Cindy's Reviews > Tongues of Serpents

Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
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's review
Aug 07, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, read-in-2010
Read from August 01 to 04, 2010

As a fantasy reader who has a slight obsession with dragons it could only be expected that I have tried Naomi Novik's novels involving dragons being used during the Napoleon era. I have only in the past read the first 2 or 3 novels. It wasn't for lack of trying, the other novels didn't fit into my reading schedule. When Tongues of Serpents arrived at my door the call of the dragon was just to strong and I thought I'd fit some time into my schedule to try it out.

Having read His Majesty's Dragon at least 3 years ago it was a bit challenging picking up where I had left off. Tongues of Serpents picks up right where the 5th book left off and there isn't much time spent on who characters are or background history on the characters. This could make it tough for those who need a bit of a refresher. There is no time wasted on filler information.

As with the first novel that I read of Novik's I did have a slight problem getting into her writing style. There were times that some of the descriptions or conversations didn't flow as well as I am used to. However, after a few chapters I became used to it and by the end of the novel I had no problems. It should be noted that I also had this similar problem with the first novel, her writing isn't what I'm used to and it took some time to get into a groove with the reading.

Although this novel is very well written there are elements that only allow Tongues of Serpent to be described as a filler book. It connects events from the 5th book to events that'll occur in the 7th book. There is a lot of time spent on political conversations and traveling in this novel. This is by no means the best novel of the series. While I haven't read all the novels, as a connector novel it just doesn't live up to the wow factor of the first novel. Too much time is spent describing the land and uncharted area and not enough focus on the dragons, political events and other action elements. In fact it's well over 3/4th of the way into the novel before anything happens that wasn't in the book description. This was a bit disappointing as I didn't remember the first two novels being of this fashion.

This novel is either going to be a love it or hate it novel for Temeraire fans. They will enjoy the fact that there are introduction to new dragons and a set up for another novel but overall the wow factor isn't there for this book. It's slow and really not much happens. While this novel renewed my love of dragons and made me inspired to go back and read the other novels I have missed in the series, it won't be my favorite novel. While it wasn't a bad read at all, I can only hope that the next novel produces a more substantial plot element and brings back these novels to what I remember enjoying the first time.

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