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Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

Pardon me while I shamelessly rip off the Dresden thread OP.


Series Synopsis:
Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, in a sentence: The Napoleonic Wars, except with an aerial corps of giant, sentient dragons.

More specifically, the series takes place from 1803-1812. Napoleon has begun his conquest of Europe, and is looking at Britain as one of his many new targets for invasion. Captain Will Laurence, of His Majesty's Navy, is re-assigned to the Royal Aerial Corps when he inadvertently harnesses a hatchling dragon, Temeraire. The series follows the pair as they fight in epic battles, navigate political intrigue, and travel the globe.

Dragons? Aerial Corps? Harnessing?
The role of the Aerial Corps in battle is to harass infantry and cavalry, drop bombs, transport materials quickly, and defend their forces from enemy dragons. Some dragons have been bred for additional offensive capabilities, including breathing fire, a poisonous bite, or spitting acid. Dragons are manned by crews of aviators, strapped to them with cords and carabiners and nets, who handle tasks such as lookouts, firing gun volleys, dropping bombs, and applying first aid. Boarding crews will leap onto enemy dragons in an attempt to capture the dragon's captain.

Harnessing refers to the practice of putting a new hatched dragon in a harness and feeding it to foster a bond with its handler, or captain. Without that bond, there is nothing that can control the dragon, and it will go feral.

I dunno, a lot of 'dragon books' suck.
Agreed, but this isn't one of them.


Why you should read this series:
First of all, they are thoroughly fast-paced and fun. The language used is absolutely gorgeous, at once old-fashioned yet still easy to follow, flavorful and appropriate, rich and evocative. The characters have definite arcs over the course of the series, and are allowed to make mistakes and have flaws (and pay the price for them). There are many strong characters of different races, genders, and orientations. The villains are sympathetic. Naturally, the dragons (and the outrageous premise) are the big draw and they all have distinct personalities; there is no 'super dragon' that is superior to all other kinds because the protagonist needs to have a Speshul Snowflake Dragon. This is not a series in which dragons are offscreen most of the time, or treated as props with no needs or desires(I'm looking at you, Pern.) Novik does a great job of world building, making the aerial corp make sense in a smaller scale, and developing different cultures across the world on the global.

Fun Fact: Peter Jackson has purchased the film rights for the Temeraire series (although pre-production hasn't started and isn't likely to anytime soon)



Links:
Temeraire series Homepage
General Wikipedia Article
The Temeraire Wiki
Buy the books on Amazon
Temeraire on GoodReads

There are currently 7 books in the series, with the 8th coming out this August. The series will end with book 9, so there is no danger of Jordan-esque death mid-series, or dragging the series out forever with no end in sight.

Book Synopses


His Majesty's Dragon
Our introductory exposition book, in which Laurence gets a crash course in dragon training and husbandry as France's own dragons prepare for invading Britain. An excellent stand-alone.


Throne of Jade
China is pissed to discover that Temeraire, a Chinese dragon intended as a gift for France, has been harnassed by a common British soldier. Laurence and Temeraire must go to China, a lengthy and dangerous journey, and navigate court politics if they have any hope to avoid being separated forever.


Black Powder War
Britain has purchased three eggs, including one mighty and heavy-weight firebreather, from the Ottoman Empire, and time is of the essence to get them safely to England for harnassing. Laurence and Temeraire must escort the eggs through betrayal, war, and the machinations of a new and deadly enemy.


Empire of Ivory
An epidemic is sweeping through Britain's dragons, grounding or killing most of Britain's aerial defense force. Only Temeraire, fresh from Istanbul, remains uninfected (yet) to defend his nation. Following rumors of a possible cure, our pair goes to Africa, a deadly continent whose interior remains a mystery.


Victory of Eagles
Invasion! Napoleon has breached British soil, and aims to occupy London itself. Laurence and Temeraire must reunite if they are to help Britain drive off the French army, or re-secure their own freedom.

This book is a fan favorite at it devotes a lot of time to Temeraire's perspective, and dragon society at large.


Tongues of Serpents
Temeraire and Laurence are sent to a new colony, to deliver 3 dragon eggs and establish a new dragon covert, expanding the empire's defenses. Old rivals return and exacerbate new political difficulties, culminating in a mad chase when one of the eggs is stolen.

This book is considered the weakest in the series, as it is a bit slow and repetitive, and is so distant from the war in Britain. I actually love it, if only for O'Dea quotes: "the Blighted Crimson of the earth here, which surely has drunk the Blood of the Heathen and unwary Traveler, and yearns to taste still more."


Crucible of Gold
Britain recruits Laurence and Temeraire to assist their embassator on a mission to Brazil, only to have disaster strike and force them off course to the Incan empire, deep in hostile territory, where the mission stands in peril but a great opportunity may be found.


Blood of Tyrants
Coming out August 13, 2013!
Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead.

For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge . . . and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.


Spoiler Rules
We have a lot of people who have not read the books in this thread, so in the interest of their enjoyment, please spoiler book talk. I've tried to minimize book synopses while getting getting the gist across (sticking to book cover information that doesn't spoil previous books). As this is a 7-book series, please indicate what book you are spoiling like this: (Book 4)Nelson sucks.

Dienes fucked around with this message at Apr 25, 2013 around 13:03

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ed balls balls man
Apr 17, 2006


Fantastic OP and certainly sounds like an interesting series. Are the books more like a 'mission of the week' thing like, say, err, the Sharpe books? Or is there a decent overall narrative to follow?
Also the art you posted is incredible.

Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

ed balls balls man posted:

Fantastic OP and certainly sounds like an interesting series. Are the books more like a 'mission of the week' thing like, say, err, the Sharpe books? Or is there a decent overall narrative to follow?
Also the art you posted is incredible.

Ha ha, thanks!

There's a ton of iconic dragon breeds and significant events, so its easy to find a lot of really talented artwork.

I would say there is more of a "Temeraire and Laurence World Tour" feel. There's multiple important events in each book, and each one ties pretty closely into the other. In Crucible of Gold there were ties to the first couple books that I missed completely the first time around, and the books do a great job of staying connected to people and places encountered over the series. That being said, I felt that sometimes there must be a list of places Novik was checking off: "Let's see, they see how China raises dragons, and how France raises dragons, and Brazil, that leaves Russia and America."

One thing I want to add is that the series is very grounded. There is no magic or telepathy whatsoever.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why?! Why?! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market ?!!!


I read this whole series up through Tongues of Serpents and it made me sad.

It starts out awesome, and if you like historical fiction and you like fantasy, you'll like the first volume and maybe the next couple.

The problem(s) I had with the series were:

1)As it progress it diverges more and more from the "real world" timeline; essentially, by about book four or five you're reading alternate history, not historical fiction, and any correlation with real-world events is pretty much out the window.
That may not be a "thing" that bothers you, but if it is, be warned.

2) The book is very, very clearly written by a modern author looking back from a modern moral perspective. Issues like imperialism and colonialism are big themes in ways that no period writer or character would have thought about -- in a lot of ways, the series is "what if colonialism didn't happen, because everyone had dragons?" Which is cool and all in its way but can be really jarring, especially when the human protagonist goes against his entire culture and background in favor of what are essentially modern culture norms and morals. I felt like the author was essentially grafting modern morality onto a different time period and it was really jarring. If that kind of thing doesn't bother you great, but it throws off my suspension of disbelief. Again, alternate history, not historical fiction.

3) The series just gets girly. The last book I read,Tongues of Serpents, they spend the whole thing wandering around looking for baby dragon eggs and not fighting anything. Dragons spend more time talking about the jewelry they're wearing than fighting anything. There are whole novels that are basically all babies and clothing/jewelry and no fighting or dragon battles at all.


I think there's a group of people who would really enjoy these books but it's not really the same group as might enjoy, say, Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series or other classic wooden ships/iron men fiction. It seems more in the Robin Hobb line -- magical dragon babies, etc.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at Apr 21, 2013 around 23:20

Edmond Dantes
Sep 12, 2007

Can you tell me how Gunnerkrigg Court was built?


I've read the first 4 books, and then lost track of the releases while waiting for #5 to come out but, to be honest, I can't really remember a lot of details other than "china" for books after the first one, so I guess a re-read is in order.

The British covers are loving amazing:

Unluckyimmortal
Jul 22, 2007


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

1)As it progress it diverges more and more from the "real world" timeline; essentially, by about book four or five you're reading alternate history, not historical fiction, and any correlation with real-world events is pretty much out the window.
That may not be a "thing" that bothers you, but if it is, be warned.

2) The book is very, very clearly written by a modern author looking back from a modern moral perspective. Issues like imperialism and colonialism are big themes in ways that no period writer or character would have thought about -- in a lot of ways, the series is "what if colonialism didn't happen, because everyone had dragons?" Which is cool and all in its way but can be really jarring, especially when the human protagonist goes against his entire culture and background in favor of what are essentially modern culture norms and morals. I felt like the author was essentially grafting modern morality onto a different time period and it was really jarring. If that kind of thing doesn't bother you great, but it throws off my suspension of disbelief. Again, alternate history, not historical fiction.
I read a fair amount of the Temeraire series too, and I agree with these observations. There's also a problem reliant on these two in that when the series diverges into alternate history, it does so from a naive and modern perspective. For example, after the African faction with a whole bunch of dragons destroys the slave camps and colonies in Africa, there's no discussion of what happens next. I mean, they're still relatively undeveloped and lack any military staying power, but for some reason the British Empire decides to just leave them alone. That's it, no more imperialism, the locals don't like it and have shown a will to resist. Now, instead of the traditional imperialist pattern of armed conquest and exploitation regardless of the cost, we'll just give up. Historically of course, it would have caused a bloodbath, but there's no bloodbath and no discussion of why not.

Paradoxically, this has the effect of romanticizing the imperialists themselves (after all, they decide not to take colonies by force and allow them to remain free) as well as seeming laughably naive. I'm not expecting the series to turn into a gritty military fantasy where the Empire rages through Africa and India with cannon and infantry squares as well as dragons, but the alternative history that's presented seems remarkably silly, even in the context of a fantasy series about the Napoleonic wars except with dragons.

And really, once we've decided that the Empire isn't going to bother hanging onto colonies when the locals don't want them around the Empire stops looking like itself at all, so the later books lose the tone that made the earlier books so awesome.

Fallorn
Apr 14, 2005


Leaving Africa was a whole lot about the fact if they get off their rear end they have more dragons than a very good portion of the world.

DrClownsHappyHand
Jan 27, 2013


Right-that and in the books the central tribes are all unified to resist slavery.

House Louse
Oct 21, 2010


Nice OP. The first book's very much "I'm the first in the series, guys!", but apart from that the first five are good fun. I particularly enjoyed 2's version of China, and the fact that 5's point is basically that none of the Africans give a poo poo about the protagonists. 6 is terrible though, there's some stuff in the first and last few chapters but it's at least 2/3 flying across Australia while gently caress-all happens; worse Christmas present than the time I got a colander. Lawrence does have a super sheshul snowflake dragon, by the way, it's the point of book 2.

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

1)As it progress it diverges more and more from the "real world" timeline; essentially, by about book four or five you're reading alternate history, not historical fiction, and any correlation with real-world events is pretty much out the window.
That may not be a "thing" that bothers you, but if it is, be warned.

I actually felt the opposite; it's too similar to the real world, except that the differences aren't thought through enough, like history being exactly the same except when it isn't and colonialism Just Not Happening. I can't remember what the deal with the US is - I think someone mentioned Iroquios dragons once? - which seems an odd plot hole for a US author.

quote:

2) The book is very, very clearly written by a modern author looking back from a modern moral perspective. Issues like imperialism and colonialism are big themes in ways that no period writer or character would have thought about -- in a lot of ways, the series is "what if colonialism didn't happen, because everyone had dragons?" Which is cool and all in its way but can be really jarring, especially when the human protagonist goes against his entire culture and background in favor of what are essentially modern culture norms and morals. I felt like the author was essentially grafting modern morality onto a different time period and it was really jarring. If that kind of thing doesn't bother you great, but it throws off my suspension of disbelief.

I think you're reading them less as pulp and more in a literary way. Contrariwise, having modern characters in period dress doesn't bother me because having properly Napoleonic characters would get in the way of the fun. As you're the one who implies the point of the series is fighting (plus you usually enjoy pulpy stuff, I think?) this seems a bit of an odd complaint.

quote:

3) The series just gets girly.

Oh no, cooties! Didn't the scene in the first book where all the dragon riders have to walk around naked tip you off?

House Louse fucked around with this message at Apr 25, 2013 around 13:45

Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

House Louse posted:

6 is terrible though, there's some stuff in the first and last few chapters but it's at least 2/3 flying across Australia while gently caress-all happens; worse Christmas present than the time I got a colander.

Tongues could have been half as long and been awesome. I love bits of it, but it is definitely the weakest entry. If you haven't been put off the series entirely, book 7 is a step back in the right direction.

House Louse posted:

Lawrence does have a super sheshul snowflake dragon, by the way, it's the point of book 2.

I phrased it poorly. Temeraire is rare and unique, sure. (Although I am tempted to argue that (Book 2)since he's a twin he is definitely not a one-of-a-kind dragon.) But there are other dragons of his breed running around, and there are other dragons running around that are larger, faster, better offensive capabilities, smarter, richer, better educated, etc. My point being, he's no king-dragon that is obviously better than every other dragon in every way.

I'll be honest and say I know gently caress-all about the actual history of the war, besides the sweeping generalities an American public school will tell you. If anyone has a book recommendation or two to read up on the real thing, I'd love to check it out.

Dienes fucked around with this message at Apr 25, 2013 around 12:49

Ambitious Spider
Feb 13, 2012


I read the first 4 when they came out but kind of forgot about them. Ill have to get back on them as they're way better than you might expect from the somewhat silly premise

ConfusedUs
Feb 24, 2004

"They can't use swords in their mouths, so we're gonna tape the lightsabers to their hooves instead." I answered quite reasonably. "Problem solved."

I'm flattered you used my OP design!

I have to admit, though, that I've had a really hard time getting into these books. I've read the first three and they never really grabbed me. I have more than one friend who loves Temeraire, so it kinda makes me sad when I can't share their love of the series.

Grundulum
Feb 28, 2006


Dienes posted:

(Although I am tempted to argue that since he's a twin he is definitely not a one-of-a-kind dragon.)

Given that this thread is about a 7-book series, and people will be wandering in without having read all of them, could we mark which book spoilers come from?

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why?! Why?! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market ?!!!


House Louse posted:

I think you're reading them less as pulp and more in a literary way. Contrariwise, having modern characters in period dress doesn't bother me because having properly Napoleonic characters would get in the way of the fun. As you're the one who implies the point of the series is fighting (plus you usually enjoy pulpy stuff, I think?) this seems a bit of an odd complaint.


Oh no, cooties! Didn't the scene in the first book where all the dragon riders have to walk around naked tip you off?

Yeah, I can understand why people like this series. I think the main issue for me was that it wasn't what I expected going in. There are basically two big genres of regency-era fiction; one's inspired by Jane Austen and is all social drama, and the other's inspired mostly by Lord Cochrane's autobiography and is all wooden ships and iron men and sea battles and so forth. And for that naval fiction genre, historical accuracy is a big part of it; you almost have to learn another language to understand the nautical terms etc. in the Aubrey/Maturin books, all the battles are based on actual period sea battles, etc. It's a deeply realistic genre.

So when I read the Temeraire series I was reflexively comparing it with that high standard rather than with random_pulp_fantasy novel. If the novel had been about a war between Brittaniur and Francasia on the magical planet Earthonia instead it wouldn't have bugged me in nearly the same way, but since it is claiming to be on Earth, in a specific historical setting, with specific historical people involved, I reflexively hold it to a higher standard. That's really more my personal issue than anything else -- I don't like Harry Turtledove for a similar reason, because on every page I'm thinking "except no! the confederates lost!"

Basically, I was expecting something more like, say, Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norell, where it keeps pretty closely to the historical timeline and details but weaves the magic in and around real events. When it went off the rails into alt-history it threw me off.

On the "girly" point -- yeah, but Tongues of Serpents just loses its way. There are plenty of female fantasy writers who write great fantasy novels (Lois McMaster Bujold, for example) and manage to do so without the *entire* story being Search For the Lost Baby dragon. If that novel's a low point in the series fair enough, it's just where I stopped.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at Apr 24, 2013 around 16:37

Radio!
Mar 15, 2008

Look at that post.

Which authors/books would you guys say these books are most like? Goon opinion makes me almost curious enough to try these, but based on the premise alone they do sound pretty questionable and I don't want to spend money on books I won't finish.

House Louse
Oct 21, 2010


Grundulum posted:

Given that this thread is about a 7-book series, and people will be wandering in without having read all of them, could we mark which book spoilers come from?

Judging by the OP I thought anything released is fair game. Dienes, what's the rules?

Dienes posted:

Tongues could have been half as long and been awesome. I love bits of it, but it is definitely the weakest entry. If you haven't been put off the series entirely, book 7 is a step back in the right direction.

I'll borrow it, not buy it in hardback. It think Tongues' problem wasn't the length but the lack of incident - iirc, the structure goes like this: plot points in the beginning, travelogue, end of plot. The earlier travelogues have interesting stuff in them but there's nothing to do in this one. I think if Tongues' had started from northern Australia and had a tighter plot it would have been better.

quote:

I'll be honest and say I know gently caress-all about the actual history of the war, besides the sweeping generalities an American public school will tell you. If anyone has a book recommendation or two to read up on the real thing, I'd love to check it out.

I meant in Temeraireland, not our universe! Sorry for being unclear. In a world where Captain Bligh and William Wilberforce are around, what are Thomas Jefferson and George Washington up to? If there's the Napoleonic Wars with dragons, where's the War of 1812 with dragons? Etc. I think Novik's ignoring the point, but it's another disappointing example of radical changes cheek by jowl with historical accuracy. (I was just teasing you on Temeraire's speshulness, by the way.)

Edit:

Hieronymus Alloy posted:

So when I read the Temeraire series I was reflexively comparing it with that high standard rather than with random_pulp_fantasy novel. If the novel had been about a war between Brittaniur and Francasia on the magical planet Earthonia instead it wouldn't have bugged me in nearly the same way, but since it is claiming to be on Earth, in a specific historical setting, with specific historical people involved, I reflexively hold it to a higher standard.

Fair enough, we just differed on how to approach them, and taste is nothing to argue about; I thought the characterisation and general assumptions were a bigger clue than historical accuracy. And the dodgy nature of that accuracy is a problem for the series, and something I go a bit backwards and forwards on myself.

quote:

On the "girly" point -- yeah, but Tongues of Serpents just loses its way. There are plenty of female fantasy writers who write great fantasy novels (Lois McMaster Bujold, for example) and manage to do so without the *entire* story being Search For the Lost Baby dragon. If that novel's a low point in the series fair enough, it's just where I stopped.

Tongues sucked, agreed. It's also where I stopped. But the problems aren't that the characters are looking for lost babies, it's that nothing happens for half the book. Calling it "girly" is missing the point and a flat-out bigoted thing to say, sorry. Even if it's not to your taste.

The babies are also important military resources, of course, so try thinking of them as invasion plans or ship designs, it might help.

House Louse fucked around with this message at Apr 25, 2013 around 13:46

TerryCheesecake
Aug 2, 2003
-

I read to the book where the dragon jizzes in the water (maybe even with people swimming in it?) and was like "nope, I'm out."

Talas
Aug 27, 2005



I read the series up to "Empire of Ivory", I stopped there. I refuse to continue with the others, the first book is pretty good but they get progressively worse, it's very depressing.

Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

TerryCheesecake posted:

I read to the book where the dragon jizzes in the water (maybe even with people swimming in it?) and was like "nope, I'm out."

Yeah, I don't think that actually happened.

Grundulum posted:

Given that this thread is about a 7-book series, and people will be wandering in without having read all of them, could we mark which book spoilers come from?

I've edited my post, thanks for pointing this out.

House Louse posted:

Judging by the OP I thought anything released is fair game. Dienes, what's the rules?

The babies are also important military resources, of course, so try thinking of them as invasion plans or ship designs, it might help.

I'll update the OP.

I think that's the crux of it, with the Dragon Babies. There is a limited time frame in which to teach a dragon your language, eggs are the most physically vulnerable a dragon is, and eggs are exceedingly rare and valuable. I believe in Empire of Ivory they even state that eggs are more valuable than adult dragons because its nearly impossible to get a captured dragon to fight for you, and upkeep in the breeding grounds is expensive.

skoolmunkee
Jun 27, 2004

Tell your friends we're coming for them



Dienes posted:

Yeah, I don't think that actually happened.

It more or less does!

It's after China I think, maybe when they're back in Scotland and Tem is splashing around in a lake being weird. When he comes out Lawrence is like "that looked like it felt good" and Tem goes "yeah, those smooth rocks at the bottom are really nice, it's almost as good as as being with Mei(? dragon girlfriend)... but not quite" and Lawrence orders everyone to go get their water from upstream.

Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

skoolmunkee posted:

It more or less does!

It's after China I think, maybe when they're back in Scotland and Tem is splashing around in a lake being weird. When he comes out Lawrence is like "that looked like it felt good" and Tem goes "yeah, those smooth rocks at the bottom are really nice, it's almost as good as as being with Mei(? dragon girlfriend)... but not quite" and Lawrence orders everyone to go get their water from upstream.

Oh, I was thinking of an earlier scene (Book 1)when Laurence is handling Temeraire's facial tendrils and Temeraire mentions it feel really effin' good.

Then again, Laurence is pretty stiff and easily scandalized, so he may have over-reacted to the situation you're referring to.

Er, moving on...

If anyone has read Crucible of Gold, I'm taking bets on whether Iskierka actually does get the egg she wants. Unless that is too girly...

Zore
Sep 21, 2010


Dienes posted:

If anyone has read Crucible of Gold, I'm taking bets on whether Iskierka actually does get the egg she wants. Unless that is too girly...

Probably. Novak really loves playing Iskierka and Temeraire off of each other and having them bicker about the egg/capabilities of the offspring (since they probably won't give a poo poo about the dragon once its hatched) is right in her wheelhouse.

I love this series, though I get why some people are turned off. I just really enjoy the interplay between the characters and I like somewhat silly historical differences. The series is definitely at its best, for me, when we leave the fairly familiar Britain and go to the more radically changed parts of the world (except Australia which isn't changed nearly enough and is almost criminally empty and disconnected from everything that came before.) I love the hell out of the myriad ways dragons have been adapted into the various cultures, and how it gets progressively more alien and bizarre.

Also, I'm incredibly fond of Iskerika. I know I shouldn't be, and she has traits of characters I can't stand in other fiction, but she is such a great foil to Temeraire. And frankly, he is at his best when he's fighting with someone and forced to leave his aloof little cloud.

Incidently, Crucible of Gold was definitely one of the best books in the series. Especially coming after the Australia crap.

Mr.48
May 1, 2007


So I just about finished Tongue of Serpents and hate it, but not for the same reasons that most do. Yes the middle portion was boring and repetitive, but most offensive, was the conflict at the very end where the British officers are clearly being complete imperialist douchebags and attack a neutral port without provocation. Meanwhile, Laurence still goes on about his duty nonsense and helps them. It was like his character arch was actually regressing. Ugh, it was loving painful to read, does it get better in the next book?

Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

Mr.48 posted:

So I just about finished Tongue of Serpents and hate it, but not for the same reasons that most do. Yes the middle portion was boring and repetitive, but most offensive, was the conflict at the very end where the British officers are clearly being complete imperialist douchebags and attack a neutral port without provocation. Meanwhile, Laurence still goes on about his duty nonsense and helps them. It was like his character arch was actually regressing. Ugh, it was loving painful to read, does it get better in the next book?

Yes, Crucible of Gold is much better.

I felt that the (Book 6)attack on the port was the last straw for Laurence. I mean, he didn't attack the port, just had the dragons take the sea serpents off the ships to save the sailors, despite all his talk of duty and treason. He bitches at Willoughby about taking the port without provocation, and basically says Britain can gently caress off for a while at the end. There's probably more regression in Book 7, albeit not much.

Mr.48
May 1, 2007


Dienes posted:

Yes, Crucible of Gold is much better.

I felt that the (Book 6)attack on the port was the last straw for Laurence. I mean, he didn't attack the port, just had the dragons take the sea serpents off the ships to save the sailors, despite all his talk of duty and treason. He bitches at Willoughby about taking the port without provocation, and basically says Britain can gently caress off for a while at the end. There's probably more regression in Book 7, albeit not much.

Heres the thing, I could buy him wanting no part of it and staying out of the attack altogether. But then he jumps to the aid of the British warships as soon as the port defends itsef. Man gently caress Laurence and his my honour bullshit.

Zore
Sep 21, 2010


Mr.48 posted:

Heres the thing, I could buy him wanting no part of it and staying out of the attack altogether. But then he jumps to the aid of the British warships as soon as the port defends itsef. Man gently caress Laurence and his my honour bullshit.

... Yeah its super unbelievable that someone who's spent his entire life in service to the British crown, in roles that required him to obey orders absolutely, might have issues totally breaking from that mindset. Laurence just loving off at the end would betray everything about his character.

Remember that the last time he did so, for much bigger stakes, he absolutely ruined his life, Temeraire's life and the lives of many of his crew. He is a criminal, one who most of the higher ups would rather have already been hanged, and absolutely ostracized from everyone he knows and loves. Almost his entire support base is in England, and would support him attacking the port for pragmatic reasons if nothing else, and the only other place in the world he could realistically find refuge (France) is home to someone who hates Temeraire absolutely and would be scheming to kill them from the moment he arrived. Not to mention that he despises Napoleon.

He was ready to die when he delivered the cure, because that meant something. I don't think the stakes were worth killing himself, Temeraire, his crew and letting all the sailors (who were mostly just doing their duty) die.

Its a lovely situation, but Laurence didn't really act unreasonably there at least.

Mr.48
May 1, 2007


Zore posted:

... Yeah its super unbelievable that someone who's spent his entire life in service to the British crown, in roles that required him to obey orders absolutely, might have issues totally breaking from that mindset. Laurence just loving off at the end would betray everything about his character.

Remember that the last time he did so, for much bigger stakes, he absolutely ruined his life, Temeraire's life and the lives of many of his crew. He is a criminal, one who most of the higher ups would rather have already been hanged, and absolutely ostracized from everyone he knows and loves. Almost his entire support base is in England, and would support him attacking the port for pragmatic reasons if nothing else, and the only other place in the world he could realistically find refuge (France) is home to someone who hates Temeraire absolutely and would be scheming to kill them from the moment he arrived. Not to mention that he despises Napoleon.

He was ready to die when he delivered the cure, because that meant something. I don't think the stakes were worth killing himself, Temeraire, his crew and letting all the sailors (who were mostly just doing their duty) die.

Its a lovely situation, but Laurence didn't really act unreasonably there at least.


I would buy that line of reasoning during the first couple of books but after the affair with the mushrooms I simply cannot believe that Laurence went back to the whole stoic loyalty thing in the face of such obvious vileness. Everything leading up to that moment would lead the read to expect an entirely different reaction out of him. Its the seeming regression in his character arc that baffles me.

Mr.48 fucked around with this message at Apr 28, 2013 around 21:06

Zore
Sep 21, 2010


Mr.48 posted:

I would buy that line of reasoning during the first couple of books but after the affair with the mushrooms I simply cannot believe that Laurence went back to the whole stoic loyalty thing in the face of such obvious vileness. Everything leading up to that moment would lead the read to expect an entirely different reaction out of him. Its the seeming regression in his character arc that baffles me.

Regression is pretty normal is sort of the point I'm getting at. Laurence made a bold stride forward, got ridiculously badly burned (and even told that his grand gesture was ultimately unnessecary!) and should regress a bit. He's in a bad place, making bad decisions in the vain hope of fixing or mitigating his circumstances while he slowly comes to break with everything he was before. Its a pretty normal part of character development.

zzttaozia
Aug 26, 2009

suck it down


I read the first couple of books (up to were Laurence goes to China? I think) but got distracted by other stuff and just forgot about it.

Think I'll give it another chance! Plus, the UK book covers are fantastic.

Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

For those who haven't read the book but are curious, the ebook for the first novel, His Majesty's Dragon, is on sale today for $0.99, can't beat that!

Maimgara
May 2, 2007
Chlorine for the Gene-pool.

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I read this whole series up through Tongues of Serpents and it made me sad.

It starts out awesome, and if you like historical fiction and you like fantasy, you'll like the first volume and maybe the next couple.
<snip>
I've read the first 5 books, and I agree with most of what you said. The premise is exciting, the Napoleonic wars with dragons is interesting and the dragons are real characters. The later books do fall in the all talk, no action hole though, in a bad way. With the first book so cheap, I would recommend it, and if you can read it on the characters alone, keep going. If you want the historical and dragon action, that drops off as the series go on. I won't pick up further books, most likely. Too bad, I like me some dragons, and those are hard to get without all the other parts of the book being terrible.

Dake Darkstalker
Mar 11, 2013


The first book was excellent. After that the second was still really good but then I just started losing interest. Don't think I ever started book 5.

rufius
Feb 27, 2011

Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.


I've read all the books thus far. The first couple are the most solid. The latest was rather... drab to me. I just didn't feel like I had a reason to care about any of the characters.

The series suffers from the same problems that other first-time authors' fantasy series have which is they lack depth and appropriate world building. While GRRM does a good job of describing scenery/worlds in Song of Ice and Fire, his pace lacks significantly for me. On the other hand, Novak seems to be moving plot along for the sake of moving plot.

All in all, I don't regret having taken the time to read the books. I like to support newer authors. I suspect Novak had enough ideas/content for three novels but she's struggling now to fill in appropriate content.

bengraven
Sep 17, 2009

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity


I love these books but the girliness gets a bit annoying. Tem is endearing but I can't deal with the jealousy and jewelry obsession sometimes. These dragons act like fourteen year old girls.

Mr.48
May 1, 2007


Hahahaha I just read the spoilered preview for the next book in the OP and decided that I'm probably finished with the series. The next book sounds like it will just be rehashing all the worst parts of previous books with awful new tropes being added in. Another long-rear end journey like the one across Australia? Check. Another shipwreck? Check. Anything new? Oh yeah, an amnesia plot with Laurence forgetting Temeraire. Only the most annoying plot device in the history of literature!

gently caress that poo poo.

Dienes
Nov 4, 2009

And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.

Mr.48 posted:

Hahahaha I just read the spoilered preview for the next book in the OP and decided that I'm probably finished with the series. The next book sounds like it will just be rehashing all the worst parts of previous books with awful new tropes being added in. Another long-rear end journey like the one across Australia? Check. Another shipwreck? Check. Anything new? Oh yeah, an amnesia plot with Laurence forgetting Temeraire. Only the most annoying plot device in the history of literature!

gently caress that poo poo.

Yeah, I absolutely loving hate amnesia plots, but I'm hoping that the situation in that location is going to be so God-awful (it certainly was referred to as such in previous books) that our duo is going to be incited to some major damage.

Those of you complaining about the dragons being girly with jewlery, you are aware (and I hate to link to TV Tropes here) that dragons coveting/hoarding precious metals and gems is about the oldest myth ever? I like how it was included as a genetic predisposition.

Dienes fucked around with this message at May 5, 2013 around 23:08

Azathoth
Apr 3, 2001

Bronie for Life / Bitcoin afficionado

rufius posted:

I've read all the books thus far. The first couple are the most solid. The latest was rather... drab to me. I just didn't feel like I had a reason to care about any of the characters.

The series suffers from the same problems that other first-time authors' fantasy series have which is they lack depth and appropriate world building. While GRRM does a good job of describing scenery/worlds in Song of Ice and Fire, his pace lacks significantly for me. On the other hand, Novak seems to be moving plot along for the sake of moving plot.

All in all, I don't regret having taken the time to read the books. I like to support newer authors. I suspect Novak had enough ideas/content for three novels but she's struggling now to fill in appropriate content.
This was the problem that I had. I read the first three books and bought the fourth before ultimately deciding that I didn't need to know anything more about the world. I really enjoyed the fundamental world concept, and thought it was explored well (dragon combat, how the world would deal with it, etc.), but the characters are just so incredibly cookie-cutter that I had a hard time caring once I found out Temeraire's origin story. Generic Victorian Gentleman meets Obligatory Unconventional Victorian Woman and is dutifully scandalized by her behavior. He comes to grow into Victorian Gentleman With Modern Values through his exposure to Obligatory Unconventional Victorian Woman. His dragon Temeraire is similarly generic, except for the unique power, and pretty much hits all the dragon cliches by the third book.

I think the first 2-3 books are worth reading, as it's a very unique setting and the author does a good job exploring it, but it ultimately starts to go off the rails once the setting gets explored and the author starts to send them off on wacky new adventures to new and totally different lands. It really feels like the author is afraid to not have a new place to send them to, because then the book would be totally about the characters, who are generally bland and very uninteresting.

bengraven
Sep 17, 2009

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity


Dienes posted:


Those of you complaining about the dragons being girly with jewlery, you are aware (and I hate to link to TV Tropes here) that dragons coveting/hoarding precious metals and gems is about the oldest myth ever? I like how it was included as a genetic predisposition.

Yeah, I'm aware, and I find Iskierska's hoarding to be endearing, but Temeraire and his jealousy kind of annoying.

Hollismason
Jun 30, 2007


I read His Majesty's on the recommendation of the thread and really enjoyed it however I will say that the attitude he and Tem have towards each other boarders on the creepy. Like I fully expect them to somehow make out or try to make out with each other. It's so strange. Otherwise it's fine, just their relationship comes very close to romantic.

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Mind over Matter
Jun 1, 2007
Four to a dollar.

I've been trying to trudge through Tongues for over a year now. I devoured all the ones before it pretty fast, now I've gotten stuck. I pick it up, read two pages, put it down for another month. I like the characters and the concepts even with it diverging from real history, but Tongues just drags like hell. (I guess you could say it does... drag-on?)

Also the spoilered bit in the OP for the new one this year sounds really disappointing to my tastes, but I'm still glad to find this thread.

Mind over Matter fucked around with this message at May 14, 2013 around 12:07

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