Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book Review: Naomi Novik’s Tongue’s of Serpents

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Naomi Novik’s Tongue’s of Serpents moves Laurence and Temeraire from the European front to Australian exile. It is here that Novik follows her similar pattern: create a political climate, generate a crisis, embark on a long journey to hatch/solve the crisis, and leave a note of excitement for the next installment in the novel’s closing pages. This time out, we learn about how the colony is doing, a coup within it, a search for trade smugglers, the loss of a dragon egg, and the frantic search for the egg before it hatches.

While entertaining, especially if one is a fan of the series, this novel is a weak effort overall by Novik. The politics of the fledgling colony do little to intrigue and the threat of war is mostly absent. The reintroduction of Captain Rankin creates intrigue, one cannot help but know that Rankin will earn the trust of his hatched dragon and work to be a captain. Of course, a rival captain that disdains and distrusts Laurence creates tension, but at times both Temeraire and Laurence feel as if they have grown depressed, whiny, and sad. Temeraire does succeed in rescuing the seemingly decrepit Kulingile, but even these encounters leave him lacking bite and flare. He simply lacks the elegance and strength of his early renditions. Either way, the Chinese eventually enter the fray bringing an epic battle with them, one that fails to disappoint even if its placement is not fully needed.  

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