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I was very much looking forward to finally reading the latest of the Temeraire series, after all - dragons!!! And it had all of the elements that I'd thoroughly enjoyed previously - interesting dialogue, stylistically in keeping with the time; interesting people and places that they travel to; dragons! (oops, sorry. Did I already mention that? ;p ); strong characters; a strong plot with plenty of intrigue and shenanigans.

[Very slightly spoilery...]That being said, I expected more. I found the flow rather choppy with the extensive travel, and at one point I stopped and checked to see if I'd missed a few pages as the jump in scene was so abrupt. It was almost like the story was becoming something of a travel-tour where you only had a limited time in one place before having to run off to the next; trying to cram in as many countries as possible. I would have loved it if they had been able to spend more time in Japan.


Of course, one of the key things that happens in Japan is Laurence's losing his memory. Now this is a trope that I have thoroughly enjoyed in fics and it can be very effective in shedding a different light on any situation that the characters find themselves in. A bit convenient perhaps, but enjoyable nonetheless. So, I had high hopes for some h/c or just some plain old hurt, Temeraire searching for Laurence, and a new pov of Laurence on everything that's happened in his life... and it worked, for the most part. The hurt was nicely hurty, Temeraire suitably worried, but it felt... idk, tacked on? I just had a hard time buying the different characters reactions to his loss of memory, and there was no real resolution to the injury - he gets flashes, a few things happen and then voila! it's back, but no 'hey, guys, just to let you know, I can remember most everything', instead it's not even really mentioned. Most of the book he has no memory, and he and most everybody else deals with it, then, when it's kinda back, it's almost no big deal and anti-climactic. I guess it's understandable given the situation with the war and political situation that was occurring, but it would have been nice if somebody had said something.



A common thread through the books, and one I find rather fascinating, is the way that dragons are treated in the different countries... and I couldn't help finding myself rather hoping that Napoleon would win in this version of history. Pretty much it seemed like most of Europe treated dragons poorly to downright horribly, and Napoleon, for all his megalomania, was far more pro-dragon - being both sympathetic to their situation and for treating them more as equals rather than slaves.

(As an aside, there are characters present throughout that in previous books were important, but now are barely even mentioned as other characters are added. It would be rather handy to have a glossary as there's so darn many.)

Overall, I'd have to say that this book wasn't the page turner of the previous novels where I could hardly put the book down, but it was still very enjoyable, so I'll give it a solid B- :)

Now only one (1!) more book to go in the series :(

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
queeberquabbler
Jan. 5th, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the review! Now i know to avoid this one. Shame, too, because I love this series. Honestly, though, the plot sounds like bad fanfic--and judging from your review, was written like one as well. Ah well. I have the rest to reread and enjoy :)
ferrous_wheeler
Jan. 5th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC)
It is a wonderful series, or at least it has been. I've found the books to be a bit uneven in quality and, idk, this one just kind of seemed like a whole bunch of tacked together scenes. I'd hate to scare you off of the series just because I didn't terribly like this one book, but, really, you won't be missing much if you don't read it :)
tari_roo
Jan. 5th, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)
Gosh! I am two books behind! I still haven't read Crucible of Gold! *bumps that up the to_read list*. Thanks for the reminder!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )