Chris Bauer's Reviews > Crucible of Gold

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
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's review
Mar 31, 2012

it was ok
Read from March 31 to April 04, 2012

I've been reading this series since the first book came out and have tremendously enjoyed the rich combination of historical fiction and "plausible" fantasy elements such as dragons. The first several books read like an awesome combination of Horatio Hornblower + Dragonriders of Pern and were very enjoyable. But this latest book in the series was more along the lines of Pride & Prejudice with dragons and a little Robinson Crusoe added for taste.

I can't recall the last time I felt like reading a book was a forced march; several times I set the book aside with zero intent to pick it up again. But I powered through and was rewarded with a nine page "climax" filled with (and I HATE to use this word) "trite" plot twists. Total deus ex machina.

The writing was garbled, descriptions very unclear, and the dialogue at times took on a Dickensian scope.

While I appreciated the author's depth of research into the Napoleonic Era the writing just did not work for me. The plot meandered along like a sluggish stream and I got annoyed with each and every character. The 2 primary protags, Captain Laurence and his majestic Celestial dragon Temeraire, came across as moody, sniveling wimps in the face of every crisis save the last. And the constant bickering between two of the dragons reminded me of Heathcliff and Catherine from "Wuthering Heights".

Disappointing book. Sorry.
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Rachel Seriously. Yeah. But Pride and Prejudice is snarkier, and Robinson Crusoe has more pathos, and Wuthering Heights has more atmosphere, and the convoluted diction and dei ex machinis of Dickens are far more ludicrous. Here's hoping for book 8...

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