His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik

dwndrgn

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His Majesty's Dragon is a quite entertaining look at what a small portion of the Napoleonic wars would be like if dragons were involved. Despite the setting and premise, I found this to be less of an alternate history and more of a character study. The character being studied would be both Captain Will Laurence of His Majesty's navy and the dragon he ends up with by mistake, Temeraire.

Novik takes us through the accidental impression of Temeraire to Captain Laurance, their subsequent close friendship, the rigors of training how to fly with, and utilize a dragon in war, and the trials of being different. You see, navy captains generally stay on their ships to fight Napoleon, not fly on dragons. In fact, not only is Laurence's naval position a drawback, but his age is as well. If Laurence is different, he isn't alone. Temeraire happens to have been a rare dragon sent as a gift to Napoleon himself. So Laurence has to get over being older than all the other flyers, but Temeraire has to get over being a type of dragon nobody has ever seen first hand. They both have a bit of adjustment to handle.

However, their adjustment period is shortened by the fact that they are desperately needed to fill out the ranks of the British dragons, which just happen to be much smaller than the numbers that France can fly.

They both must learn and adjust very quickly in order to be of any service to Britain in fighting off the acquisitive advances of Napoleon.

I found the story to be quite engaging and enjoyable. To a very small extent I was a bit disappointed that some areas of the story seemed to not have been given the attention I felt they deserved. I had done a small bit of research before reading this book and found that the author had done some travel to settings she used in the book. I expected a knowledgeable description of the areas they were to visit throughout the course of the story. Sadly, these bits seemed to have been passed over. I would have liked to have felt I was in the highlands of Scotland or on the Dover seacoast.

The other area of disappointment was in the description of the dragons' maneuvers against each other in battle. These seemed a bit unrealistic when taking into account her descriptions of the dragons' bodies. Their aerial maneuvers seemed to have been accomplished without wings, or at least the wings were never in the way during the fights.

That being said, those are two minor points of disappointment. The place descriptions would have been enjoyable but their lack did not take away from the story itself. Nitpicking the logistics of dragon fighting is something most wouldn't do, only a person obsessed with the mythical creatures would even think of it.

His Majesty's Dragon was a delightfully endearing story of two fish out of water who have bonded to each other and vow to take care of each other, whatever may come. I will definitely be finishing the series and enjoying the characters in their next adventures - somewhere in China I believe. I also have hopes that as this is the author's first published work, the next two quite possibly could be even better. Besides, who doesn't love dragons?
 

genisis2

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Feb 12, 2006
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A wonderful review Dwndrgn.
For myself I really dont like stories about dragons. In this case Ms. Novik put a neat twist to the dragon theme which caught my attention and could not help but pick it up for a read. There were a couple of spots in the book that I thought I could do without and seemed unrealistic but it didnt really bother me enough to toss it and find another book. I did enjoyed the other two books much more than HMD.
 

Parmenion

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Aug 22, 2006
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have read the 3 released books in this series, and loved them, I had thought it was a trilogy but was plesantly suprised to find there are more to come.
Its not the best series eevr written, but its lively fun and an interesting read.

I shall be buying the rest of the series
 
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