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Temeraire #1

His Majesty's Dragon

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Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

374 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 3, 2006

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About the author

Naomi Novik

72 books29.6k followers
An avid reader of fantasy literature since age six, when she first made her way through The Lord of the Rings, Naomi Novik is also a history buff with a particular interest in the Napoleonic era and a fondness for the work of Patrick O’Brian and Jane Austen. She studied English literature at Brown University, and did graduate work in computer science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadow of Undrentide. Over the course of a brief winter sojourn spent working on the game in Edmonton, Canada (accompanied by a truly alarming coat that now lives brooding in the depths of her closet), she realized she preferred writing to programming, and on returning to New York, decided to try her hand at novels.

Naomi lives in New York City with her husband and six computers. Her website is at naominovik.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,010 reviews
Profile Image for Dafna.
1 review40 followers
July 11, 2007
God, I admit, I'm one of those douchey fucks that look down on fantasy readers while I sit firmly ensconced in my igloo composed of "Star Wars: Rogue Squadron" and "Star Trek: The Lost Years" books. Of course, it'd be a book about dragons fighting for the British army against the encroaching Napoleonic forces to get to me to realize: DRAGONS ARE FUCKING COOL.

Especially dragons with awesome Han Solo type female riders and plucky young girls manning the gunnery and uptight, strong silent type men of good standing learning to fight dirty. I love this shit, guys.

I don't know, I'll probably turn into a furry soon, but until then I'll be curled up under my comforter, the next book tucked under my pillow as I periodically wake myself in the middle of the night by shouting "FLY, BITCHES, FLY."

Sorry Han Yee.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,705 followers
February 7, 2018
2/7/18 - ON SALE for $2.99:


Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

This isn't my first Novik read. In fact, the whole reason I finally got on with reading HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON is b/c I read and absolutely adored Uprooted . But UPROOTED isn't being released until May, so this is the first Novik review I've posted.

Same and not the same, people. Same and not the same.

Meet Will Laurence:


Laurence is a Captain in the British Navy. He is a perfect gentlemen. He is ostentatiously dull.

And while there is significant character growth throughout the book, it is completely in regards to the small-mindedness that comes with his gentleman status, having no impact whatsoever on the dull, dull, dullness of his disposition.

And maybe this is irrelevant, and maybe it isn't. I don't know. What I do know is that b/c I have James Norrington in my head, every time Laurence is on the page--and that's pretty much all the time--all I can think is:

Why on earth would you write a Norrington-like character, when you could write a Will Turner :


or Jack Sparrow :


type character instead?

Especially, when the Norrington-type character has a DRAGON? B/c really? What would Norrington do with a dragon?

Funnily enough, I now feel qualified to answer that question: not much.

That's not to say it didn't have its moments. Obviously, it did. B/c dragon.

Temeraire was probably my favorite part of the book. BUT. I couldn’t completely enjoy his character, b/c Novik states early on that Chinese dragons are bred for intelligence, and after establishing that fact, uses him to spout insightful and ahead-of-his-time political ideals. BUT. For an "insightful" character to be perceived as insightful (for me, anyway), he needs to be spouting universal truths, timeless wisdoms, or exposing easily overlooked, but once pointed out, clear flaws in a majority mindset.

All Temeraire does is say things like:

"Some of the laws which I have heard make very little sense, and I do not know that I would obey them if it were not to oblige you. It seems to me that if you wish to apply laws to us, it were only reasonable to consult us on them, and from what you have read to me about Parliament, I do not think any dragons are invited to go there."

Which, yes, is amusing, but not particularly clever.

I also enjoyed Laurence’s pragmatic observations, which were quietly humorous and made me snicker at regular intervals. Like when it’s discovered that the dragon egg they acquired will hatch before reaching land and one of the crew will have to bond with the hatchling, meaning that he'll be forced to leave the respectable Navy to join the disreputable Dragon Aviators.

Laurence is determined—as any gentleman would be—to proceed in all fairness:

. . . though if Fanshawe had not spoken in so unbecoming a way, Laurence would have liked to keep Carver out of it, as he knew the boy had a poor head for heights, which struck him as a grave impediment for an aviator.


But regular though those intervals were, they were not enough to overwhelm the blah.

Most of the blah was the result of Laurence's stodginess, but while it's one thing to accurately reflect the attitudes of the period in which a book is set, it's quite another to tacitly endorse them:

I also found it difficult to believe that a man so distraught over the inability to pursue elements essential to his own happiness--like a wife, children, and a quiet life in the country--after becoming saddled with a dragon, could transition into his new life so completely, even going so far as to compare overzealously praising Temeraire to the exasperating drivel spewed from men too enamored of their own relations:

With difficulty he restrained himself from boasting further; nothing, he was sure, could be more irritating, like one of those men who could not stop talking of the beauty of their mistress, or the cleverness of their children.

Then there were the inconsistencies. Like how Temeraire's egg managed to survive aboard a cold, damp boat for a month or more and afterwards being told that the dragon eggs are kept in the hottest part of the training facility's Roman baths, b/c the female dragons have neither the time nor inclination to sit on them until they hatch, and they can't be buried in the hot ash at the base of a volcano, b/c no volcanoes.


I heard a sermon once where the pastor quoted something about the saints crying out, "How long?" in reference to church-services-that-never-end and it was both shocking and hilarious enough to stick with me.

And when I found myself crying out, “How long?” several times while reading HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, I was surprised b/c it’s not a particularly lengthy book.

But by golly, it felt like it was.

SO. If you like novels of manners, the Napoleonic Wars, and dragons, then by all means, read this book. I am a lone quantity. Everyone else seems to LOVE HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, it won all kinds of awards, and even I will admit that it is incredibly well written. Novik is a superb method writer, if there is such a thing. HOWEVER . . . if you aren't crazy about the idea of a gentlemanly account of said war, but think it might be okay b/c DRAGONS . . . I strongly suggest that you are mistaken. Recommended with qualifications.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,636 followers
February 26, 2017
Buddy read with my wonderful friend, Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten* =)


****I reckon' I'm going to be spoilery!****

Once again I'm going to say, "Why did it take me so long to read this?" I love finding these little gems that I have had around FOREVER!

I fell right in love with Temeraire! And I love Laurence and his love for Temeraire, he really knew how to take care of his dragon! I want one too dang it. ❤

Laurence was a captain on a Naval ship when they found a French ship with an egg on it. Well, of course they took the egg and when it hatched, the little black dragon picked Laurence. Well, life as he knew it was over as he was going to have to leave the Navy and train with the Aerial Corps. They ride dragons and have a crew on the dragon with you and fight the enemy. Oh what joy!

I loved all of the dragons in the book and there were several of the men and women I loved too. I mean this is just an awesome book full of wonderful people and dragons.

Well, there was this one ole bastard named Rankin and he treated his little dragon Levitas horribly! I hated him and I felt so sorry for Levitas. Laurence started doing nice things for the little dragon and it was so sweet.

Oh, oh and the dragons talk! For the love of all that's holy, I want a talking dragon! I wish my dog could talk too but then they both would probably drive me crazy, but I digress!

Anyway, most of the book is about training Laurence and Temeraire with the other dragons and captains but it was so much fun. There are a few battles they get into a little later but setting up this world was so freaking awesome. I have never had so much fun. I mean talking dragons, how could you not love it. The camaraderie between the humans, dragons and other humans were amaze balls.

This book has went on my favorites list and I sooooooo look forward to the rest of the books!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Irene.
6 reviews
July 11, 2007
I wasn't expecting much when I picked up His Majesty's Dragon. To tell the truth, if I'd seen it in a bookstore, I wouldn't have picked it up. But it was recommended to me by a reliable source as a better alternative to Eragon, and it was a historical fantasy set during the Napoleonic Wars. I figured I'd give it a try. I didn't regret it.

I don't love this book because Naomi Novik's writing style is equal to that of Tolkien. I don't love this book because it's perfect in every way - indeed, some of the subplots were rather weak, and should have been changed or cut out altogether. Rather, I love this book because Naomi Novik took a boring, cliche idea, and put on a spin on it that's so brilliant and yet mind-bogglingly obvious I have to wonder why in the world someone hadn't thought of it before.

In all of the previous dragonrider books I'd read, there was always one rider. One lone human on a dragon the size of a house. And somehow, that was supposed to be special and sensible and realistic. But no - if a dragon is that large, then why is there only one rider? Why can't there be more? Having one rider on a dragon is like putting one passenger on a plane that could potentially carry fifty.

And that's where Naomi Novik takes the Temeraire series. Her fight scenes aren't one-on-one affairs, they're all-out aerial battles fought with crew members dangling precariously from leather harnesses, forced to make the best of inaccurate rifles. It's true, the captain has a special relationship with his or her dragon, but there's the distinct feeling of a team - that the captain would really be nowhere without the support of a crew behind him. What's more, Novik makes the battles work - they're clearly planned out and make sense in a historical context.

The main characters are also unusually engaging - Laurence, as a former naval captain who accidentally stumbles upon a dragon egg, is plunged into a branch of the military completely unlike the one in which he's served, and his confusion and stiffness are only to be expected. While his stubbornness and sense of propriety are on occasion mildly irritating, his reactions to elements of the Aerial Corps are only natural given his character. And Temeraire, the dragon that hatches from the egg Laurence discovers, is more than a mere sentient ship - his naive, inquisitive personality is adorably appealing, and the political views he develops at times contrast sharply with those of Laurence.

And then there's the matter of the main villain - there is none. There's no evil overlord to face, no Dark Lord Napoleon who tries to foil Laurence's and Temeraire's plans at every turn. In fact, despite the fact that the book is from a strictly British point of view, Novik portrays Napoleon fairly, and his character only grows more sympathetic as the series goes on. Napoleon doesn't even make an appearance during the first book - it's just the British Aerial Corps versus the French Armee de l'Air. It's a lovely change; as the battles grow steadily more climactic, one gets the feeling that they're in a war against other dragon-crews just like theirs, not fighting some unseen maniac.

Like I said, His Majesty's Dragon isn't perfect. The subplot with Choiseul is ultimately disappointing in its resolution, and Laurence's love interest is perilously close to a Mary-Sue and should have been cut (thankfully, there's a lot less of her in the following books). Still, it's a refreshingly original spin on an overused idea, and all in all a very good read.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
725 reviews1,205 followers
September 10, 2019
[4.5/5 stars] Woe is me for not having read this years ago!

I had this amazing dragon book sitting unread on my shelf for over 10 years… and I’m surprised no one revoked my membership to the dragon obsession club (not a real thing). In all fairness, the way people described this book and series gave me a very different impression than what the first book actually entailed. They’d say, “it’s an alternate military history, but with dragons.” I’m sure that description is completely accurate for the series as a whole, but had someone mentioned even briefly that His Majesty’s Dragon was less about alt-history as a focus (even though that was an essential setting component) and more about the forming bond between a man and his dragon, I’d have been on board the Temeraire ship years ago. Unfortunately first impressions caused me to hold off. When it came out I was in the middle of college and the last thing I wanted to do was put down one text book and pick up another (even if the new one had dragons). I thought I’d be bored with the historical elements and recycled battle scenes. All the discussions I’d had about it with customers made me think I was getting into a dry historical retelling that took itself too seriously. This is SO NOT THE CASE!!

The relationship between man and dragon is 100% the appeal of the book for me. It’s a slowly paced plot that focuses on the bond and establishes the groundwork for what’s to come. Because of the aforementioned expectations for the series, I’m certain some ventured in looking for battle sequences, military strategy, and loads of historical references, but were bored with their lack (which is an irony considering my boredom might have stemmed from those things being present if I’d read it 10 years ago). As I said, perhaps the series as a whole will offer those things, but for me this book offered perfect immersion into what it’s like to be a dragonrider (or Aerialist) in training.

Now that my tastes have broadened, I’m actually looking forward to seeing the historical immersion in future books, but that alone wouldn’t have been enough to get me to pick up the series. The dragons are my main motivation. Not only was Temeraire a fascinating creature, but so were the many other varieties of dragons (aka Niki’s dragon heaven). I loved the training aspects and can’t wait to see those put into good use, I loved the commander of the training encampment (you’ll see), and I loved the relationships and dynamics beginning to form between all the trainees and their dragons. Basically, this is the book I’ve been hounding to find all my life. 😭

The slow burn of this novel might have bored a few people, but I reveled in every single moment. It had me so wrapped up, I even shed a tear or two (I can’t remember the last time a book made me cry). The combination of a fantastic main character, sentient dragons (filled with awesomeness), and the overall theme of the series set His Majesty’s Dragon up as one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!

Recommendations: Read this book if you like dragons. It’s a bonus if you also like alt-history. ;P

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com

Other books you might like:
A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #1) by Marie Brennan Dragon Weather (Obsidian Chronicles, #1) by Lawrence Watt-Evans The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1) by Shana Abe The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Staveley Joust (Dragon Jousters, #1) by Mercedes Lackey
Profile Image for Samantha.
417 reviews16.7k followers
February 16, 2017
4.5 stars! This book is so utterly delightful in every way. I can't even count how many times it made me smile or laugh, or how it tugged at my heartstrings. The bond between Laurence and Temeraire is incomparable. I cannot wait to continue on with this series!
May 18, 2020
This book made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Yes it did. Oh, I know exactly what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Sarah doesn't do warm and fuzzy, Sarah only does cold-hearted cynicism." Ha. Fooled you right there. I'll have you know I do have a heart (sometimes) and actually enjoy feeling all warm and fuzzy (occasionally). Besides, it's not like this is me cooing and getting the fuzzies over a bunch of cute babies. We're talking about dragons here, people!

Wanna know why I'm all smitten and stuff? Mostly because this book reminded me of Pete's Dragon ← I think I just lost half of the people reading this review. Don't worry kids, this is too ancient for you to know about. Besides, it's not your fault you were born two decades too late .

So this is a story about a boy man and his dragon. And this isn't typically the kind of book I enjoy reading because, let's be honest, there isn't much of a plot here. But the relationship between Laurence and his dragon Temeraire? It's everything. It's cute beyond measure. I know, I know, I just used the word cute *shudders* to describe the relationship between a grown man and a dragon. You can snicker all you want, I don't care. Because these two? They make me all tingly inside. Yes they do. I LOVE their conversations (yes, dragons do talk). I LOVE their interactions. I LOVE how much they care for each other. And I pretty much melt every time Laurence reads to Temeraire at night ← Damn. Either I'm getting really soft in my old age or Naomi Novik is a miracle worker. Anyhow, Laurence and Temeraire are so perfect for each other I think they should get married. Or something.

Okay, I have to admit Laurence could have been a bit more dashing. Strike that, he could have been a lot more dashing. But I still like him. He is nice, reliable, honourable and fair *shudders* But I still like him. I can't believe I'm actually admitting my utter fondness for a non-assholish male lead *gasps* Prepare to die everyone, the end of the world is near. Chaos, doom and destruction await.

Now for the other half of our perfect couple: Temeraire. Sigh. I think I just fell in love with a dragon. I love his ever-innovative ideas about politics, his very fresh point of view and his insightful comments. His lines just crack me up. Besides, he loves being read French books on mathematics and physics, how can anyone resist that?! There are some very cool dragons in this book, but Temeraire here is definitely my kind of monster.

Now some people find that this book is slow paced. It is in a sense because there isn't that much action. Novik dedicates a large chunk of the book to the training of Laurence and Temeraire in the Dragon Corps. I (very uncharacteristically) enjoyed every minute of it but I understand that other might find it a bit boring. There is some pretty great naval action in the opening chapters though, and the aerial fight sequences in the second half of the book were simply amazing. Aerial fights, people! That means crazy aerial maneuvers! That means dragons being used as ships, with a full crew riding them! Napoleonic wars, people! That means strategy! That means Admiral Nelson! That means war with the Filthy, Cunning French! Woo hoo!

I used to binge-read historical fiction but stopped after OD'ing on the genre a few years ago. I'm finding it surprisingly refreshing now that I'm on the verge of OD'ing on Urban Fantasy, haha. I really enjoyed the Regency setting here and love the way Novik mixes history, fantasy and comedy of manners. This improbable mix of dragons, Napoleonic wars and light social satire works because Novik is a fantastic writer. Her style is flawless and everything blends in together effortlessly. And the characters! I love the way she writes her characters! Actually, I was so impressed with Novik's writing and enjoyed it so much that I added Uprooted to my tbr. And you know what? Uprooted is YA. Yes, His Majesty's Dragon is SO AWESOME that it made me want to read a Freaking YA Book. Now what do you think about that?!

Now for the moral of this review: His Majesty's Dragon is fun. His Majesty's Dragon is entertaining. His Majesty's Dragon is great. His Majesty's Dragon is OMG-I can't-stop-reading. His Majesty's Dragon might not make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside like it did me but it will definitely make you forget about the outside world for a while. What more do you want?!

P.S. There might not be many female characters in this story but they're all very cool, as in unconventional for the time period and acting quite inappropriately. YES! I can't wait to read more about them in the next instalments.

P.P.S. Kudos to Novik for writing whole sentences in French without a single spelling or grammar mistake. Phoenix Rising this is not.

· Book 2: Throne Of Jade ★★★★
· Book 3: Black Powder War ★★★★
6 reviews9 followers
November 16, 2007
I'm amazed at how many people enjoyed this book. The premise is fascinating and extremely creative. And for that it avoids a single star. Otherwise, the characters are bland, there is minuscule character development to speak of, and THERE ARE NO REAL CONFLICTS. Every conflict is conveniently tied up with no trade offs. This isn't fantasy, it's day dream.
By far, the most amusing portion of the book is the conversations between Laurence (the protagonist) and Temeraire (the dragon)-amusing to the sheer ridiculousness of its romantic triteness. Temeraire may have intelligence that surpasses Nobel Prize winners, but he has the emotional quotient of a peanut.
Read this book only if you want pure, saccharine fluff.
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
236 reviews3,128 followers
January 16, 2023
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

This was a fun read that served as a good palate cleaner for me between the more dense, dark fantasy books that I typically read. It had an interesting premise blending dragons in the Napoleonic Wars - but wasn't much more than that from an enjoyability standpoint. The plot never really picks up besides a couple dragon skirmishes, but is more of a light story about companionship between a member in the military and his dragon partner.

Recommended if you are needing a more simple read to break things up for you, or if you are into more YA tropes.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
November 29, 2018
99c Kindle sale, Nov. 29, 2018. The first book in a fantasy version of the Napoleonic War (during the Regency era) by Naomi Novik, the author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver. The twist here is that Britain and France each have an air force made up of huge, intelligent dragons and their human riders. The dragons are so large that they have an entire crew in addition to their main rider; basically, they're like smart, talking (and sometimes smart-talking) naval ships flying around in the air. Plus, different dragons have different tricks and abilities.

Will Laurence is the captain of the HMS Reliant, a naval warship, and happy with his career. But when they capture a French frigate, they find a major prize: an unhatched dragon egg. These eggs are so valuable that there's no question that whoever is chosen by the baby dragon will immediately be put in the dragon air force. So when the dragon - a breed no one in England has ever seen before - hatches, rejects the young crewman chosen for him, and selects Captain Laurence instead, he's initially very resentful of the forced career change but resigned to his fate.

The story follows Will and his dragon, Temeraire, as they grow to love each other and learn their role and tactics in England's air battles. It's an enjoyable story, a little like Horatio Hornblower or Master and Commander, except of course with dragons. :)

There's a whole series here, but this one works fine as a stand-alone read.
71 reviews4 followers
June 19, 2009
Something neat about the Kindle e-book device is that there's a number of free books on it, generally the first book of a series or whatnot. That's pretty good. So the good thing was, this was free. Also, the writing wasn't wretched.

Anyway, it's the story of Captain Mary Sue of the Royal Navy who happens to capture a dragon egg from the French right before it hatches, and as luck would have it, the Mary Sue dragon who hatches is totally and completely going to only bond with him. Dragons hatch fully able to speak and comprehend languages, you see, and reach their full growth in weeks. Also the bond between dragon and rider is the bestest and most truest and most wonderful bond possible. Captain Mary Sue calls Dragon Mary Sue "my dear" and "darling" throughout, and prefers sleeping cuddled up with his dragon, and they have long talks and he reads to him, and it's OH SO WONDERFUL. And dragons are just like people, really, so there's never any sense of two intelligences who are actually alien to one another at a fundamental level communicating because the dragon and rider bond transcends that in its love and friendship and loyalty, except for one dragon rider, he's a BAD one, he treats his dragon BADLY and then his dragon DIES and Captain Mary Sue forces him to at least fake affection because all that poor dragon wanted was his LOVE, and Captain Mary Sue is a hero because he refrained from hurting the bad bad dragon rider, and everyone approves because they all understand how pure and good the dragon bond is, and it's such a terrible and tragic shame about that one guy. Everyone's sad but it's okay because Captain Mary Sue and Dragon Mary Sue can comfort each other and feel better.

Oh oh oh! And Dragon Mary Sue isn't just any dragon, he's the BEST DRAGON IN THE WORLD! He was brought all the way from CHINA, and he's CELESTIAL! He's BIG, but ever so NIMBLE and BEAUTIFUL! He can do things like turn on a dime and hover in place, which the other dragons can't do. It's not that the other dragons are bad dragons, but they're just not THE BEST DRAGON IN THE WORLD like Dragon Mary Sue is, and Dragon Mary Sue is a little bit sad at first because he can't breathe fire or acid like other dragons can, and maybe that means he's not the very bestest dragon in all the world, but that's OKAY, because in the end, do you know what happens? Oh squee, it turns out he can ROAR with such brave strong FORCE that it's like a shockwave, and it SAVES EVERYONE! Everyone already knew Captain Mary Sue and Dragon Mary Sue were so awesome, but now they know it even more! And there's TWO WHOLE MORE BOOKS I could get, too! Could the BEST DRAGON IN THE WORLD get even MORE BESTEST?!?!

I'll never know.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,519 followers
April 3, 2020
What a great read. I sometimes shift over to fantasy as a way to cleanse the palette much like ginger in a sushi restaurant and this one was excellent for that purpose. The writing craft is above average. The author does a brilliant job creating a world with dragons. What I liked was that she didn't start from the beginning in how the dragons came to be. She doesn't overload the prose stopping the forward motion of the story to explain the world. She simple tells the story as if the reader already knows that dragons have always been here feeding the reader the information a little at time.
I loved the voice of the dragon, it is so unique--and it sounds weird to be saying this--yet sounds just like what I imaged a dragon to sound like. Loved it. This book is pure escapism. I picked up the three in the series and can't wait to get to them. I highly recommend this book.
David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for Robert.
Author 11 books101 followers
November 7, 2007
This is a tough one to review in some ways. First, I've read lots of "dragon books", and this is far, far from the best. For one thing, I'm a physicist and while I'm willing to suspend disbelief up to a certain point, the image of dragons capable of carrying anywhere from tens to hundreds of humans at a time (plus weapons and armor!) for distances that again range from tens to hundreds of miles in a day just does not compute. Let me count the ways it violates natural law, not just by a little bit but ludicrously: energy conservation, scaling laws, biology -- you name it, her dragons violate it. Her dragons carry loads like 747 airliners carry loads -- to carry the load described in the last book of this series, where Temeraire helps ferry people over a hundred at a time from a fort out to a boat, well -- imagine hanging 100 people from an elephant. Hmmm, no way. A brachiosaurus? Sorry, I can't imagine more than 30 or 40. A blue whale? Now we're talking.

100 humans at 200 pounds each is an easy 10 tons of humans. Add this to the (conservatively) 100 ton body mass of an animal large enough to hang all these people on and you're talking the good sized airliner, all supposedly powered by muscles on the fuel of the energy content of an occassional cow. Waste heat alone would cook such a beast until it starved to death, assuming of course that they weren't crushed under their own weight as they attempted to stand.

Okay, you say. We know dragons aren't real, so why can't they be whatever she likes? They can, of course, but even my 12 year old thought that it was a bit odd and hard to believe. And it's not that I don't like dragons. McCaffery's dragons are close enough that I can suspend disbelief -- Pern's gravity is lower, air is maybe thicker, they're hollow bodied and don't have to carry huge loads, just a person and saddle and load of firestone, which (for all I know) is a light and porous rock or the dragons couldn't chew it. Battledragons are also believable -- basically smallish dinosaurs in armor who like noodles as much as meat. One can go down a veritable list of dragons back to King Arthur, and never has their been a storybook dragon so very out of kilter with common sense.

Once you get past this, the book is still flawed in several ways. Laurence (the main human protagonist) is a middling flawed individual -- priggish, filled with notions of duty and obligation, blind to his surroundings, out of touch with the real world, a supposedly "romantic" character that comes across looking more foolish than believable. He persists in referring to his (male) dragon as "dear" throughout the book. No man calls his male companions or pets (however you want to view the dragon) as "dear", and even viewing the dragon as his "child" it still sounds odd. Because he's a dodo-brain when it comes to politics he naturally gets into all sorts of scrapes that could easily be avoided, which gives the book a bit of stilted or contrived feel. Even the economics of dragons doesn't really compute -- at a good sized piece of livestock a day, dragons are remarkably expensive to feed (a cow takes months to years to grow and can feed a lot of humans). Yet we see dragons by the dozen being supported for their military potential, we see dragons "making a living" carrying messages or people around a city. Hell of a taxi service, if the taxi driver/cab combo earns enough to buy an entire cow a day.

Given all of this, if you accept the series as being a simple historical "what-if" novel exploring the Napoleanic wars with dragons being used as a living "air force", it's a decent read. Worth it for exactly three novels, which unfortunately wasn't enough to get close to terminating the endless story. I will not buy any more.

Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
October 13, 2015
Buddy read with a few peeps at Buddies Books and Baubles starting Oct 9.

3.5 I want a baby Dragon stars

I read Uprooted this year and it was one of my favorite books of the year so far so I thought I’d give another Naomi Novak book a try. His Majesty’s Dragon is an alternate history where Dragons are present and used in the warfare of the Napoleonic Wars like battleships would be. It is a really interesting concept and the writing is almost as good as Uprooted.

Laurence has been a navy man and ship captain most of his life but when some unexpected loot from a French ship ends up being a dragon egg he is cast into role of rider to a new hatchling dragon and the life he thought he would have is now over.


I was entertained by learning what it takes to raise a dragon and see how they are incorporated into society and warfare. It was different than I expected as Dragons are pretty sentient and can speak right out of the shell. I also didn’t expect the unique relationship between rider and dragon. Sometimes they spoke to each other almost like a couple. While a little strange I did like the strong bound that formed between a Dragon and the Rider they chose at hatching.

Not a lot happens in the actual plot. There is a lot of training and Laurence getting used to how different the Arial Force is from the Navy. First of all there are women riders which is a huge change from the life he lived before. Most of this story is the life of having a Dragon and what it entails. There are a few battles and some tense moments but for the most part it is a story of a boy and his dragon.
Petes Dragon

Laurence is a bit stiff but it fits with the timeframe of the book and since he is English. I did want him to loosen up a bit more. Temeraire on the other hand is so obviously loyal to Laurence and pretty charming that he made the book all that more enjoyable for me.

If you haven’t read a Naomi Novak book yet I still say go with Uprooted first but she has a great writing style that can bring you into a new world and keep you there easily.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
423 reviews467 followers
October 26, 2015
As there are many great reviews for this already that really pinpoint the good and the bad of this book, I shall allow myself a lazy review.

Six inch punch by Bruce Lee:


Six word review by me:

Here be dragons. Read it now.

Profile Image for Laura.
1,041 reviews13 followers
May 31, 2021
Reread for a challenge over at MVBO Group. And loved it just as much as the first time around!!

I have to admit I was not expecting much from this series. I really love dragons! But dragons fighting in a war as a part of the British aerial corps, working together with the British navy to fight off a French invasion led by none other than Napoleon?! I was convinced it cannot possibly work. Except that it does! It really does!!!
It is different, original, action packed and heart-warming all at the same time. And it looks more or less like this:

Temeraire by LemonVampire Watch Fan Art / Digital Art / Painting & Airbrushing / Books & Novels

The story will keep you glued to the seat till you reach the end and leave you wanting for more.

It all starts with Navy captain Will Laurence discovering an unhatched dragon egg on board of a captured French frigate. As dragons are extremely valuable creatures, they have to be harnessed as soon as they hatch. And as fate will have it, despite his love for the navy and reluctance to join the despised Aerial Corps, Lawrence ends up being chosen by the dragon as his handler and has his whole life irrevocably turned upside down. Temeraire, as Lawrence chooses to name him, is a wonderful creature that caught my heart from the very first moment he hatched. His charming personality and his gentleness slowly turn Lawrence’s resentment toward him into a genuine affection that further develops into a bond so strong that neither would be happy without the other.
Together, Lawrence and Temeraire join the Aerial Corps and learn how to fly alongside other dragons and riders in aerial battles to repel the French invasion.

The dragons are brilliant! Their personalities differ just as those of humans. The kindness a huge 10 ton beast displays towards a simpler one of his kind makes you want to be a better person yourself. The gentleness and care they have towards their riders is so sweet! The unconditional love between rider and dragon makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.

And the riders themselves, Novik made them so wonderfully human that you can easily pick one or the other to identify with. They are all faulty but still good, with certain exceptions of course. Lawrence is by far my favourite with his old-school ways and manners: a gentleman through and through!

The descriptions of different breeds and their characteristics are exceptional, the author making it very clear how every type of dragon looks so you can even picture them while reading.

Dragon Breeds Size Refrence by Shadowind on deviantART #temeraire

I have to admit I had some problems understanding the battle rigging so I checked it out. For those of you who’ve also wondered, this is how it should go:

Maximus - Regal Copper - Color by DanielGovar on deviantART. Naomi Novik's Temeraire series

The aerial battle scenes were brilliant. Extremely detailed and on the point, they were masterfully rendered. Not every author would be able to pull something like that off. Novik made me see how the dragons move, how they turn or twist or hover and even made my heart stop for a little while expecting Temeraire to be hit. I found it pretty easy to imagine Lily’s formation and follow her through drills and action.

I can safely say this is one of the finest books I ever read. The writing style is wonderful! The plot original! And the dragons fantastic! If the sequels are just the same, it will be one of my top 5 favourite series.

If you love dragons or sweet reads that make you feel mushy, this is just the book for you! I highly recommend it.

Buddy read with the Dragon Corps from FBR.
Profile Image for Puck.
648 reviews299 followers
August 26, 2017
"Temeraire", a.k.a. The Gentleman’s Guide to How to Train Your Dragon.

Dragons! Who doesn’t love dragons? GOT Season 7 is finally bringing theirs into action, and so I decided to read this ‘old’ (= 10 years) dragon book, which I enjoyed immensely. The writing may be a bit dense, but reading about Laurence raising a baby dragon from egg to powerful beast was a lot of fun.

The plot is quite simple: we’re talking about Europe during the 17th century, but dragons are alive and flying and mainly being used as powerful weapons in the war. After taking commando over a French ship, Navy Captain Will Laurence discovers that it was carrying aboard a dragon egg that’s about to hatch. When it does, the dragon unfortunately imprints itself on Laurence, who now has to say goodbye to his old comfortable lifestyle to become a dragon trainer.

If you don’t see the problem here – me neither, because that job sounds AWESOME! And to be fair, Laurence doesn’t cry about his new career for too long, because Temeraire is the most incredible and endearing dragon I’ve met. He’s a mix between a curious young kitten (who loves gold necklaces as much as a cat loves yarn), but hyper-intelligent at the same time. And after Laurence and Temeraire move to the training grounds in Scotland, the reader gets to meet many more dragons and trainers, who all make this story much more engaging and delightful.

However, the setting and the writing-style can be an issue. As I said earlier the Napoleonic Wars provide the backdrop to this story, so a large part of the book is dedicated to talking about battle-strategies and the technical aspects of aerial training dragons. This information is interesting but a bit dull, and since we only get two real battle-scenes, some readers might find this book quite underwhelming when it comes to action.
The writing-style is also pretty old-fashioned. Similar to the writing in the books of Jane Austen*, almost every person that we meet is wealthy, well mannered and speaks ‘posh’. Luckily though the writing never becomes too wooly: dragons like honesty more than being polite, which takes fancy Laurence some getting used to. ;)

Because no matter the writing-style or the technical battle-plans: the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire's is easily the best part of this book. The way the two grow closer and mature, both separately and together, is well-build up and so touching.
Next to that Novik has done an amazing job with the historical worldbuilding (you wouldn't think adding dragons to the Napoleonic Wars would work, but it does), so I’m very excited to continue on with this series. Moar dragons, please!

* = speaking about Jane Austen: do you know that on the fanfiction-website Archive of Our Own, you can find a lot of Temeraire/Persuasion or Temeraire/Pride & Prejudice crossovers? #NoShame guys, reading about Elizabeth Bennet on a dragon is a great way to spend your afternoon.

Read here my other reviews of the Temeraire books:
#2 Throne of Jade (upcoming)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
428 reviews184 followers
July 9, 2022
His Majesty's Dragon feels retro in a way that belies its 2006 publication date: it owes much to McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern and to Lackey's Valdemar, but with Horatio Hornblower vibes. Also a lot of military training, strategizing, male posturing, and other stuff that was okay in small doses but in excess made my eyes glaze over.

The dragons are probably the best part, although they seem very wish-fulfilment-y. Here's a beast, fully articulate and intelligent straight out of the shell, that Chooses you, forsaking all others, and then serves as both vehicle and best bud until death. (Also, some spit poison or breathe fire, which is nifty.) I'm kinda surprised no one's here complaining about the instalove between dragon Temeraire and former naval captain Will Laurence, even though it's not the smoochy type.

Anyway, the basic premise of the book is that dragons are the main weapon in the Napoleonic Wars; Laurence captures a French ship with a dragon egg, the ensuing dragon chooses him, and he's forced to leave his current career and become an aviator (i.e. dragon fighter) in the war instead. Cue lots of dragon bonding, training, and a handful of aerial combat scenes that I found strikingly boring.

In part due to the stiff, Napoleonic era language, conflict seems very muted in this book. There's basically none between Laurence and Temeraire; brief skirmishes with other aviators are quickly resolved with a single quelling and appropriately cold remark from Laurence. Temeraire is hardly ever in actual danger, being the size of about six tanks put together. The only time I felt a twinge of emotion was regarding Levitas. Alas, poor Levitas!

I can't quite tell if this was meant to be humorous, but I was tickled by this scene (paraphrased):

Laurence: You're eating the entire ship's provisions in one go. Let's take you fishing.
Baby Temeraire: OK!
[brief narrative interlude about joys of dragonflight]
Baby Temeraire: Oh, I see one! [grabs a freaking dolphin out of the sea and eats it] I like fish.

I know this is fantasy and not SF, but I feel like exciting opportunities to explore dragon physiology were lost here. Why is their blood almost black? Do they have a different oxygen-carrying molecule? If they're able to fly because of lighter-than-air gases (helium?) in special sacs, does that affect the racetrack, hyperefficient bird/dino lungs that also aid flight? How is such a large, energetically extravagant, endothermic animal able to have such a long lifespan? A little more attention to cryptozoology and a little less time spent on military strategy would have made a big difference for me.

I did what any reader, ambivalently finishing the first of a long series, would do: I read the reviews for the remaining eight books in the series. And then I decided I didn't need to read them after all. Off to re-watch How to Train Your Dragon!
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books1,989 followers
May 27, 2016
pleasantly formal, yet still disposed to the occasionally thrilling episode of draconian escandalo. stately, but lush; a fun romp into every child's fantasy:

having a fearsome flying lizard for a best friend.

ate this badboy up like it was a bonbon.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,030 followers
October 22, 2014
A very engaging book, I read it in a few hours on a very cold Sunday afternoon & evening. I didn't want to put it down. Historically, it is set about the early 19th century during Napoleon's reign. Told from the POV of a British sea captain, but the twist is that dragons are a part of the war effort between the two. Our captain/hero gets caught up in that part of the war.

Characterization is very good as is the portrayal of British society & military. There isn't a lot of military detail, but just enough to lend authenticity, while leaving the book very readable & open for a great story.

The book stands on its own, but after reading it, I want to get the other books books in the series (5 total, at this time). I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jack.
Author 4 books129 followers
August 11, 2015
Well, after this re-read, I don't know what I was smoking when I only gave His Majesty’s Dragon 3 stars. This is easily one of the best "alternate history" adventure books I've read.

It's amazing how well Naomi Novik has integrated dragons into the arsenals of the various nations during the Napoleonic wars. As there have been plenty of works already written about that time period, including the well-known Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, it's nice to have a fresh take on these familiar battles and characters (Trafalgar, Napoleon, Nelson, etc). In fact, everything is so well thought out and meticulously detailed that it's now hard to imagine dragons NOT being involved in these great historical battles.

One of the greatest things about this book, and those that follow, is the fact that dragons aren't "all powerful". They have been bred to be specialists, and within their specialized roles they excel, but outside of that narrow scope they struggle. Most can’t see in the dark, young dragons are prone to panic or overzealousness, and they are all susceptible to the muskets and cannons (and other dragons) of the time period. They are not “super” weapons…they are aerial assets that have to be used carefully and tactically. Aside from that, though, is the fact that they are also creatures who think and feel, and don’t always agree with the rules and laws of the military they “serve”.

Our protagonist, Captain William Laurence, is very much a man of his time. Born into some privilege, he is an officer and a gentleman through and through, with duty to King & Country coming before anything else. He reminds me very much of Captain Jack Aubrey from the O’Brian books, in that he is singularly devoted to his service in His Majesty’s military, with everything else in life being an ancillary thought. If the entire book had him this uptight, we’d have been in for a rough ride. But once he and Temeraire are paired, he starts to open up, as the more “progressive” leanings of his dragon start to take hold in his own heart and mind.

As for Temeraire, he is just as fleshed out a character as Laurence, even if we don’t get chapters expressly from his point of view. He is young, impulsive, and marveled by the world in which he was hatched. With his inquisitive nature, natural rebelliousness, and disdain for useless rules, he is the perfect foil to Captain Laurence’s stiff upper lip upbringing. They are such a fantastic team that they could easily carry the book by themselves. Fortunately, there are plenty of supporting characters who are also colorful and well thought out, which help broaden the strokes of the story even more. The less said about them the better though, as there are some conflicts and revelations best left unspoiled to new readers.

There’s quite a bit of technical descriptions thrown about in these books, but Naomi Novik writes in such a way that it never becomes cumbersome or confusing. The sea and air battles are handled with amazing flair, and the vernacular of the time is spot on (and also used in a way that the meaning is conveyed, even if the word may not be known to our modern minds). So much happens on these pages, that it sometimes feels like the book should be more pages than it is.

So yeah, shame on me for rating it so low from my first read through. I enjoyed it so much that it’s easily a 4 star read, maybe even rounded up to 4.5 stars. Now, onwards to the book # 2!
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
569 reviews3,946 followers
April 8, 2022
¡Perfecto para los amantes de la ficción histórica y los dragones!

He disfrutado muchísimo de esta novela, de leerla poco a poco y dejarme llevar por ese estilo clásico que tiene. Tiene mucho de la fantasía de antes, sin tantos giros y sorpresas, simplemente una aventura con personajes entrañables.

Lo que sorprende es un contexto increíblemente trabajado y lleno de detalles, estamos en plenas guerras napoleónicas pero en esta ucronía, los dragones no solo existen sino que son una fuerza militar importante, pertenecen a las fuerzas aéreas y su adiestramiento es vital para la evolución de la contienda y los países implicados.

Nuestro protagonista es un estirado miembro del ejército naval que debe hacerse cargo de un huevo de dragón por casualidad y del que nace Temerario. Su relación de amistad y dependencia mutua es el centro de la historia, así como la evolución de Laurence, que acaba abrazando el modo de vida de los aviadores, algo que choca con sus ideales y educación de noble y capitán de la Armada incialmente.

Lo mejor del libro es que Novik respeta muchísimo tanto la mentalidad de la época como su entorno, y al mismo tiempo se inventa un montón de detalles relacionados a los dragones y el ejército de aviación fascinantes.

Es el primero de una saga que obviamente voy a seguir leyendo, porque para mi estos libros puede que no sean espectaculares en nada particular pero me resultan una lectura muy confort y disfrutable.

Pd. Buena parte del libro está ambientada en Escocia y la escena en la que sale el Castillo de Edimburgo (¡con dragones!) me hizo casi chillar de emoción xD
Profile Image for Nicholas Eames.
Author 10 books5,560 followers
October 3, 2019
Well, damn, that was awesome. Not NORMALLY a fan of "alternate earth" fantasy but I'm glad I gave this a shot. The relationship between Lawrence and Temeraire was a beautiful thing, and the narrator did an amazing job bringing every character to life.

I ESPECIALLY love the names given to the dragon bred by different countries--the Chinese "Celestial", the Russian "Ironwing"...all of them were just so awesome.

And there are 9 books in this series? Wow...that's gonna take me a while.
Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,242 reviews385 followers
March 22, 2017
Quick impromptu reread with Melissa! 4 stars and original review stands. God I love Temeraire so much <3


Buddy read with the BBB gang!
(Bumped up to a full 4 stars rather than the original 3.5 because I remember it so fondly)

Temeraire instantly brings Toothless to mind

Seriously, if Toothless could talk, he would be Temeraire. It's lovely. The idea of inserting dragons into a historical context is brilliant and for a first novel this is excellent. I found it a bit long-winded at times and might have skimmed here and there, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. Temeraire and Laurence's relationship is ADORABLE (I find myself pronouncing L's name with a French accent even though he is English, because I believe it would be spelled Lawrence that way sue me), and their interactions with the other captains and dragons were well-thought-out as well. Lily and Harcourt, Jane and Emily Roland, even Rankin, much as I detested him. I got a kick out of the fact that Dyer was one of his runners and Collins one of his crew -- that's the bf's and my last names :D teehee. I also really liked Hollin.

At this point I'm not quite sure if I'll continue with the series; this could have used some trimming in places, but I do like the characters . I'll probably snag the sequel from the library eventually. Not a high priority, but eventually. Thanks for the buddy read even if I was slow AF, BBB peeps!
Profile Image for Nicole.
732 reviews1,838 followers
March 28, 2021
DNF at 70%

I am very disappointed. While Spinning Silver was okay, I loved Uprooted. I read it back in 2015 when I was first introduced to the vast world of fantasy and YA. This book was very boring. I honestly don't recommend it unless you are into old British wars, specifically during Napoleon times and his raids on England -and you have to be very interested in those- and a "gentlemen" main character aka a very tedious, no fun, serious man.

I loved the first part actually. Temeraire is such a sweetheart, definitely one of my favorite animal companions in books. The first part when he met Laurence and their journey even though uneventful, was entertaining (because of the dragon). However, after 30% the book lost its spark. The training was very boring. I honestly couldn't push myself to read further than 70%. I do not like not finishing books because I hope the end will offer something good, yet, I should use this quarantine time to read books I enjoy. After all, I can only imagine how short on time we're going to be when this pandemic is over and we're back to college.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,865 reviews370 followers
January 9, 2023
I enjoyed this first book of the Temeraire series and my first book by Naomi Novik. She provides an interesting alternative history, in which the Napoleonic Wars feature aerial troops on dragon back. The book opens with an English naval vessel capturing a French ship with a dragon egg aboard. At first, there is general celebration, until a bit of research reveals that the egg is likely to hatch before they can reach a port. What will they do with a dragonet on a ship?

When the egg hatches, the dragonet staggers about a bit but ignores the man who has drawn the short straw and is obliged to try to bond with it. Of course the hatchling fixates on the ship's captain, Will Laurence. This situation reminded me of Anne McCaffery's Pern books, where potential dragon riders gathered on the hatching grounds and waited to be chosen by a dragonet. Unlike the dragons of Pern, Novik's dragons are capable of speech, not just telepathic communication. Caught flat-footed by the bonding, Laurence choses a naval name for the beast, Temeraire, the name of a ship.

Dragons seem to inhabit an uneasy place between men and beasts. Most of them are intelligent and all are capable of speech. Yet they are treated largely like extra-intelligent horses, harnessed and used as weapons of war. My cousin and I frequently marvel at the willingness of horses to obey humans—they are much stronger than us and we truly require their co-operation for us to work together. How much more would this apply to a being the size of a dragon? And Laurence sometimes must do some fancy explaining to convince Temeraire to participate in some activities. Dragon and human spend time together reading and I expect that soon Temeraire will soon be better educated than most of the humans around him.

Also similar to Pern, dragon-rider society seems to run along different mores than regular English society. We get to realize it as Laurence navigates the differences from naval culture. The distinctions make sense—dragons tend to overwhelm a person's life, making marriage unlikely. What spouse would put up with playing second fiddle to a dragon? Unlike Pern, there are few female dragon handlers, but they seem to be treated with more respect than the women of Pern.

As you have probably gathered, I think the Pern series was a major influence on Novik, but she has written an updated version (and one that I prefer, though others may feel otherwise). With the obvious intelligence of both Temeraire and Laurence, I expect future books will feature these two shaking up the established order.

Book number 478 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,058 reviews411 followers
April 2, 2023
Me ha gustado si bien es cierto que se nota que el libro forma parte de una serie y casi la mitad es algo introductorio me ha gustado mucho como se representan a los dragones, no como simples mascotas o bestias usadas para la guerra, sino que pueden hablar y establecen un vinculo muy fuerte con sus jinetes. Además al igual que los humanos los hay mas listos y tontos. Y las características y tamaños difieren en función de la raza o bien de los cruces realizados por los humanos con anterioridad, asi hay algunos que pueden lanzar ácido, fuego (son los menos a pesar de que es lo que esperamos todo, jejeje) u otras habilidades...
Si, seguiré con la serie.
Me ha gustado como es la personalidad del dragon Temerario asi como la de su jinete.
Las batallas ha sido lo mas!!
Aunque sean ingleses!!!
Valoración: 7.5/10
Sinopsis: Cuando el capitán Will Laurence captura la fragata Amitié y se apodera de su preciado cargamento, no imagina que su vida está a punto de cambiar para siempre. El cargamento es nada más y nada menos que un huevo de dragón imperial, obsequio del emperador chino a Napoleón.

Y cuando la criatura salga del cascarón, Will será el elegido como criador. A medida que el joven capitán empieza a involucrarse cada vez más en la crianza de su dragón, juntos irán aprendiendo las tácticas de guerra aérea, ya que Francia, dirigida por Napoleón Bonaparte, tiene a su armada dragoniana lista para invadir Gran Bretaña.
¿Estás preparado para vivir las guerras napoleónicas como nunca?
¿Quién saldrá victorioso?
¿Quién caerá en la batalla?
# 8- Un libro que contenga 2 idiomas. Reto Popsugar 2023
Profile Image for Joe.
179 reviews93 followers
March 30, 2017
Laurence read the final sentence aloud and placed the book down. He was tired after a long day of flight training and eager to sleep, but he sensed Temeraire's energy and knew his companion had something to say. 'How did you like the book?' Laurence asked.

'I enjoyed it.' Temeraire said 'I liked the dragons and the people. They all felt real and comfortable... when we got to know them.'

'But perhaps we didn't always get to know them?' Laurence asked as he closed his eyes and leaned into Tereraire's warm flank.

'Well, the story just hopped around so much.' Temeraire said and raised his head, sleep forgotten. 'They were on the ship and we were getting to know how that worked and who the sailors were. And I was very keen to know all about that and how they were going to feed the dragon on such a long journey. But then that ended and we were in British society and the captain was dealing with his old family and friends; seeing whether they'd accept him now that he wasn't a ship captain anymore, and those people were interesting and I wanted to get to know them but then that ended and they were rushed off to the dragon school.'

'And how did you like the dragon school?' Laurence asked, amused but impressed at how seriously Temeraire was analyzing a story he himself had treated as a lark.

'I liked that. They stayed at the school a while and we really got to know the dragons and the people there. Not everyone got along but they didn't fight over nothing like in some stories where there's lives at stake every three pages. It felt like a group of real people I'd like to meet.' Temeraire paused. 'Too bad about the actual training, I didn't find it as interesting as the navy or English society. How much is there to a dragon flying?'

'And what about the ending? The battle and all?' Laurence asked. His mind was drifting off.

'Oh, all that stuff, it was just like all those other stories. The surprising stuff, or the stuff that was supposed to be surprising; the traitor and Napoleon's plan and how they almost lost but then they won. I knew what was coming and felt like...' Temeraire looked down and saw that Laurence was dozing softly. Temeraire curled his wings around the both of them and they sailed away into dreams of people and their dragons; dragons and their people.

Edited 3-30-17
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone (on hiatus).
1,501 reviews201 followers
September 30, 2021
Well at the risk of sounding like Veruca Salt, I want a dragon and I want one now!

This is the second book lately that I have thoroughly enjoyed despite not much actually happening. How can not much happen in a book where dragons fight in the Napoleonic wars you ask? Well, the author can focus on the hatching, training, and building up of the relationships between our main character and his dragon. But I was there for it. Temeraire is such a wonderful dragon and I loved the connection that developed between him and Captain Laurence. Naomi decided to maintain the misogynistic views held during this time period but went some way to showing that 'girls can do anything' which included riding dragons that will rain hellfire upon their enemies. A great series opener!
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