I'm still stubbornly trying to catch up on writing reviews for books I can barely remember reading. And I'm also still stubbornly trying to finish this Temeraire series. I'm generally not a big fan of fantasy, but the first novel had such an original twining of history with the fascinating characters of the different dragons, that I got sucked in. I was disappointed by some of the succeeding books in this series and Ms. Novik and I are going to have to agree to disagree on the proper use of a semicolon, but I like to finish what I start. Thus, Victory of Eagles (2008) by Naomi Novik was one of the first books I read this year.
All of the plots of these novels tend to merge in my mind. Especially when it's been awhile since I've read it. But having just refreshed my recollection by reading Amazon reviews, I can say that Victory of Eagles begins with the dragon Temeraire and his beloved Captain Laurence separated because of their "treasonous" act at the end of the last book. Temeraire is sent up to the breeding site in Wales, and Laurence is made prisoner on a ship. The only way Temeraire even accedes to this is because of their promise not to harm Captain Laurence. However, when Temeraire hears that the ship Laurence is on has sunk with no survivors, he gathers the dragons around him to leave the breeding site and go fight the French. Although I have vague memories of Lien (the Chinese dragon that is Temeraire's nemesis) creating a giant tidal wave (in fact, I'm not even sure if the tidal wave is from this book), I cannot remember how this book ends. Some of the reviews mention something happening in Australia, which I think is the setting of the next novel. Hopefully it will all come back to me when I start reading the next novel.
I think I've gotten into something of a rhythm with these books. I don't particularly enjoy them, and they're not a favorite genre of mine, but I still enjoy the characters enough to keep reading. I also want find out how it's all going to end--probably just for the sake of closure. Temeraire is still very endearing, his independence, honesty, adventurousness, and loyalty make him very likable, and it was heart wrenching to read about his pain when he thought Laurence was dead. The honorable Captain Laurence is also very interesting, especially with his struggles as a condemned traitor.
I am not sure that I would recommend this series to anyone, unless they were an avid fan of dragons/fantasy/history because there are so many other books to read out there, but I definitely enjoy these books enough to finish out the series myself.