lady Corsair, i'm definitely interested....more