I was handed this book by my husband and was told that I would like it. I was a little unsure of this since there were many history references along with many battles, which I thought I would become bored with. This turned out to not be the case, however. Yes, there are many references to history as this takes place during the Napoleon wars and mainly focuses on the English side of things. However, the fantasy that is thrown into the story makes the events of history a lot more interesting to read about. It is almost too bad that there were not dragons to make our history more interesting.
by Naomi Novik is the first book in the series. Starting , it should be noted the story takes place during the Napoleonic Wars with the English being the main focus. Captain Will Laurence taking the sword of a French Captain who they had just defeated in a battle. At the time Laurence did not understand why the French Captain had engaged them in battle when it was very obvious that the french ship was in bad shape as were the men aboard. It is soon discovered, however, they are carrying a treasure on board which had been worth fighting for… a dragon’s egg. The naval men find the egg to be a wonderful bounty, but are afraid if it should hatch. The aviation department of the military is not looked upon kindly as they seem to be more barbaric in manner than the very polite and respectful naval men, who normally come from better off families. Aviators come from, normally, lower class families and are considered outcasts by the general populace due to the need to seclude themselves to take care of their dragons.
The egg hatches and a black dragon is born into the midst of the naval men. A harnessing of the dragon is supposed to take place, but this dragon is smarter than most dragons and has declined the normal ritual. The naval men unsure what is supposed to be happening look to the captain for his advice and the dragon says he chooses him for his Captain as he would not have anyone else. To Captain and crew this is as if the dragon has just killed him in front of them. But, the Captain accepts his new position and leaves the Navy to raise the dragon who names himself Temeraire.
At first the aerial corp are cold to Laurence because normally you are born into or at least are raised in the aerial corp. It was very abnormal for such an older gentleman to become a part of the corp. However, both Laurence and Termeraire grow through out the book and grow through the obstacles. After participating in a few battles it is soon shown that while Laurence and Termeraire have a different look on how to deal with their new lives they are good at what they have been thrown into. Because of this they soon gain friends in the other captains and their dragons.
As Temeraire grows he is given a crew to take care of him which includes a girl who Laurence did not realize was a girl since she dressed in boy clothes and worked with the boys. Laurence’s upbringing gets in his way in the corp through out the book and he still has trouble with it at the end, but begins to accept how different the naval life and the corp life are different.
There is so much more to tell you about this book and the relationship which Laurence and Temeraire have, but it would be ruining the enjoyment of the book if I told you everything. I strongly recommend this book and the others in the series to anyone who loves characters who grow and seeing how cultures can clash.
I really enjoyed this book due to many factors, but mainly because it was easy to follow while still giving an authentic feel of the accounts to battle. The battle scenes were not stuffy nor were they too long. There were sections which seemed to drag on, but they were necessary for the story and due to the fact of the perspective we are seeing, that of a well-bred naval officer, it makes perfect sense for those scenes to be slightly less entertaining and more stale feeling. There are many more books Naomi Novik has written for this series and I hope you will pick this one up and then continue on further with the others. The changes which both Laurence and Temeraire go through are very interesting and fun to follow.