When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.
Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await.
After taking a small break after reading His Majesty’s Dragon, I devoured this installment in about two bites. It’s really good, though a bit more drama-filled than the first book.
Throne of Jade starts off on a nearly completely different tone than His Majesty’s Dragon: tense, fraught with danger (of the political kind), and with hints of disaster on the horizon. It does, however, very quickly land us back on a ship, where we’ll stay for about half the book.
This was honestly my favorite part of the book. It was so interesting reading about all the ship-related things, like, I don’t know, winching up sails (or whatever), that I nearly forgot about all the looming danger and just enjoyed the voyage. There were less battles and more political/cultural clashes, and while those were interesting I couldn’t truly enjoy reading about them because I was so nervous. I mean, someone was trying to take Temeraire away from Laurence again! Something horrible was going to happen, I knew it! Either someone would die, or Temeraire and Laurence would be separated, or China was start a war with England, or something.
Read more about my worrying, plus China, below the jump!
Some horrible things do happen, yes, but luckily nothing that can’t be overcome with Love and Friendship (and some Good Diplomats). Well, not everything, but enough things that made me less depressed about the future of my beloved characters. Woo!
Seeing China and how it compares to England, especially in regards to how dragons are treated, was really interesting. Dragons in China are treated almost like people: they get paid for their work, they can wander around the city freely (streets are actually big enough to fit them and humans!), they don’t have to fight if they don’t want to, etc. Compared to England’s dragons, who are treated like horses (although ones who can talk), it was a real eye opening. Temeraire thought so, too, and wants to change things back home as soon as they get back. This causes some consternation between him and Laurence, who, though he wants Temeraire to be happy and comfortable, doesn’t think dragon liberation is around the corner any time in the future. I tend to agree with him– 1800s England was still invested in slavery of people; why would they want to free dragons? Especially when they’re in the middle of a war, and with dragons as their biggest artillery? The people of England are in no way as comfortable with dragons as the Chinese are, as well, and– well, lots of other reasons Temeraire has his hopes set too high. I have a feeling he’ll do something, though, and I’m glad. Someone’s gotta do something!
But that’s going to cause drama, and tension, and then I’ll be even more nervous, and I’m sure the angst level will just get jacked way up. Oh, well. I can handle it. I think.
Compared with His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade has a much more pessimistic tone, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit “omg what next” in regards to the future plotlines that were hinted at. I’m not sure if I’m just a worry-wort or if the writing was meant to make me tense and prone to biting my fingernails, but even though I felt that way, I really do think that I had even more fun in this book than I did in the first. It was excellent! It’s filled with a lot of new things to think about, and to absorb, plus SEAFARING! I love me some seafaring.
It’s so refreshing to read a second book in a series that’s on the same level as the first. Recommended, even if you’re a worry-wort like me!