Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Naomi Novik's Temeraire series


Postby Nagoo » Wed June 16th, 2010, 6:44 am

"traveldog" wrote:For anyone who is enjoying the dragons, try Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, beginning with Dragonflight. Fantasy (although one could consider it Future History......). Even if you've never read fantasy before (I hadn't), just suspend belief for a little bit, long enough to get into the story, and then you'll have no problem believing! It reads like good historical fiction ...... just of a world that didn't (won't?) exist.

I know there are a lot of fantasy and sci fi series out there, but this one is truly exceptional. And you'll probably wind up wanting your own dragon ...

I think McCaffrey originated the modern idea of riding dragons. At least Paolini seems to have been inspired, as well as seemingly Novik.


Postby Doug » Mon August 2nd, 2010, 9:40 pm

Has anyone read the new Temeraire book? I love the series and just finished the latest one. Sadly, I think she may be losing a little steam on these; this book seemed to drag a bit, and there was a lot of book for how little the plot got advanced. I still enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as the earlier ones in the series.

And though I haven't read them in years, I loved the Pern books when I was younger. Plus they had great Michael Whelan dragon covers. They were the complete package!


User avatar
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Tue August 3rd, 2010, 12:56 pm

It does have a middle book in the series feel to it, and I think also the characters are entering a transitional period in their development. I didn't mind the journey across the Australian outback, though, as I often like travelogues and journeys (and didn't mind them in the other books). I'm also finally seeing signs of Temeraire maturing in this series, and I think there is much to credit in the way of character development in this. It will be interesting to see where the author goes with the political situation and the dark horse, China, shaking things up.


Postby gyrehead » Tue August 3rd, 2010, 7:18 pm

For me the last two books, while quick and enjoyable overall, have rather suffered the open-ended series syndrome. Where the readers, publisher and author come together and create the perfect storm of sustainability mixed with the inertia of sustainability :) . I've seen this in other genre works where there is a profitable audience and a relatively broad stage to keep playing it out on.

And one of the main problems is that you get a sort of repetitive overall meme going on that just gets plain tiresome. Simply because the author and/or editor wants to make sure that resolution doesn't get in the way of a strong continuing franchise. Another problem tends to be the lather-wash-rinse repeat cycles of character growth. But Novik seems to do a good job of avoiding that.

Bu the first problem is the one I see and find a drag in reading what is otherwise a flowing fast paced prose and plot. Specifically it is Laurence's endless round of woe. I get how honorable and noble he is. But at some point, not sure when, I went from empathy to downright weariness and impatience. Poor poor Laurence. Despite his best efforts everything goes against him. I like the character but Novik needs to let the man breathe a bit. He just now comes off as a victim and seems almost weak as he bows to the winds of torment. At this point, six books in I want more of a spine. More of a survival instinct. More of a guy who looks at what he has already accomplished and realizes he doesn't have to swallow and shift and humble himself over and over again.

Yes I get the whole social class thing. And the military aspect. But you can have a character dance to those tunes so many times to absolute boors fools and idiots before he just comes off as weak and wishy-washy. I'm not expecting Novik to have him be unrealistic for the milieu she has him set in. But I do want to see a little more proactive growth. She does have some rather sweeping changes in terms of social awareness going on elsewhere. She could make Laurence less of a constant martyred victim and a bit more of a dynamic character who doesn't want until the waters are over his head to start swimming simply because it would be rude (and always despite the fact that all his adversaries and problems are embodied in the height of stupid willful rudeness).

I do know that there are now a finite number of books to the series. Three I think. Though fantasy is notorious for bringing out yet another. And another. And another. Still if Novik has a mind for how she wants to wrap things up, maybe Laurence will emerge as a force to be reckoned with and not just someone who suffers and endless pile-on of minor stifling grief.


Postby annis » Wed August 4th, 2010, 5:46 pm

I agree totally about fantasy series which lengthen out and out to mine an initial popularity. They always lead to reader burn-out, just like TV series that pick up a good idea and drive it past extinction. Talk about "the road goes ever on!" You get to the point when you see yet another Terry Goodkind or Robert Jordan title on the shelves and think, "So?" Keep it to the trilogy, I say :)


Postby gyrehead » Thu August 5th, 2010, 5:05 pm

I actually have no problem with long series. What I think weakens Novik's efforts is that she tries to have both a series and a serial adventure set a la Hornblower. The problem lying in either her or her publisher's decision to have a self-contained book set on a grand stage but with a deliberate hook for the next book. To-be-continued's can only sustain my attention if I feel that the author delivers a strong set of resolved issues in each book. Novik's ability to do so sadly has weakened for me in the last couple of efforts. To the point where I feel they were nothing but a single step toward the next book instead of intent on delivering a story for that book. If that makes sense.

I think that had she done more towards putting out well-written fun fast-paced self contained novels with an overall chronological cohesiveness it could have gone on for some time. The Napoleonic period is rife with possible influences and events.

And to be fair, for the most part Novik does seem to have tried to do this for the most part. But one of the things I found lacking and perhaps in exchange for the buildup and then subsequent resolution of these cliffhangers is the dropping of the expansion of the main character as a true character. Which a true series would allow for instead of turning out each new book as some kind of travelogue -- as if Novik can't sustain in her writing, plotting story-telling, whatever; the growth and development of her lead without plunking them down in yet another new exotic locale and basically hit re-boot every time.

It seems like a slight cheat in the storytelling area if the author seems overly dependent on using and re-using the "arrive in new unknown land; face localized adversity or rivalry among already arrived fellow Brits; face uncertainty with local population-fauna-flora-climate, conflict; resolution (somewhat); arise of new problem and To be Continued.

Considering how the latest ends and that Novik talks about the series ending gives me hope that Laurence will have some growth and even have a little manning-up when someone sneers and sniffs and does something incredibly stupid that risks his life and his beloved dragon's.

User avatar
Location: Houston

Postby Ashley » Tue September 7th, 2010, 2:22 am

I've read the first three of these, and have the second set of three. I tried to start Empire of Ivory and was bored :( but that sometimes happens in the beginning with her things. I've also heard the same thing happens with the Steig Larsen books, so we'll see.

I love the idea of Temeraire, but they can drag in regards to Laurence. I'd like him to get a romance or something! Glad to read what everyone else thinks here too.

King Arthur Fan Fiction, maintainer

My writing can be found on my Live Journal, HERE.

User avatar
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Tue February 7th, 2012, 2:29 pm

I didn't realize until today, but the new Temeraire book comes out next month (March 6th here in the US): Crucible of Gold.

User avatar
Favorite HF book: Welsh Princes trilogy
Preferred HF: The Middle Ages (England), New Kingdom Egypt, Medieval France
Location: Temple of Isis

Postby Nefret » Sun January 6th, 2013, 1:59 am

I really liked this series. Mostly book two. I haven't read anything past the fourth book, which I now need to remedy.
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"

Return to “Historical Fantasy”