Thursday, December 18, 2008

#27 - "Throne of Jade" by Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade (2006) by Naomi Novik is the second book in the "Temeraire" fantasy series. I read the first one a couple months ago and have since decided to read the whole series. I think five of the books have been published so far, with a total of nine planned.

Throne of Jade continues the story of the rare dragon, Temeraire, and his handler Captain Laurence in the early 1800's. The Chinese are angry that the dragon egg they sent as a gift to Napoleon was stolen by Captain Laurence, and they insist that Temeraire be brought back to China. England's hands are full with its war with France and does not want to anger China or threaten its trade relations, so they agree to send Temeraire back to China. Because Temeraire refuses to go anywhere without Laurence, he goes along with them, neither knowing what will occur when they reach China.

I don't have too much more to say about this story that I didn't say about the first. I enjoyed reading it, even though part of me wished Laurence and Temeraire back in England where there was more excitement. The relationship between Laurence and Temeraire is sweet, and the Chinese dragons and their lives not only expand the world of the series, but also provide an interesting contrast to the now familiar British way of breeding and living with dragons. Temeraire is a compelling, likeable character, who is incredibly loyal but also very independent. He doesn't particularly care about traditional rules and values, which makes him, as well as many of the other dragons, something of a rebel in the British Air Corps. I noticed in this book that Novik uses an inordinate number of colons, semi-colons, and commas, which was a little distracting, but on the whole I was entertained.

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