Throne of Jade: The Temeraire Series, Book 2 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Naomi Novik’s stunning series of novels follow the adventures of Captain William Laurence and his fighting dragon, Temeraire, as they are thrown together to fight for Britain during the turbulent time of the Napoleonic Wars.
History takes flight in this deliciously addictive novel, which captures the Napoleonic period perfectly and skilfully layers history with imagination by adding a Dragon Air Force to the battle for England.
Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly prized of all draconic breeds, famed for their intelligence, for their agility and most of all for the Divine Wind - their terrible roar, capable of shattering the heavy timbers of war ships and devastating woodland. Captured by the British, Temeraire was meant to be the companion of the Emperor Napoleon and not captained by a mere officer in the British Air Corps. The Chinese have demanded his return, and the British government cannot afford to provoke the Asian superpower into allying with the French - even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal and forces Laurence and Temeraire apart.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 52 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||03 January 2019|
|Publisher||HarperCollins Publishers Limited|
|Best Sellers Rank||
2,344 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
27 in Alternate History Science Fiction
30 in War & Military Fiction
34 in Historical Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
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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
I love Temeraire and really like what Novik does in this book. Admittedly, we miss the other dragons and their captains, but to compensate there are interesting developments in the relationship between Temeraire and Laurence when they arrive in China.
If you're looking for something action-packed and fast-paced then this may disappoint. Much of the interest comes from the interaction of the characters, not least the political machinations and the confrontation between English and Chinese.
Temeraire's education into what it means to be a dragon in China is done very well, and his maturation leads to some nice interplay with Laurence.
So this is a slower book, in lots of ways, than the first but I still found it completely engrossing.