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3.5 stars, with a value added five-star narration. Thus endeth the storied glories of Temeraire the Celestial Dragon and his most honorable companion, Captain Laurence. And thus endeth Napoleon's relentless pursuit of world domination.
A fairly good story. Many of my hopes came true, even though I wasn't completely satisfied. I love this dragon! Enjoyed the clever strategies Laurence employed to feed and motivate and discipline the hungry dragons, both the small ferals and the heavyweight Russians. Enjoyed seeing Laurence win the full approval of his peers in Europe, including Czar Alexander and General Bloucher (thus forcing the British Admiralty to play nice).
QUIBBLES: (why only 3 stars?)
The pacing is uneven. Important scenes are skipped over in a paragraph while trivia goes on too long. For example, the duel and subsequent recuperation went on and on, yet went nowhere. The "beautiful and marriageable peasant girl" scenes just did not fit.
The writing began well but became choppy, skipping right over key scenes. Temeraire never got to have his final showdown with the albino celestial, Lien. Where did that key scene go? The final battle (the alternate Waterloo) was curtailed and Laurence was cheated out of a solid gold honorable victory by politics — by two disgraceful but well-connected captains, and by Hammond, Talleyrand, and Meternich.
Strangers take central stage! I'd have MUCH rather spent time with key characters from prequels, both dragons and humans. It made little sense for Laurence to get a new crew at this point in the series — and for the most critical battles ever. He was assigned to lead some contemptuous but politically secure fools (captains Poole and Wendell). We saw almost nothing of Maximus and Lily and the old formation.
Tharkay disappeared from the text for a long time. Ferris's character arc simply stopped midstream. Was his name cleared? Demaine got mentioned a few times in passing, but his brother Sipho was completely excluded. Instead, we were treated to ANOTHER boring scene with Edith, the vapid woman who dumped Laurence in book 1.
Temeraire and Iskierka's egg hatched but I was disappointed in the dragonet Ning, despite her fearsome abilities.
Still, I enjoyed the book. Novik created a sense of sympathy for Napoleon (a feat!) and managed to maintain some slight credibility in terms of historical accuracy.
Yet so many loose ends: The Dragons Rights Act needs to be fleshed out and fully realized. Laurence and Temeraire need a place of their own. What will this valiant dragon do next? Gaze at sheep? The series does not feel finished. A global League of Dragons is only embryonic at this point.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Naomi has brought us to a wonderful conclusion at the end of a inspired series. The books action ebbs and flows well, neatly tying up loose ends. The story has a satisfactory and neat ending. I am sad to see Temeraire coming to a close I have immensely enjoyed this series and will definitely pick it up again to enjoy the banter of dragons. I hope we get to see more of temeraire in the future even though this chapter is closed. The book does not linger in port as it were taking the reader on unexpected adventures. The combat does not drag on incessantly and this allows the reader to take a broader view of the state of Europe. I defiantly recommend this book to any that have enjoyed the series and highly recommend the series as a whole. I can't wait to see what Naomi thinks up next!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful