Gotta say, this one disappointed me.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, the length of a series is inversely proportional to the quality of writing.
Maybe not universally acknowledged, but it should be? We know Naomi Novik has mastered pacing, and can write, and is good at creating well-fleshed characters. However, if you didn’t know this about her and read this book, no one would blame you for thinking she was still figuring out her voice.
Temeraire loses Laurence to a storm off the coast of Japan. Laurence bumps his head, is washed ashore with amnesia. Temeraire and friends make their way to Nagasaki, and stay there. Laurence tries to make his way to Nagasaki, without knowing that he has a dragon, that his dragon is looking for him or even that he is no longer in the Navy. HIJINKS. Once they find each other, they go to China as planned, and meet up with Laurence’s adopted family, the Emperor and the Crown Prince. Who send them to Xian to prove that the British aren’t sending opium to China, contravening their treaties. Laurence recovers his memory. Temeraire and Mei have lots of sex, as they try to make an egg for China.
Sorry about giving away the book here – I spell it out to just prove that this is TOO MUCH PLOT for one novel. I felt like Novik could have gotten good mileage out of just two or three of these plot lines, as opposed to ALL of them.
I am not saying this wasn’t fun: I am just saying this was a low point in the Temeraire series for me. It still gets a 3.5 stars from me, just because unlike other writers, she doesn’t try to shoehorn romance into the story. (There is a fun moment when Temeraire thinks Laurence might be romancing the governess, and blows up. AH, jealous dragons.)