Skip to main content

“His Majesty’s Dragon” by Naomi Novik

“His Majesty’s Dragon” by Naomi Novik 
Series: Temeraire – Book 1 

What do you get when get when you mix Napoleon, dragons, and war?  You get the series Temeraire and the first book “His Majesty’s Dragon.”  This was a cool and fun story with a different take on dragons and how we interact with them.  Normally we have stories about dragons that are burning down villages or protecting hoards of treasure that some adventurer is seeking out.  Naomi Novik went a different route and intertwined their existence with humans.  Instead of having bombers, fighter jets , and other types of planes, the Air Force in this world, A.K.A. Aerial Corps, is all about dragons. 

The story is about the war going on with England and Napoleon.  England has a great Navy, but seems to lack a little bit in the dragon category.  It is also centered around a dragon named Temeraire and his master, Laurence who was a captain in the Royal Navy.  The story is all about their trials and tribulations of training for the Dragon Air Force if you will.  

On one particular mission a captain of an English shipCaptain Laurence, defeats and commanders a French ship.  Onboard they uncover a rare find; a dragon egg.  No one really knows what to do with the dragon egg, or how to care for the egg, but they do their best knowing that England is in need of more dragons.   

Well, one of the things with dragons is, when dragons hatch, they attach themselves to one person and they become a lifelong team.  So, when this dragon hatches he just happens to choose Laurence as his partner.  (Who didn’t see that one coming?)   

Well after some anguish and torment over what to do the Laurence decides to give up his career in the Royal Navy and join the Aerial Corp as the Handler for the dragon.  Being the handler of a dragon comes with the responsibility of naming the dragon, and Laurence names his dragon Temeraire. 

Soon he is departing for a covert in England for training purposes.  All the handlers and dragons get sent to these training camps to learn aerial maneuvers and combat.  Laurence spends the next months almost like a cadet again, waking at dawn and spending all day training  with Temeraire. 

Until... Napoleon is on the move and dragons are needed.  All training has led up to this day.  What will happen next!? 

The opening fight scene wasn't a very dramatic scene, but it was enough to draw  you into the story.  It wasn't full of blood and guts and gore.  It was poignant to the story and didn't take as long as need be.  The rest of the story in the beginning was just trying to get the reader to understand how important dragons were to each country.  Without the dragons the security of countries was at risk.  Naomi Novik also went into the relationship between handler and dragon.  Explaining the essential aspects of the relationship and the intelligence and sapience of the dragon.  I feel this was overdone and space could have been used for more action scenes.  It started to feel like the beginning was just dragging on and on without much going on.  Just when I was about to put down the book, ta-da, some interesting stuff happened. 

The bulk of the book takes place with Laurence and Temeraire at the training covert.  It delves deeper into the relationship that they have built together.  it also demonstrates the lack of relationships that some handlers have with the dragons, treating them like mindless animals.  In my mind I was quietly rooting for Laurence as he was a bad ass to the handlers who didn't keep their dragon up to snuff if you will.  This went on for about the second bulk of the book.  Again I felt this went on far too long without much going on.  At this point I was too far into the book to put it down, so I thought that I would just plug away and finish the book. 

I'm glad I finished the book.  The ending was full of action, but it took quite a while to get there.  Finalley I was able to see all the dragons fighting together and how it all worked.  I was able to see Temeraire fight and discover new abilities.  It was action that I wish this book had a little bit more of during the entire story.  Not just at the end. 

Overall I like the book.  I'd give it about 3 stars.  It just seemed to drag on little too much for me in too many part of the story.  I will definitely be giving book 2 a shot.  With all the introduction stuff out of the way in book 1 hopefully there will be more conflict and action in the rest of the series.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Red Card" by S.L. Gilbow

"Red Card" by S.L. Gilbow
This story comes from the anothology "Brave New Worlds" edited by John Joseph Adams.
This story had an interesting concept.  A government program in Merry Valley gives anonymous and random red cards to some of the residents.  A government issued revolver is also given along with the red card.  These red cards entitle the carrier of the card to become what is known as an "enforcer." 
An enforcer gets to kill one person of their choosing for any reason.  They can kill with impunity, but must follow the laws and guidelines of the program to not get in trouble.  As long as the guidelines are followed there are no repercussions

"Shooting the Apocalypse" by Paolo Bacigalupi

"Shooting the Apocalypse" by Paolo Bacigalupi
This story comes from the anthology "Loosed Upon The World" edited by John Joseph Adams.
The end of the world?  Or maybe just the beginning to the end?  This story was definitely a wake-up call for some of the basic resources we have here on earth.  One of them in particular, water.
Texas has dried up and Phoenix is one of the few towns that still has water.  Phoenix's water supply is served by a canal that connects to the Colorado River.  The canal is called CAP, or Central Arizona Project.  The CAPis made of cementand protected by surrounding chain link fencing.  The CAP is an engineering feat of great magnitude.  The bureaucrats successfully negotiated the project before all of Texas dried up.  In the end Phoenix had better government officials.
Texans are constantly trying to breach the CAP for water.  There is a sort of civil war between Texans and the residents of Phoenix.  They hate each other to the poin…

"The Reach" by Stephen King

"The Reach" by Stephen King
This story has been published many times, originally in Yankee, under the name "Do The Dead Sing", and then later in Skeleton Crew under the name "The Reach."  I read this story in the anthology "The Dark Descent" edited by David G. Hartwell.
An old woman, Stella Flanders,contemplates her time living on an island for her entire life.  She considers things she would say to her children and her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.  She thinks about everything that has happened on the island and all the things that she has seen.  She thinks about how the island is more of a family than just a community.
Stella Flanders has seen her share of things and it all takes place around The Reach.  That space between the island and mainland.  Mainland where there is life outside of the small community.  Stella never found a need to go across the reach and was content to live right where she was on the island.
Time is…