- Author: Naomi Novik
- Genre: Fantasy/ Historical
- Page Count: 353
- Date Started: December 23rd
- Date Finished: December 27th
- Spoilers? Yes-ish?
A Brief Description
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.
The synopsis of His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik captured me almost instantly. Historic setting! The Napoleonic War! DRAGONS! What is not to love?
A sea captain, William Laurence suddenly finds himself bonded to a dragon whose name is Temeraire. His fate has suddenly changed and he finds himself in His Majesty’s aerial corps, which is very different from the Navy. From there, he is thrust into training and tactics of aerial battles.
The two have a really sweet and engaging relationship. Temeraire is truly one of the cutest and most lovable characters I have read in the last year. I want to know him just so I can give him the biggest hug. You can tell that he loves Laurence, and vice versa.
There are some characters, some who are not even supposed to be antagonists of the story that I want to strangle *(ahem, Rankin)* and others who have gone through much hardship and struggle to get where they are.
The setting definitely did not disappoint. This is set in 1800s England, and it loosely covers the events of the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons. There isn’t really much else that you can ask for here.
To boot, this book has some major character growth, not only by our main main Laurence, but by many of the side characters. Laurence starts out the novel being categorically against the idea of being in the Aerial Corps, but as he gets to know Temeraire and the other men (and women!!) that make up the Aerial Corps, he really grows into his new post. I was really happy that the author included women who fought in the ranks as well. I find that most “history” novels seem to fit the narrative that women don’t have a place in such things, but this book strays from that. I will say that there were some scenes where our main character still holds those kinds of ideals, but I feel like this changes as the novel progresses and he sees just how powerful and kickass these girls are (Harcourt is one of my favorite characters as well.)
Furthermore, as he learns more about who and where Temeraire comes from, the plot really thickens. I’m very very intrigued to read the next one. I even went hunting for the sequel in a few of the bookstores in this very small town I am staying in for the sequel. Alas, I did not find it.
The novel is slow burn, up until the end when the pace really starts to pick up, but goodness did I love every second of it. I laughed, I cried, and then I cried some more. I would highly recommend that you read this if you like alt-history and dragons!
This book made me wish that dragons were in fact real so I could have one because goddammit, do I want a baby dragon.
Have you read this? What were your thoughts? What is your favorite book with a dragon in it?