Author : Naomi Novik
Date of Publication: April 25, 2006
Publisher : Del Rey Books
No. of pages : 432
The Story :
China gets wind of where the prized dragon egg, their lost gift for Napoleon, is. An angry Chinese Prince Yongxing and his delegation arrive in Britain and demand the return of their dragon.
Temeraire is discovered to be a Celestial dragon, the rarest of Chinese breeds. Venerated like royalty, the Chinese believe that only those of royal blood are worthy companions to these Celestials. To their utter mortification, they discover their dragon would take no other companion but a common aviator, Capt. Laurence.
Pressured by China with the gloomy spectre of a Chinese alliance with France, Laurence’s superiors force him and Temeraire to go with the delegation back to China.
Through the perils of a long voyage, Temeraire finally arrives in a country where dragons are treated like humans, with rights to education, property, and remuneration. Chinese dragons also have a social stratification according to breed and have the chances of gaining wealth or falling into poverty as much as any human.
For Temeraire, his life in China as a Celestial is every dragon’s dream; but, China is not all that ideal after all, for diabolical plans are afoot.
The Review :
Throne of Jade sees much more action. The story takes a on a faster pace than the first book as Novik throws in a lot more danger for all characters involved.
She injects a lot of humor, too, about 19th century British exposure to the Orient, making her characters have a lot of droll moments coming to terms with unfamiliar things like chopsticks and century eggs.
Novik successfully mimics the dry, genteel British verbal and writing style of the early 19th century which has a tendency to downplay or understate everything, even such incidents as death, danger, etc. so that the full emotional impact is not felt and comes across as trivialized. Injury to a crew member, for instance doesn’t seem to be of importance; however, emotional emphasis is given when the principal characters, Temeraire and Capt. Laurence are at stake.
Throne of Jade makes one immediately reach for Black Powder War, the third book of what promises to be an exciting series.
My Mark : Very Good