I read Throne of Jade more slowly than Naomi Novik’s first Temeraire book, His Majesty’s Dragon. Mostly because I’ve been busy, although I am a sucker for that first getting-to-know-you dance of love in HMD. (I still think of Laurence returning to Temeraire after they were forcibly separated and Temeraire lying very still, only stroking the gold chain Laurence gave him.) In TOJ, they’re already
a couple companions.
Despite that, I thought the opening and conclusion were stronger in the second book. The first scene sucked me right in: Laurence and Temeraire have been set apart and are very unhappy. I liked seeing more of Novik’s world, with glimpses of a Dakota dragon and slavery, as well as (obviously) a closer look at the Chinese. I adored the last third with the myriad of Chinese dragons, their culture, and the complicated politics there.
Since I don’t know how to make a spoiler cut here, I’ll use rot13. V yvxrq ubj Abivx unaqyrq gur onq thl, va gung ur unq ynlref. V jnf rfcrpvnyyl fgehpx ol Lbatkvat’f yblnygl gb gur nyovab qentba, Yvra, naq V yvxrq uvz sbe vg, nygubhtu uvf znpuvangvbaf jrer hasbetvirnoyr. V jnag gb frr zber bs Yvra.
I look forward to Black Powder War.
Two other reviews. Jane of Dear Author gives it a B+.
The things that I like best are learning about the dragons themselves and seeing the interaction between Temeraire and Laurence. The things I like least are the battle scenes.
Kate Nepveu also liked it.
Indeed, I think in some ways it is superior to the first book. It’s more exciting, for one: between Laurence and Temeraire having finished training, and the perils of the sea voyage, there’s significantly more action. When there isn’t physical danger, there’s Laurence’s constant worry that he and Temeraire will be separated, either by force or by Temeraire’s choice. That leads directly to the other superior thing: China is a society drastically different because of the presence of dragons.