Reader note: I’m reviewing the entire nine novels of the Temeraire series in this review.
Such a surprise awaited when I flipped to the first page of His Majesty’s Dragon: Napoleonic naval adventures married seamlessly and believably to an aerial component via dragons. All disbelief suspended. Stunningly delightful.
That surprise was further augmented by Novik’s impeccable research, the solidity of her character and plot development. All my usual cynicism evaporated. Of course there are sentient dragons populating the globe. Of course Napoleon added those dragon recruits to his troops to great effect, as did the British, and the Swiss, and the Russians.
And of course the Chinese revered and recognized dragonkind, built their cities to accommodate their draconian neighbours, gave them rights and employment, allowed them to create their own hierarchies and culture.
In short, Novik’s world building is some of the best I’ve ever read. This is fantasy married to alternate history at its peak. There is no peer for this, in my opinion. She has created a canon of work I believe will endure through time, come to be homed with classics like Adams’ Watership Downs, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
And in light of the fact I am such a very difficult reader to impress, it comes as astonishment that once I’d read all nine novels, I immediately, without hesitation, and with great delight, began the first in the series and swam my way through the entire series once again, relieving that joy.
It has been a very long time since I have been this mesmerized and delighted by a fantasy series, or frankly any literary work.
If you’ve never read the Temeraire series, you should. Right now. Go. Acquire His Majesty’s Dragon, and then settle in for a delicious, entertaining, utterly believable adventure you’re never going to forget.