Book Review – His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

The blurb elevates:

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. 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.

As the blurb says, this book is an alternate history set in the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons.  The biggest distinguishing factors of the book for me were the period language and manners – they make a big difference to the feel of the book.

Something that I found strange, and that was never explained was why dragons would be so willing to be enslaved.  They’re big and powerful enough to not need humans in any way, and yet they seem quite willing to be bossed around their entire lives – to the point of dying in battle for us.

As far as the plot goes, there was a predictable twist and a minor climax.  I thought this is a case of the author writing a trilogy as one story rather than three related stories, but apparently there are eight books in the series (!) so I guess that explains it.