I don’t know what it is about this series, but when I read the first book, it also took me f o r e v e r and also ruined my review momentum. I don’t know why! It was perfectly enjoyable, aside from some dragging in the middle. I think I might have to switch to audio on this series, even though I own the first four books in hard copy. I just cannot with them for some reason!
The premise of this one is that the Chinese are angry with Britain for having taken Temeraire’s egg, who they intended for Napoleon, and are demanding he be taken from Lawrence and returned to China. Neither Temeraire or Lawrence are having this, and a compromise is finally reached in that Lawrence and their crew will sail with Temeraire to China, where hopefully some workable solution can be achieved. The first third of this book is very emotionally engaging as both Lawrence and Temeraire are both upset and frustrated by the situation and how they’re being treated; as is the last third, when they have arrived in China, and the complex internal politics of diplomacy and such conflict with those of the English delegation. Unfortunately, what felt like half the book or more, but was only the middle third, was spent on a tedious sea journey where important plot seeds were planted, but were less than super interesting to read about at the time.
What I liked most about this book was the way that it introduced world-changing concepts. The first book is all about Lawrence and Temeraire being new to each other, and Lawrence acclimating to the new circumstances he finds himself in. This one turns the perspective on all of that on its head, and has Lawrence and Temeraire questioning if things in England should change, and if they can. Specifically, their trip to China makes both of them realize that dragons are essentially subjugated, despite being intelligent, powerful beings. There are parallels made between the way England treats dragons and the slave trade, another conflict in the novel, as Lawrence and his family are abolitionists, and the captain of the ship to China engages in the trade. I like the way the respect the Chinese people showed the dragons played with Lawrence’s pre-conceived notions about England’s supremacy and China’s inferiority, and I liked that he was willing to admit he was wrong by the end.
Not sure when I will get to the next book, and here’s hoping that one doesn’t put me months behind in reviewing, like the first two did. (Thank you CBR BINGO for finally helping me get it together enough to write this review.)
CBR Bingo: Green.