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Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
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Black Powder War (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Naomi Novik

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2,8671002,019 (3.84)153
Member:Flariariia
Title:Black Powder War
Authors:Naomi Novik
Info:Del Rey (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Black Powder War by Naomi Novik (2006)

  1. 00
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Alternate histories of great military events tie these together.
  2. 02
    Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind (adavmn)
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Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
I am seriously becoming progressively more disenchanted with this series the longer I continue reading. The faults seem to magnify and the good points seem to dwindle the more I read.

These books seem more like a historical recounting rather than story. Before, in the other two books, the focus was more on the characters and the world. But now, the main importance seems more about political ideologies and the war between France and the world. Perhaps it is because I don't habitually enjoy historical fiction, but I find most of the book dry and plot-less. The end does pick up though.

I know it's important for the series that Temeraire pushes for dragon rights and equality and all that good stuff, but good grief, I'm getting sick of it. It's like I'm reading the Social Contract or something. Not to mention his naivety is getting a little grating. It's expected and completely in character, but argh it's getting frustrating to the point where I personally think it becomes more of a flaw in the character design.

Also, the bond between Temeraire and Laurence is also becoming less believable as the series progresses. They are basically inseparable, but there has been so many events that seems to make them disagree and split apart. And yet, there are no real compromising scenes of philosophical agreement or discussion of such personal differences, there is no resolution to their disagreement. Instead, they rely on the initial bond to keep them together and in harmony. Which is more of an easy excuse to mend any problems.

I'm starting to get annoyed at Laurence and his stiff-necked formality. I just love reading about his one-sided understanding of how the world works and how duty and authority is the meaning to life, basically. Ah, excuse my dripping sarcasm. Sigh, I don't hate him. But it's just that sometimes Laurence is a hard main character to love.

And then the plot. Where is the plot???? (I know it's not good writing, but I use so many question marks because I am that desperate!) I'm getting bored of how slow the book is progressing. It seems we stop in every single city and wind up having problems that are so easily solved in the end, but somehow it takes a couple hundred pages. It's getting to the point where I contemplate skipping every fifty pages to see if I would even miss anything important.

Oh yes, yes. I'm just ranting about my problems with the book. Sure, there are some good points too. It's all the same stuff as the first two books. Novik writes well, she has a strong understanding of how to write characters and hidden emotions, and etc.

At first I had also written off the battles because the fighting in the first two books were hardly interesting, being more about forced action and historical references. But surprisingly, I enjoyed most of the war scenes towards the end simply because they seemed to be contain more about strategy and decision making more than a mere battle. Unfortunately, dragon battle is just as ridiculous as it was in the first book. Similarly, the ending always seems to be a dragon-ex-machina and they mysteriously get out of an impossibly battle situation, no problem. Bah.

Ultimately, I just can't get over the problems that seem to be growing in size. Or maybe I just have a magnifying glass glued to my eyes as I read the book, who knows.
Or maybe it's because I'm reading this series one right after the other without much pause - and maybe Novik's slow paced books need a year in between so you can build up the patience to read through it without wanting to slam your head on the wall because the story moves so slowly.
Who knows.

Regardless, two and a half stars, because it is strong writing. Rounded down because I am so frustrated. Might round up later if I'm feeling less annoyed later, but I doubt it.
I don't think I will pick up the next book. Maybe not for another year and I build up the curiosity of what happens next. Maybe.
( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Here we pick up with Laurence and Temeraire who are still in China. They have been granted permission to stay together as captain and dragon. Shortly though they receive word that they must go immediately to get 3 dragon eggs. This book follows their progress through the wilderness with a guide that seems to be coming and going and likely betraying them. They meet up with some feral dragons who Temeraire talks into coming with them. They lose some gain the eggs and leave quickly since they had to steal them because the others were going back on their word. Then they meet up with Prussians and are forced to aid them in their war with the French.

I like this series and the development of the story as well as Temeraire's character. He is a good thoughtful and funny dragon. The ease of his sense of things makes for some comical conversations and I can completely see Laurence's reactions with how well the descriptions are written. My only complaint is the pace of this book. They were going and then stopping and going and stopping. There was so much time spent waiting and after all the waiting in Empire of Jade I got a little bored with it. Still I stuck through it and was rewarded with great writing and a good story. This is the third in the series. The other titles are:

His Majesty's Dragon
Throne of Jade
Black Powder War
Empire of Ivory
Victory of Eagles
Tongues of Serpents

So i can't wait to move onto Empire of Ivory and see where this story takes me to next!
( )
  jesssika | Sep 9, 2014 |
I took a long time getting through this book for some reason. Sometimes you just get into moods right. I think that was the case here because there is not anything in particular at fault with the book that caused the drawn out reading. The language is little more formal than most of what I read but that makes sense as it’s partially historical and more authentic as a result. The pace is pretty “patient” as one review puts it, as well. The book has plenty of action to it, but it’s not the action that keeps me up at night reading it. I knew the series wasn’t only three books long so the ending didn’t surprise me like it seemed to do for some readers. I think there’s at least four more books out and that might not even be the end. I am looking forward to the next book to see what happens. This one will just be the lower rated one in the series for me. ( )
  Kassilem | Jul 12, 2014 |
I agree about the dragging part. It seems that they spent the last hundred or so pages retreating and it took *forever*. It's like, "I get it, I get it, they're in hiding. Do you really have to harp on it?"



I enjoyed the introduction of the little dragonet, though, and I look forward to her in the fourth book, whenever I get around to reading that.
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
I agree about the dragging part. It seems that they spent the last hundred or so pages retreating and it took *forever*. It's like, "I get it, I get it, they're in hiding. Do you really have to harp on it?"



I enjoyed the introduction of the little dragonet, though, and I look forward to her in the fourth book, whenever I get around to reading that.
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Naomi Novikprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for my mother
in small return for many bajki cudowne
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Even looking into the gardens at night, Laurence could not imagine himself home; too many bright lanterns looking out from the trees, red and gold under the upturned roof-corners; the sound of laughter behind him like a foreign country.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345481305, Mass Market Paperback)

“A splendid series.”
–Anne McCaffrey

“Naomi Novik has done for the Napoleonic Wars what Anne McCaffrey did for science fiction: constructed an alternate reality in which dragons are real in a saga that is impressively original, fully developed, and peopled with characters you care about.”
–David Weber, author of the Honor Harrington series

After their fateful adventure in China, Capt. Will Laurence of His Majesty’s Aerial Corps and his extraordinary dragon, Temeraire, are waylaid by a mysterious envoy bearing urgent new orders from Britain. Three valuable dragon eggs have been purchased from the Ottoman Empire, and Laurence and Temeraire must detour to Istanbul to escort the precious cargo back to England. Time is of the essence if the eggs are to be borne home before hatching.

Yet disaster threatens the mission at every turn–thanks to the diabolical machinations of the Chinese dragon Lien, who blames Temeraire for her master’s death and vows to ally herself with Napoleon and take vengeance. Then, faced with shattering betrayal in an unexpected place, Laurence, Temeraire, and their squad must launch a daring offensive. But what chance do they have against the massed forces of Bonaparte’s implacable army?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In the wake of their adventure in China, Captain Will Laurence of His Majesty's Aerial Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, are sent on a mission to protect three valuable dragon eggs on a trip back to England from the Ottoman Empire, but the vengeful Chinese dragon Lien allies herself with Napoleon to stop them.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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