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Throne of Jade: 02 Mass Market Paperback – 1 January 1900
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"[Naomi Novik] is soaring on the wings of a dragon."--The New York Times "A thrilling fantasy . . . All hail Naomi Novik."--The Washington Post Book World "An amazing performance . . . [I] was immediately hooked by the writing, the research and the sheer courage of the whole enterprise."--Chicago Tribune "Novik's influences run the gamut from Jane Austen to Patrick O'Brian, with a side trip through Anne McCaffrey. Her books are completely involving and probably addictive, their central conceit explored in clever detail with a great deal of wit and historical insight."--San Francisco Chronicle "Something new and quite wonderful . . . The Temeraire trilogy could well be this year's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell."--BookPage
"A superbly written, character-driven series . . . What keeps one turning the pages is the urge to find out what happens next to Captain Laurence and Temeraire, characters who win one's heart from the beginning. Bravo!"--Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
- Publisher : Del Rey Books (1 January 1900)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0345481291
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345481290
- Dimensions : 10.57 x 2.77 x 17.4 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 209,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The relationship between Laurence and Temeraire - and the character of Temeraire, who is still lovable and gets all the best lines - is the strongest element of the novel. It's quite readable, and moves away from the battles of the first novel to a more political theme. The cultural contrasts around how dragons are treated in Europe and in China is interesting, as Laurence's preconception that the British way must naturally be the best is challenged as his horizons broaden. However, readers who enjoyed the action of the first novel might miss it - and the climactic battle feels rather pointless.
Overall, it's a second novel that has floundered a bit - it's still readable, although as a standalone it might not have made the publisher's cut. I know that Novik is a good writer, so will continue on to read the next in the series - second novels in a series are often less strong as the writer has to build on the original concept and start setting up bigger story arcs. Hopefully in the third and fourth she will find her stride again.
There are quite a few set piece action bits, which were well written, but they often felt an aside to main story as there was little after effects from the events described. (One character tries to kill another, gets pushed over board from the ship, dies. The characters left say “We will not say anything of this.” and indeed they don’t and nothing more is said. It ended so abruptly.)
The actions bits were separated by a lot of the main character endlessly musing about life, the universe and everything. Far too much as far as I was concerned. I must confess I skipped some of these passages as I wanted the story not the endless thoughts of the main character going over over what seemed the same thing again and again.
Not sure if I will buy the next book in the series. I am going to have to check the reviews a lot more closely.
Again, just a personal opinion, but I read fantasy to escape my trying life, the Fantasy compartment of which is there for escapism from such debate as Naomi Novak seems determined to weave into the threads of these novels. I have to say I have read beyond this book in the series and these conjectures are not limited to this volume alone. While the author is determined to develop a social conscience in retrospect for her reader, Captain Lawrence, our hero, strangely becomes inactive and given the weapon he controls in the form of his magnificent dragon, allows himself to be controlled both geographically and physically by a most unlikely and I found annoying plot line, which having read on seems to be solely a mechanism to allow the Dragon to develop in a way that allows the author to discuss with herself between the two main characters her own social and political conundrums.
Naomi Novik has put together an excellent series of books. It's got a great set of characters, especially Lawrence and Temeraire, it moves around the globe to lots of interesting locations.
I usually read a series of books interleaved with my other books ... not so with Temeraire. It's that good I read all nine of them back to back
Throne of Jade continues the story of Captain Laurence and his dragon Temeraire, as they travel to China to face the threat of being separated. It is Novik's credit that she faces the situation she created in the first book head on, rather than waving it off between books. Temeraire is a chinese dragon, captured in the egg from the French, who obtained it in mysterious circumstances, and now the Chinese are demanding it back. Novik clearly knows her history, telling us that the danger to trade from the Far East means this has to be taken seriously, and soon Laurence and Temeraire are being shipped off to China to an uncertain fate.
Comparisions with Patrick O'Brien's style of plotting start to become irresistable, as the long voyage is used to bring out characters and the machinations of the Chinese. However, Novik lacks the skill to skip the travelogue where necessary, so the middle third of the book drags a little, livened up by a combat that seems a little contrived.
Once in China, we see Temeraire at his best, as a real rounded character pondering the place of dragons in a human world, but maintaining a real and believable relationship with his human pilot, Laurence. There have been many attempts in fantasy to portray relationships between man and monster, and Novik makes one of the best.
The Chinese section of the book produces the climax of the plot, and the plotting that is revealed to have been going on. The villain and his motivation is a little too easy to spot in the end, and combined with the flabby midsection of the book drags it down from five-star status, but is still well worth reading.