Thursday, 2 June 2016
Review: His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
This book is not going to be for everyone - let me make that very clear. It is a pseudo-classical historical fantasy so if you are not remotely interested in reading about the Napoleonic wars or in reading a mostly classic prose - walk away now. The fact that there is the fantasy aspect of Dragons will not be enough to make you love this.
William Laurence, youngest son of Lord Allendale had run away from home to become a midshipman in the Royal Navy and had risen to the rank of Captain by the time we meet him on his ship, the Reliant as they seized the French frigate Amitie. Upon this ship they find an unhatched dragon-egg on board, a truly valuable prize. Unfortunately this egg is very close to hatching and the only time a dragon can be harnessed and brought into service is at the time of hatching. Service in the Aerial Corps is not considered prestigious and the officers generally have a low rank in society so naturally there was a great reluctance for anyone to take the position of the handler of the dragon. There was a draw whereby a somewhat unsuitable midshipman's name is drawn. Laurence had previously noted:
"Laurence would have liked to keep Carver out of it, as he knew the boy had a poor head for heights, which struck him as a grave impediment for an aviator."
However the dragonet completely ignores Carver, instead addressing Laurence who even through his reticence manages to harness and name the dragon and thus becomes his handler.
The story continues through Laurence struggling to come to terms with the culture shock of the Aerial Corps, going through training and the eventual retelling of the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Dover, all while coming to view Temeraire his closest friend and the bond between them becomes a friendship like no other.
This book is full of dry humour, interesting characters, a rich and incredible storyline and a wonderfully unique way of integrating the dragons and the aerial corps into our history. Novik is a master!
→Throne Of Jade (Temeraire #2)