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His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon

by Naomi Novik

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Temeraire (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,688297750 (4.08)2 / 550
  1. 245
    Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (lorax)
    lorax: The Napoleonic Wars, just with no dragons. Better-written than Hornblower and with much stronger characterization.
  2. 112
    Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Rozax)
    Rozax: Both Novik and McCaffrey take great care in developing the worlds for their respective series. If you like one, you may very well like the other.
  3. 91
    Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C. S. Forester (DWWilkin)
    DWWilkin: If you like the time period, no better way to start then with the first popular series about Age of Sail
  4. 61
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (PghDragonMan, Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both are alternate history/fantasy novels with a distinct nautical flair. His Majesty's Dragon is set during the Napoleonic Wars - just with dragons (obviously) as a sort of Air Navy - complete with crew. Leviathan is set during an alternate WWI between the Darwinists (who have living ships & weapons) and the Clankers (who use machines).… (more)
  5. 52
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke (ErlendSkjelten)
    ErlendSkjelten: Much heavier fare than Temeraire, but all the more enjoyable for it. The Napoleonic wars, with magicians instead of dragons.
  6. 30
    Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another interesting and well written historical fantasy.
  7. 30
    Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman (notemily)
    notemily: DRAGONS!
  8. 30
    The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson (infiniteletters)
  9. 31
    A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (TomWaitsTables)
  10. 20
    Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley (infiniteletters)
  11. 10
    Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove (PghDragonMan)
  12. 10
    Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe by James M. Ward (amysisson)
    amysisson: In this case, the dragon *is* the ship, and the main character is younger and less experienced, but otherwise they have a similar feel....
  13. 10
    Lord of the Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier (noneofthis)
  14. 00
    The Dragon and the Thief by Gillian Bradshaw (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 00
    Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: This is a real life story of a man whose all encompassing relationship with elephants, one in particular, echo that between Laurence and Temeraire.
  16. 11
    Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (carlyrose)
    carlyrose: A bit lighter and for perhaps a younger audience, but also an alternate history dealing with the Napoleonic Wars.
  17. 12
    The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (FFortuna)
  18. 01
    Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara (leahsimone)
  19. 01
    Dragon Companion by Don Callander (infiniteletters)
  20. 15
    Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb (KimarieBee)

(see all 21 recommendations)


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English (291)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All (297)
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)
Until early last year when I read and loved Uprooted, also written by Novik, I’d only been mildly interested in reading this series. The synopsis didn’t sound all that interesting to me, and I’d seen mixed reviews for it on my feed. Even after enjoying Uprooted so much, I wasn’t sure if that would have much bearing on things since this series was written many years earlier and has a completely different type of story. I enjoyed this book far more than I had expected or hoped. It caught my interest in the very beginning and held it straight through to the end.

The story is set in an alternate version of our Napoleonic Wars, where dragons are used in battle, told from the perspective of characters on the British side. That premise didn’t sound very interesting to me, but Novik writes characters and camaraderie very well and she also writes action scenes well. Contrary to my fears, the book was much more than just a string of battles. In fact, the bulk of the action doesn’t really start until over halfway through. The first half is more about setting the stage, introducing the reader to the characters and to how things work. I enjoyed both halves equally. This book doesn’t really have any sort of cliff hanger at all. It would work perfectly well as a standalone, but I definitely plan to head straight into the next book.

The story centers around two characters, the human Laurence and his dragon Temeraire. Laurence is a captain in the British Navy and has never remotely considered joining the Aerial Corps as a dragon handler, but his life takes a surprising turn at the beginning of the book. Conveniently, we get to learn about how everything works through his inexperienced eyes, and I really enjoyed that part. Laurence and Temeraire are both great characters, and I also liked several of the secondary characters although we didn’t get to know them quite as well. Laurence is a bit stiff and duty-bound, but I really liked him and found him easy to root for. He usually made rational decisions, and he tried to do things for the right reasons.

The language that Novik used worked well for me also. Keeping in mind that I am not remotely an expert on the classics, nor a history buff, the language in the book seemed to have enough archaic terms and phrasings to feel authentic to me, and I didn’t notice any major anachronisms. If I have one complaint, and it’s really a minor one, it would be that the book really doesn’t give much of a view of life outside of the military environment. It also would have been interesting to see things from the perspective of other countries. I’m not sure how that really would have fit into this story though, and it was entertaining as it was. Maybe some of the later books will expand the setting a little bit. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Jun 9, 2017 |
Based on the Back Cover description, not the type of book I would normally pick up.

It turns out, however, many years ago, I was friends with the Author. So I picked it up in support of her.

It was a very enjoyable read. Not quite "I couldn't put it down," but I am definitely glad that I chose to take the risk. ( )
  Grimshado | Apr 19, 2017 |
It is the early 1800's. The French Empire, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, is at war with many of Europe's nations. Britain, though small, is leading the resistance. Both side's aerial combatants have taken to the skies to advance the war efforts. There is one twist: instead of aircraft the combatants having taken flight on the backs of dragons.

His Majesty's Dragon is the first in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. Historical fantasy usually isn't my thing so when my book club picked this one for the monthly read I wasn't excited. Having always loved dragons I decided to give the book a try anyway and I'm so glad I did. The story opens with the HMS Reliant capturing a French ship. Part of her cargo is an unhatched dragon egg. England's Aerial Corps are always in need of more dragons and this is a handsome prize! Much to everyone's surprise the ship's doctor determines that the egg is close to hatching. Captain Will Laurence has all of his officers, himself included, draw lots to see who will be the unfortunate man charged with the task to attempt to harness (bond with) the dragon. If successful that would mean the end of the man's Navy career and he would have to enter the Corps. Little does Laurence realize just how his life is about to change.

Laurence is a proper gentlemen and could easily have been lifted straight out of Pride and Prejudice with his formal attire, mode of speech and sense of duty and propriety. Temeraire absolutely stole my heart. He is highly intelligent, charming, funny and sees the world with a child's wonder. He is full of exuberance and the desire to learn. Their growing friendship and bond is the best part of the book. The relationship between dragon and aviator is all consuming and it is great to see what lengths a good aviator will go to in order to care for his dragon. Or her dragon, as there are also female aviators, though they are not as common. It's the small details, such as Laurence spending an evening reading to Temeraire, that has me completely sold on the camaraderie and affection between the two.

The Aerial Corps are also quite unique. The dragons have an entire crew that joins them in battle by using a complex system of hooks and harnesses to stay on board during flight. The crew includes gunners, spotters, bombers, etc., similar to what you'd find on a ship. They all train together to form one cohesive team. I liked the concept a lot.

The story is not without its faults. The plot is straight forward, following Laurence and Temeraire's training in the Corps and on to their first couple battles. There are no plot twists so it was fairly easy to see where things were going and several of the supporting characters have a stereotypical feel to them. These were not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book.

And I really enjoyed this book. I ended up reading it between meetings at work it was that hard for me to put down. It's a short, light and satisfying read, a great start to a series. I look forward to reading more of Temeraire in the future. ( )
  Narilka | Feb 8, 2017 |
Delightful alternate history with dragons - Temeraire is a joy from his first appearance on the page, but the real delight here is in the bromance he develops with straight-laced Captain Will Laurence. Although it's relatively slow going, Novik is a fine hand at inciting emotional attachment and evoking the social intricacies of the times. Don't expect too much warfare (I consider this a plus, but those seeking more action-driven military pseudo-history may be disappointed).

Full review. ( )
1 vote imyril | Dec 18, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Naomi Novikprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marquez, GayleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valkonen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The deck of the French ship was slippery with blood, heaving in the choppy sea; a stroke might as easily bring down the man making it as the intended target.
“I should rather have you than a heap of gold, even if it were very comfortable to sleep on.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Published as "His Majesty's Dragon" in the United States and "Temeraire" in the United Kingdom.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345481283, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:41 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When the HMS Reliant captures a French ship and its priceless cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, Captain Will Laurence is swept into an unexpected kinship with an extraordinary creature and joins the elite Aerial Corps as a master of the dragon Temaraire, in which role he must match wits with the powerful dragon-borne forces of Napoleon Bonaparte.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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