Friday, January 8, 2010

Review: His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1)From the Back Cover:

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain's defense by taking to the skies...not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.
When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future--and an unexpected kinship with the most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarefied 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.

This was my first foray into the Historical Fantasy genre. This book had been on my to-read list for a while and I needed an escapist break after some pretty heavy reading over the holidays. It's a very interesting premise and the author carries it out well. It's well-researched and everything else about the time period is normal except that there happen to be dragons everywhere as Britain tries to fight off an invasion by Napoleon.

Laurence is a likeable lead, a brave, honorable and exacting commander, and Temeraire as a baby dragon is very much like a child. The two develop a quick bond as they are both thrust into the unorthodox world of the Aerial Corps. The book opens up right in the middle of the action and drew me in right away. I found that the author was a little heavy on the description and that tended to be tedious at times, but there are some great battle scenes that are very exciting and the relationship between the captain and his dragon is touching, though at times a little sappy, but I still found myself shedding a tear at one point.

It's a quick, light read and I enjoyed this book for what it is, a fun little trip into a world that could have been. This is the first in the series and I do plan to read the next one, Throne of Jade. According to the author's website, the book has been optioned by none other than director Peter Jackson, and in his hands it would make a great movie.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Stars
Mood:  Decompressed

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