Temeraire by Naomi Novik is the first book in an ongoing series of seven books so far. The eighth book is on its way and the author has planned to end the story after nine books. It is set in a world very like our own; the only great difference is that dragons are a natural part of that world. The story takes place during the Napoleonic wars and begins at sea where the captain Will Laurence boards a French ship. On board he finds a dragon egg and the dragon within becomes the cause of many problems and much happiness. The story is 332 pages. The appendix is another 8 pages.
The book is written in a simple style which flows naturally and is easy to read. There are also no long inner monologues or philosophical reflections and this allows the plot to move forwards smoothly at a brisk walk.
The story has a good mix of calm and action. In the calm scenes the world and characters are shown in more detail and greater empathy is established with the reader. In the action scenes, great turns of the plot take place often with grand battles in the sky between the raging dragons.
The appendix, although not part of the story, is interesting to read. It explains in some measure how dragons came to be as they are in this world and also gives a small discussion of dragons’ weight.
The best thing about the book is the relationship between the captain, Will Laurence, and the dragon, Temeraire, which is both touching and interesting. It develops into a very strong bond that sometimes resembles the bond between a child and its parent, and it is not easy to tell if Laurance is the parent or the child.
All in all, Temeraire is both an entertaining and enjoyable read which is fast paced enough to keep most readers hooked throughout the story.
Tags: Friendship, dragons, war, social norms
This would be a good read for: Children and parents, people who like dragons, people who like a quick paced plot, people interested in altered history
This would not be a good read for: People who prefer long descriptions and lots of detail, people who prefer realistic novels, people who do not like series
Suggested further reading: The rest of the series. Number two is called Throne of Jade.