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Black Powder War (Temeraire, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – May 30, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course the journey overland is hard, and involves a meeting with a large group of feral dragons-who turn out to be not so feral after all. While they tell Temeraire a soap opera story about dragons he continues on his quest to get better treatment, including city residences and pay, for the British dragons. Laurence is worried about such thoughts, because he knows that nothing like that will ever come to pass and he doesn't want Temeraire to desert for China and a better life.
Once in the Ottoman Empire there are problems, and the shadow of the mad and evil white Celestial dragon hangs over Laurence's head as she follows them west. Soon problems from Napoleon and the eggs overthrow any of Laurence's concerns about Temeraire, and everyone's lives are thrown into peril.
Temeraire really gets a personality in this book, and even Laurence's worrying and duty bound personality begins to improve. The feral dragons are a riot, and the action in this book is breathtaking. This one actually had me up all night reading, and it won't disappoint anyone who even sort of liked "His Majesty's Dragon" or "Throne of Jade". This book ranks an easy four stars, and the letter at the end of it, from an unknown person talking of the dragons as stupid beasts casts a great shadow of drama for future books, as does the prequel for the next.
Do not miss any of it. You will see how expertly the dragons are used in battle. How Lien, the outcast albino dragon, who lost her captain, the perfidious prince Yongxing (read THRONE OF JADE), defected to the side of the French, in order to effect a most ingenious revenge on Temeraire and Laurence.
Most noteworthy is the development of the dragon psyche. We are introduced to the feral dragons of the Turkish mountains . . dragons in their natural state who have never known the harness but consequently aren't that well-fed either. (Comic relief after a particularly intense journey through the desert). And Temeraire beg us to consider the emancipation of all dragons though his fascinating discussions with Laurence concerning the issues of choice and freedom. THere's also the dragon eggs themselves-- whose value-- figures a greal deal in all the books. How do the dragons feel about separation from their eggs?
5 Stars! (Some heartbreak in the fate of some members of Temeraire's crew.) I do so hate these moments when I have to whip out a hanky for characters in a Fantasy! But I guess that tells you how well-written this book truly is!
I look forward to more, Ms. Novik! Consider me a life-long fan!
While this theme is the most intriguing, and gives the whole series a political and social edge that serves at least allegorically to encourage thinking about the kinds of oppressions with which our own history has been replete, it still continues to stretch credibility the extent to which the abilities and intelligence of dragons are, it seems, only just becoming known. The parallel with slavery, that is alluded to here, and the delusions about slaves that for so long justified the practice in the minds of their oppressors makes some sense of the way dragons are treated here -- and if you combine that with the idea that in their affections dragons are something like dogs, who become attached to the first person they imprint upon, and therefore less likely to revolt than they might otherwise, it can be further explained, but the dragons are not stupid and it is really difficult to credit that human beings would not know more about such powerful beings.
Still, there is inevitably some need to suspend disbelief in a story about dragons, and Novik treads a fine line between immersing us in a fantasy realm and developing parallels with our own history. It remains much more fun to read than most science fiction/fantasy I have seen in some time, and it is a bit silly to complain that there is more to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a darker book than the previous two, but continues exploring the inertia of stupidity within military and bureaucratic ranks,...Read more