Friday, February 3, 2017

Naomi Novik's Black Powder War: A Book Review

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In Black Powder War, Naomi Novik builds upon the Temeraire series with her sequel to the Throne of Jade and Her Majesty’s Dragon. In this edition, the reader is once again treated to detailed, historical battles (only this time with dragons added in) as well as daring escapes. From a plot standpoint, Laurence receives word that he is to proceed to Turkey to receive three treasured dragon eggs. Due to a fire on their transport ship, the crew hires a guide and takes to an overland route. After encountering sandstorms and feral dragons, they land safely in Turkey only to discover that the crown’s funds have vanished, the ambassador murdered, and the dragon eggs ready but no longer promised to them.

As always, a waiting game commences, and this time Novik does her best to build tension while walking through the action. The team is basically imprisoned within the royal palace, and forced to scale walls and sneak out in hopes of finding information. The catalyst of their plight arrives in the form of Lien, the albino celestial dragon that has left China an exile and headed to France to aid Napoleon in order to spite Temeraire for killing her master. From Turkey, the crew finds themselves engaged in the battle of Jena and the mysterious absence of the British dragons. While most of the events remain true to history, Lien is credited with leading the French charge across Europe, revolutionizing both transportation and strategy. Thus Laurence and crew struggle to both victory and safety as the quest to both with a war and return home.  

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