unhappytriad: (shinydog)
So I just finished the fourth book in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, which is set during the Napoleonic War, only in a world that contains sentient dragons. This, needless to say, changes things up a bit.

I shan't get into spoilers in this post. Let me just say that, like Guns of the South (in which mysterious strangers give advanced weaponry to the Confederacy in the early years of the Civil War) the changes wrought by the presence of dragons (not only in England and France, but in Africa, Asia and the New World) are neither simple nor entirely predictable. Novik takes history seriously, and she takes the dragons seriously (not all her human characters do. But then, not all her human characters take women seriously, or people of color, or foreigners, or people of other religions or other classes...).

It's obvious Novik's a fan of Patrick O'Brian. Not just because of the setting--there are some notable stylistic and thematic similarities: a tendency for late plot reversals (both positive and negative); exploration of themes of duty, loyalty and liberty; the consequences of being a compassionate person in a world in which there are a lot of people who need saving and whom you're powerless to save.

In short: I love these books, and am loving each one a bit more than I did the previous installment. Oh dear... only four more to go (plus one coming out next year).

But maybe they'll help me through my Dresden Files withdrawal.


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