Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review: Throne of Jade

So, this first batch of reviews (of which I'll post two a day, it's still going to take a while to get through all of them) are from my old livejournal account and date back to last July. The writing will (hopefully) get smoother as they go on and once I get through all the old reviews I'll start posting new reviews dating from mid-November/early December.
So! Starting off with Throne of Jade which is the sequel to His Majesty's Dragon (read that last winter but none of the libraries near me had a copy of Throne of Jade so I had to hold off until I got home to read it). It's a direct sequel to the idea of "gee, what would the Napoleonic wars have been like if there were DRAGONS in it?" except, following a thread from the previous book, Laurence, his dragon Temeraire, and their crew are off to China to resolve a few diplomatic issues.
The cover is in the same style as the first one but I don't think the copy I got from my library is quite that saturated.

The Good: Like the first book I love the idea that dragons are like ships and have many people working on them to make more use in battle, similar to ships, why didn't anyone else think of that before?!? It makes so much more sense than having only one or two people per dragon, it's a brilliant way of looking at an old idea and twisting it. Also like the first book, I like the back and forth between Laurence and Temeraire, not only because the characters have chemistry, but because the conversations highlight the differences between the 19th century viewpoints of the characters and the 21st one of the viewers. You have Laurence who is the 19th century gentleman who, while polite to most of those in the book, still comes off cold and unwilling to see any viewpoint other than the one he was raised on. Temeraire provides the counter viewpoint by questioning British convention and the stint in China really helps with this.
The Bad: But it still remains a bit hard to sympathize with Laurence because of his views and the characters don't seem to do so either. and a lot of the characters from the first book were missing because of the trip to China and that was unfortunate, there weren't any really interesting characters to replace them and the book felt flatter without the additional character interactions.

So, good but not as good as the first, hopefully the next book will get back to England with more of the old cast for the additional spark needed.