(note before I start this review: HALF CANNONBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!)
At this point, Blood of Tyrants being the eighth book in the Temeraire series, I am still very much on board the Temeraire train, but reading all of them in a row without the benefit of waiting between books (other than brief stints when the library is out of copies of whatever’s next) has meant that a certain fatigue has set in.
I think I said in an earlier review that Novik has an incredible way of surprising me just when I think I can’t be surprised anymore, and that is absolutely still true. In fact, all the things I love about Temeraire are still true: the narrative is completely unpredictable and the stories are exciting, and adventuresome, and have lots of fun lean-in moments. The now-enormous cast of characters is charming and I’m fond of every one of them. The added-a-few-books-ago switching back-and-forth between Laurence’s and Temeraire’s POVs really works. But the thing is that I know the characters now inside-and-out, and their behaviors in the stories are completely predictable, so even if I don’t know what’s coming, I do know that, for example, Laurence will be a Mary Sue about it (#sorrynotsorry), and Temeraire will have a violent reaction but find a way to be reasonable and then use his skills to win the day, and Hammond will be addicted to cocaine, and Emily Roland will be capable beyond any expectation of a young woman, and Iskierka will be violently emotional and unmanageable, and Grandby will be resigned about it with a certain nobility of character in spite of his lack of societally-appropriate manners. Etc. And overall, they will always, always be where the international action is. I laughed out loud when I came across this passage: ““If the world had not heard of you, after your adventure at Gdansk,” Kutuzov said, meaning Danzig, where they had rescued the garrison from the wreck of the Prussian campaign, “or after the plague, we should certainly have heard of you after Brazil. Where you go, you leave half the world overturned behind you.” Temeraire: the dragon who goes everywhere in the world, just in time for history.
So at this point, I’m mostly just in it to find out what happens: how will they beat Napoleon? Will they get to North America, which other than the Poles is the only continent they haven’t visited yet? (Novik introduced Americans in Blood of Tyrants, so I think it must be coming.) Will there be a reinstatement to the service? Equal rights for dragons? Retirement to the valley in Australia? The ninth and final book has just been released, so the wait won’t be too long; there are 4 people in ahead of me at the library.