Siria's Reviews > Temeraire

Temeraire by Naomi Novik
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Jun 05, 07

bookshelves: 21st-century, alternate-history, american-fiction, fantasy, historical-fiction
Read in January, 2006

I really, really enjoyed this. For a first novel, it's quite some achievement. It's a fantastic , original blend of Regency period naval adventure with pure fantasy, a world that's recognisable as the one about which Jane Austen and Patrick O' Brian wrote, but which is inhabited by dragons. The premise is mostly well thought through, and slots in well into early nineteenth century society. The dialogue also manages to walk the fine line between being appropriate to the period, and being a pastiche. The balance between the kind of language and decorum which was felt appropriate for upper class society, and the kind of language and topics of conversation which arose in actuality was well observed; I particularly enjoyed the way Temeraire shocked Laurence with one particular question. The characters are nicely drawn, and the relationship between Temeraire and Laurence is nicely realised; in some respects, with Laurence's character brave, not overly academic, naval captain, and Temeraire as the highly intelligent dragon who is nonetheless very unworldly in some respects, I was really reminded of the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin in Patrick O' Brian's books.

The one major downfall of the book is the pacing; it's the first part of a projected trilogy, I believe, so at times it does feel more like it is the first section of a book, setting up what is to come, rather than a true book in and of itself. Given that the final two sections of the trilogy aren't going to be released for a while, it's disappointing to be given such a good set up, and then to have to wait for the resolution. Apart from that, I really don't have anything negative to say about this, and I would highly recommend it.
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