Well, I was slightly less thrilled with this than the last one. I know it’s good for Laurence to chill out a little bit because yes, he did in some respects have a stick up his ass, and I appreciate that’s not necessarily an ideal state for a stalwart hero to be in – but I got sad when he started to feel disenchanted with the British government and the Navy and everyone, and how he started thinking sedition mutiny thoughts. I liked His Majesty’s Dragon because of how proper and British he was, and now he’s all different. I don’t feel like I know him anymore. *tear*
Laurence and Temeraire are off to China in Throne of Jade. It’s all about what a rare and unusual dragon Temeraire is, and the Chinese are very cross that their most rare and unusual dragon, which was meant for an emperor (Napoleon), is being minded by an ordinary guy and being sent off to war. In order to avoid irritating China so much that they start giving out dragons to France willy-nilly, Britain ships Laurence and Temeraire to China to sort the whole mess out. It’s a long journey, so most of the book takes place on the ship’s journey to get there.
My main gripe is that there was a massive build-up for not much conclusion. They spend all this time on the ship fretting about everything, whether Temeraire will be taken from Laurence, whether the Chinese are going to get angry with their wicked British dragon-having ways and kill them all, who’s evil and who’s okay, and then at the very tail end everything gets resolved really, really quickly. (Except for the problem of dragon liberty, which is obviously meant for future books.)
That issue aside, however, I did enjoy the book. Not as much as His Majesty’s Dragon, of course, but still quite a fair bit. I still don’t like Jane Roland, but she wasn’t around much. Although the book wasn’t fast-paced, it was interesting, all the conflicts that arose on the ship. Just the kind of thing that would happen in these circumstances – different branches of the armed forces getting in each other’s way and being irritated with each other, the dragon being stubborn, culture conflicts – it was interesting.
Overall, I’d say – second book in a series with all the attendant problems. Not bad, but not good enough that I feel compelled to read Black Powder War straight away. It’s in my library bag and all, but I’ll just wait. I think that will be better.