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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Historical fiction
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: April 25, 2006

Series:  Temeraire #2

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.

Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await.

In this second Temeraire novel, things start off with quite a bit of conflict as a delegation of the Chinese has come to claim Temeraire back. The dragon nor Laurence will have any of it, but some British military leaders persist until Temeraire gets upset and instead attempts to kidnap Laurence to protect him.

After some discussion Laurence and Temeraire are sent together with an English naval ship and the Chinese delegation to return to China to salvage the diplomatic situation, especially before the Chinese decide to support Napoleon, believing the English have insulted them and stolen apurpose the egg housing Temeraire. While on the ship, strange things keep happening, and Laurence suspects the Chinese prince Yongxing will try everything in his power to get Laurence out of the way and keep Temeraire. Why? Because only royalty is supposed to be allowed as companions to Celestials, which they've discovered Temeraire is, and Laurence is absolutely deemed unworthy of the greatest dragon breed in existence. There is a lot of murky diplomacy and politics, action and death, and the tension between the naval officers and airmen doesn't help matters, especially when no one trusts the Chinese. Still, overtures are made to the Chinese to encourage an alliance and goodwill, though these seem to create more issues than help matters.

One of the new debates in this novel is the rights of dragons--are they animals/property or are they individuals? In China, dragons are treated much differently than in the Western European powers that we've been introduced to so far like Britain and France. Especially Celestials like Temeraire, dragons are treated with respect and occasionally like royalty. They can choose their own companions, find a trade, read, write, walk freely about the city and pay their own debts. In seeing China, Temeraire and Laurence confront much of their preconceived notions, and must decide what they believe. Temeraire also finds out about his family, and how much he stands to gain in staying in China. Furthermore, it remains to be seen how the Chinese will even allow Laurence to be with Temeraire, especially when it seems like there is a plot to either be rid of Laurence or instate a prince as his companion. It is a test of their bond, especially since Laurence faces unknown dangers and risks and must return to England to fight in the war, with or without his dragon. I am loving this series, and am reading it as fast as I can borrow the ebook...

Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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