Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
“Once upon a time, a sister made a vow she didn’t know how to break, and it broke her instead.
Once upon a time, a girl did the impossible, but she did it just a little too late.”
When I finished Strange the Dreamer I was pretty sure I knew where this story was going to go. But I was so wrong. It went in a totally different and awesome direction and I just loved it! It was amazingly well done and answered so many questions from the first book. Of course the writing was also superb and just so beautiful. I also loved that Thyon Nero got a lot more page time and had such a wonderful story arc. Minya also has a lot more going on than you first suspect and it almost breaks your heart, seeing and experiencing what she saw at such a tender age. It isn’t any wonder that she never grew up.
The world that this story takes place in just continued to shine as well. Such a complex world and story. I also liked the addition of new characters, that at first I wasn’t sure about, but became such an important part of the story that I was ok with them in the end. This book does such a good job of dealing with trauma and grief and how they affect people in different ways. I also really liked how this story started off as fantasy and yet became more of a science fiction story by the end.
I can not recommend this duology enough. If you haven’t read it you really must, or if you are like me and never got to the second book, you really should. It will not disappoint you.
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novak
“Dragon intelligence was a mystery to men who made a study of the subject; he had no idea how much the dragon would hear or understand, but thought it better to avoid the risk of giving offense.”
This book was also amazing. I loved the dragons and the relationships they develop with the humans that take care of them. The most interesting part of this story though is how the dragons are used in warfare. They are kind of like a cross between a navel ship and a bomber. There is not just the main rider, who is the most important person as they form the bond with the dragon, but also a large group of men and women who climb over and under the dragon as they are flying and act as gunners, bombers and communications officers. I never quite figured out how many are on the dragon, but somewhere between 12-20. Such a fascinating idea. Then of course there is the historical world intersecting with the dragons. This is the Napoleonic Wars like you have never seen.
I also adore Laurence, who is the perfect gentleman, but also gave me strong Mr. Darcy vibes with his dialogue and personality. He has high expectations for those around him and holds everyone to a high standard, and for the most part speaks his mind. But while he is very strict, he is also fair and kind to those under his command. I loved it when he discovered that there were women in the Corps. It was rather priceless. Temeraire, his dragon, is also a delight and one of the best dragon characters I have run across. Finally I also appreciated that there wasn’t a romance! Laurence does get involved with one of the woman riders, but it is not at all essential to the story and could have easily been left out. This is quite a long series with 9 books, but I am so looking forward to reading them all.