Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

I made a terrible mistake. I started reading Temeraire last night, and I couldn't put it down. So I didn't fall asleep till 2am. On a school night. (I know I don't know to school anymore, but that's what I like to call the no-next-day-sleep-in nights :) Mmm, love it when your head feels like it's so stuffed with wool that it's coming out your eyeballs.

I first heard about Temeraire from my housemate, who excitedly announced that Peter Jackson was going to make a movie about it, and it would have DRAGONS in it! That was enough impetus to propel me into the library to find a copy of the book.

How silly this sounds, but I felt quite guilty reading a book about dragons that wasn't by Anne McCaffrey. Temeraire is so well-written, and I was enjoying it so much that I felt like I was having an affair with Novik after pledging my eternal love for the Dragonriders of Pern. Anne McCaffrey, please don't smite me!

Set during the Napoleonic wars, the book centers on William Laurence, a captain with the British Navy. Laurence captures a French ship and discovers that the cargo they carry is a rare dragon egg. The egg is very close to hatching, and there are no Aviators to be found nearby.

To say anymore would give away the best bits, and despite my fondness for spoilers* I just can't bring myself to say any more about the plot. It's very rare for me to be like this with, well, anything. I find I don't even want to tell you what colour the dragon is, so that you can discover it for yourself, and Novik's prose won't be spoiled for you.

Novik has done her research well. The setting and dialogue are impeccable for the period (says the Napoleonic scholar here :p), and the dragons are quite human in their loves and hates and emotions. There was one scene which made me so sad I wanted to physically reach out to comfort the character, and another moment, at the end, that made me cry so quickly that tears were streaming down my face before I realised what was happening.

This book was totally worth the four hours of sleep I got last night.

Oh, and if you can't find it on, in another one of those ridiculous "American readers are so simple we need to change the title" publicity moves, Temeraire is sold in the US as His Majesty's Dragon. It sounds so cheap and horrible and James Bondsy! The king doesn't even make an appearance in the novel! Arrrgh!

* The Movie Spoiler is one of my favourite web sites. I have to be very careful and not let MFC see that I'm even browsing through it, or he gets very cross :p


Juliness said...

Oooohh! Sounds like a fantastic Christmas gift..for me.

Don't you hate it when they change book titles? It makes me crazy.

an9ie said...

It is a good book, I certainly enjoyed it very much, although the language is very Jane Austen-ish at times. The other two books, "Throne of Jade" and "Black Powder War" are out too. I'm waiting on "Throne of Jade" from the library-whee!

I don't know why they change the titles! Surely the people they are "dumbing" it down for are the least likely to read the book anyway? Crazy.

Anonymous said...

if you like dragons, and know the basics of D&D, I've got an extremely funny book for you :D

I recently bought it (signed) and I'd be willing to part with it for a short time.

- RaZeR

an9ie said...

Do I like dragons? YES. Do I know the basics of D&D? Well, I've played Neverwinter Nights, Dungeon Siege 2 and DotA, so I'll make that a yes as well :)

If you let me know the title I shall look it up in my library's database, Raz.