Tag Archives: Naomi Novik

Unboxing Books – I Love the Wheel of Time Covers!

I made a second video unboxing more of my books from our move. And this time, there are a lot more fantasy novels, including most of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. But you see, the books I have were published in the UK. I’m missing the last two books in the series, and would love to find the UK edition. I’m afraid I can only find the American version in Canada. Anyway, watch and you’ll see what I mean.

Lots of Shakespeare, too. I need to get more Shakespeare. And finish the Temeraire series, as well.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below!

2015 Nebula Award Winners

The 2015 Nebula Awards were announced yesterday. And it’s a record number of women winning. In fact, every award given, other than the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, was won by a woman.

The winners are:

  • Novel: Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
  • Novella: Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Novelette: Our Lady of the Open Road, by Sarah Pinsker
  • Short Story: Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, by Alyssa Wong

The other two awards were the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, which was won by Mad Max: Fury Road, written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nick Lathouris, and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, which was won by Updraft, by Fran Wilde.

Congratulations to everyone!

Book Review – Throne of Jade

throneofjadeThrone of Jade is the second book of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series.  It continues the adventures of Captain Will Laurence and his dragon Temeraire during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century.

Starting off quickly, this book begins with a big problem, one that must be solved by the end of the story.  Much of it is a big journey, both a journey halfway around the world and a journey of personal discovery.

Basically, Captain Laurence has a problem.  China wants Temeraire back, and England is willing to send him back in exchange for preventing China from choosing sides in the war in favour of the French.  Of course, Laurence vehemently protests and wants to keep Temeraire.  The Chinese agree to allow Laurence accompany Temeraire to China on a long journey.  Along the way, they encounter several problems which they must overcome, and once they reach China, they have to figure out how to convince the Chinese to allow Temeraire to return to England.

Joining Laurence for the journey is Lieutenant Granby, his very loyal second in command.  Young Emily Roland comes along and provides some youthfulness to the crew.  Temeraire’s doctor, Dr. Keynes also comes along, and he’s quite the character.  He doesn’t take crap from anyone.  They, along with the rest of the crew, travel to China on the Allegiance, which is captained by Captain Riley, Laurence’s old subordinate.  Now at an equal rank as Laurence, we get to see that although they were good shipmates before, there is a cause for some tension between them.  The government ministry deputized Arthur Hammond to be their representative on the trip.  He tended to aggravate Laurence a lot, and did provide for some good tension.  The Chinese delegation consisted of the very serious and frequently irritatingly antagonistic Prince Yongxing, the quiet but very interesting Sun Kai, and the jovial Liu Bao.  Sun Kai proved to be quite mysterious, but very engaging.  There were also many other characters, but these were the ones who shined.

The story itself was one of obstacle after obstacle.  They had to overcome all of these, and there was rarely a moment when they could relax.  The voyage to China took up most of the novel, and I wondered if it was going to be slow and tedious, but it wasn’t.  It was broken up into several difficult ordeals with uncertain outcomes.  People were killed, including some who appeared to be regular characters in the book.  The time in China wasn’t very easy, either.  It continued just the same with plenty of action and big problems.  The ending was a bit of a twist that I didn’t expect, though.  That was refreshing.

The setting was mainly on the Allegiance.  It also spent some time in England at the beginning, a little in South Africa, and plenty of time in China.  I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the streets of Peking.  Novik does well with evoking a good image in my mind.

What continued in this volume was the very polite language used by the characters, though some stronger wording was used here.  There was even a swear!  Novik’s writing style seems to be very polite.  The narrative was much like the dialogue, and it made me wonder if she was thinking about the dialogue so much that the narrative followed the same style of language.  It sometimes made the tense parts of the book feel less dire and more uplifting.  I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it seemed to make it a lighter book to read.  That is until the latter half.  It seemed to get darker towards the end.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than the first book.  For historic fiction fans and fans of dragons, this is a must.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – His Majesty’s Dragon

hismajestysdragonHis Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik is the first book in an eventual 9 volume series called Temeraire. This historical fantasy adds dragons to the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century.  I long had an interest to read this series, and now I’ve finally begun it.  So, what did I think?

The story, which starts out with Captain Will Laurence on the HMS Reliant capturing a French ship and a dragon egg.  From this moment on, we get to read how he and the dragon, Temeraire, become close and join the Aerial Corps.  Britain is at war with the French, lead by Napoleon Bonaparte.  Dragons are an interesting addition to the war.  I imagined that I’d be reading a lot of battles, but that wasn’t the case.  Much of the book was quite relaxed, involving Laurence’s developing relationship with Temeraire.  In fact, it seems downright slow to begin with.  But it improved a lot toward the end with actual battles and conflict.  The first half was almost devoid of major conflict, just some minor disagreements.  Excitement didn’t happen until the latter half of the book.  I felt that the action was decent, and it was described sufficiently.  But I felt like the plot wasn’t the focus of the book.

The focus was the characters.  Laurence is a very likeable character, as is Temeraire.  However, Laurence seems to be a bit naive when he joins the Aerial Corps.  His interactions with other characters seemed rather awkward.  But he has a good heart.  Lieutenant Granby was a good character that I liked quite a bit.  He was developed pretty well.  Emily Roland looks to be an important character in future books, though I have no idea what will happen.  Although not developed as well as I’d like, Captain Catherine Harcourt on Lily is a character I want to find out more about.  I hope to learn more in future books.  Also, Maximus and Captain Matthew Berkley didn’t strike me as very strong characters.  There are a lot more characters, but these are the main ones.  This book’s strength is the characters.  They are very well done, and I enjoyed them immensely.  I want to see what happens to them in the future.

Most of the story takes place in Scotland and England, with some time out at sea.  It was described well, and I could imagine being there.  I quite enjoyed the flight into the mountains of Madeira.  I had a little trouble imagining the battle harnesses and how the people stayed on the dragons above and below.  But my mind tried to make its own image.

One thing that struck me about this book is how everyone speaks very cordially and formally.  I’m not used to that kind of speech, so it seemed too polite at times.  I don’t know if that’s how people spoke 200 years ago, but it’s possible.

So, what did I think overall?  I enjoyed this book.  It was actually a quick book to read, and I had no difficulty finishing it in a short time.  After reading a lot of heavy, violent, extremely serious novels, this was a nice break.  I’m looking forward to the next book.

I’d give this 3.5 stars out of 5.  It’s very enjoyable, and dragon fans will be delighted.  It’s a light read that gets better the more you read it.  Definitely recommended.