Monday, July 11, 2011

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

" . . . enthralling reading—it's like Jane Austen playing Dungeons & Dragons with Eragon's Christopher Paolini," said Lev Grossman of Naomi Novik’s first book in Time Magazine on Sunday, Mar. 05, 2006.

Pride, sensibility, the 1800's, Regency settings, Napoleonic wars, fantasy and dragons? How could I not snap up the first book in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series? And the second, too!

From page 7 when Captain Will Laurence of His Majesty's Ship Reliant discovers a dragon egg on a captured French frigate, I was drawn into the story and captivated by the relationships between the characters. And what a cast of characters! Temeraire, the hatchling harnessed by Laurence. Longwing dragons captained only by women. Pascal's Blue, Regal Coppers, Celestials, Oriental breeds, Western breeds, feral dragons . . . the dragons are sentient beings. I’m humming "A dragon, a dragon, I thought I saw a dragon!" from the movie Pete's Dragon. Then there are the British sailors and aviators and French villains. There are naval and aerial battle scenes, related in great detail, but the heart of the book is the friendship between Laurence and Temeraire, and how their bond affects Laurence’s personal life and his naval career. As Grossman predicted, I AM enthralled with Novik’s prose.

I like Grossman’s 2009 book, The Magicians. His words on Novik hold more credence with me since he is an author himself. Check out his article, “Curing Harry Potter Withdrawal” for more enticing reading suggestions.

I like Paolini, too, maybe better than Austen, shocking words from an English major, but consider that there’s no Saphira or Temeraire in any Austen book. Last Friday Amy posted a read-alike inspired by Jane Austen on our Adult Services’ blog. Maybe I should try reading the one with sea monsters since I’m not into zombies. Yet. Wait! I did read the first The Walking Dead when Graphic Content discussed it. But why am I blathering on when I could go check out Black Powder War and get started on Book 3?

Can’t get enough dragon lore? Visit Novik’s official website, the wikipedia entry for the series, or, for even more depth, the TemeraireWiki (be warned that these links are full of spoilers).

~Michelle, Adult Services

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