After their fateful adventure in China, Capt. Will Laurence of His Majesty's Aerial Corps and his extraordinary dragon, Temeraire, are waylaid by a mysterious envoy bearing urgent new orders from Britain. Three valuable dragon eggs have been purchased from the Ottoman Empire, and Laurence and Temeraire must detour to Istanbul to escort the precious cargo back to England. Time is of the essence if the eggs are to be borne home before hatching.
Yet disaster threatens the mission at every turn, thanks to the diabolical machinations of the Chinese dragon Lien, who blames Temeraire for her master's death and vows to ally herself with Napoleon and take vengeance. Then, faced with shattering betrayal in an unexpected place, Laurence, Temeraire, and their squad must launch a daring offensive. But what chance do they have against the massed forces of Bonaparte's implacable army? (from Goodreads)
I think possibly it was a mistake to read this right after reading Throne of Jade, mostly because I was feeling kind of “meh” by the end of the second book. As a result, I don’t think I gave this one as fair a chance as I might have if I had taken a break from the series before reading it. On the other hand, it might just be that it’s really not as good as the first two books, and I was being entirely fair. Who knows? All I know is that I didn’t like this one as much as the others.
My main problem with the book was that so many people die! They don’t die all at once, but instead go one by one, and it’s worse that way. I suppose it’s realistic considering the harshness of the desert and their situation, but it’s horrible to read and there’s no balance of happy events to even things out. The whole book felt like a big grey cloud, crushing my hopes for the characters. Sad!
There are some good parts, like the new dragons we meet, and it’s interesting to get a little taste of the Middle East. I grew to love Granby even more, the dear man, and he in return gets some happy news that I won’t spoil you for. We finally get to see Napoleon in the flesh! Also…new character who might turn out to be awesome later? I don’t particularly like him, because he’s shady, but I think he might be a good addition to the mains et of characters.
But, yeah. Mostly it’s death, losing battles, more death, massive army death, evil dragons, losing more battles, being trapped by people who want to kill everyone including Laurence, and, oh yeah, death. A character I really liked died! It’s incredibly depressing, even more than I thought Throne of Jade was– at least then I thought things might go uphill! Now I just think things will be bad for a while before evening out again, but I don’t think things will ever be the same between Laurence and Temeraire, and I think that’s what makes me sad the most. I want them to be like they were in the first book, y’know?
So, yeah, not my favorite installment. I do plan on reading the rest of the series, but I need a small break to recharge my spirits before continuing on.
Read: March 2009