“All maps are fiction when the world is seen from the sky. But if ten thousand dragons choose to believe in this one, I think you will find it nearer truth than otherwise.”
― Naomi Novik, League of Dragons
It has been several months since I started this post. Some of this is just because I have been having trouble deciding what to say about this wonderful series. But it has also been about time. So this week I just decided that I would make the time and get this done. So here it is!
Ten Reasons You should read this series:
1. This is Naomi Novik’s first series, and you would not believe the world building! If you like her other books than you are going to love this one. It is historical fantasy that incorporates dragons into the Napoleonic Wars and the cultures of the world.
2. Captain Will Laurence is an officer and a gentleman. He also has a moral and virtuous character that held fast through out the series even when life was at its most difficult. Even though he was reluctant to take Temeraire on, their friendship and bond continues to grow throughout the series.
“Your Majesty, I am a soldier, not a statesman; and I have no great philosophy but that I love my country. I came because it was my duty as a Christian and a man; now it is my duty to return.”
― Naomi Novik, Empire of Ivory
Where you go, you leave half the world overturned behind you. You are more dangerous than Bonaparte in your own way, you and that beast of yours.”
― Naomi Novik, Blood of Tyrants
3. Temeraire, a celestial dragon. One of the best dragon character out there. He is amazingly smart and even though he sometimes finds humans baffling he loves Laurence and all of his crew.
“We are not going to be herded anywhere we do not like,” [Temeraire] said, dangerously, “by Napoleon or by your admirals; and if you like to ask the other dragons of the Corps to try it, I expect they will see at once how very foolish it is, and if not, I will explain it to them, and I daresay they will join us instead.”
― Naomi Novik, Victory of Eagles
4. You get to see not only England in this time period, but almost the entire world. They travel to China, India, all over Europe, South America and Australia. Only Australia doesn’t have dragons, but they have bunyips, which were pretty close. And although they never make it to America they do encounter some dragons from there.
“It seems to me after a fellow has been mutinied against three or four times, there is something to it besides bad luck.”
― Naomi Novik, Tongues of Serpents
5. The secondary characters are also so well casted and fleshed out that you really get to know them as well as the two main characters. There are many characters that stand out such as John Granby, Emily Roland and Tharkay. Granby starts off as part of Temeraire’s crew but eventually becomes the captain of Iskerka. Emily Roland is the daughter of the Laurence’s love interest and is part of his crew. Her being a girl presents some interesting situations throughout the series. Tharkay is hard to describe, as he doesn’t always seem to be who he says he is, but I still liked him.
“Justice is expensive. That is why there is so little of it, and it is reserved for those few with enough money and influence to afford it.”
― Naomi Novik, Black Powder War
6. All of the dragons are so different from each other that it really made them more real. I loved that they were all into higher math and some of their discussions, not just about math, but about humans and history and so many other things were just a hoot and often had me laughing out loud.
“and it came out that this King Arthur and his knights had done nothing of real note but to kill innocent dragons all around Britain: almost certainly a pack of lies, as Forthing admitted they had not possessed even any guns at the time, and unpleasant lies at that.”
― Naomi Novik, Crucible of Gold
7. The world building was absolutely amazing. Each country had different customs and ways that they dealt with their dragons. In some countries, such as China and Peru they were revered and had as many if not more rights than some men. It really was fascinating to learn all about how dragons might have fit into the different societies around the world during this time period.
8. How the dragons were used in war also varied from country to country. But I found it totally fascination that the English dragons were used very much like a combination of warship and a B52 bomber. But because the dragons for the most part were able to talk to their captains they were just as much a part of the fighting and the on the fly strategizing as the captains and other officers were.
“I am very tired of this Government, which I have never seen, and which is always insisting that I must do disagreeable things, and does no good to anybody.”
― Naomi Novik, Throne of Jade
9. For the most part I listened to all of the books and the narrator, Simon Vance, does an excellent job. I loved his voice and his range of character voices and accents was wonderful as well.
10. There is almost something for everyone with this series. If you like historical fantasy, or dragons, or books with little to no romance (except between the dragons), a strong male character that sticks to his morals even when the world is turned against him, or even books about warfare and the Napoleonic wars, then this is a series you should check out. There are a lot of books, but they are all worth reading.
Well I hope I have convinced you to give this series a try. While I certainly will probably never read the whole series again, I am pretty confident that I will return to a few of my favorites at some point.