rating: 3 of 5 stars
Back-to-back Novik novels! It’s great to be back in the world of fun-not-too-serious-doesn’t-have-to-be-an-epic fantasy.
Throne of Jade continues quite directly from His Majesty’s Dragon but could be read standalone. This would be a shame as His Majesty’s Dragon is a little bit better, fresher and tighter. It’s clear the two books are well thought out – a few nice story transfers serve to seal the fact that Jade is not a tack-on.
The Throne of Jade falls into three parts – it starts a little clumsily with some transition to sending Laurence and Temeraire to China – there then follows a pretty good “long sea journey” section, dealing with many of the stereotypes of these sort of journeys and finishing with a pleasing third in China with a little bit of politicking and some nicely tied off conclusions (a fraction too quickly, especially compared to the slightly slower pace of the rest of the book).
Character development was choppy and the characters are still a little flat, but very enjoyable, with few questionable uh? moments, so that’s fine for solid fantasy.
In all of it, the central premise of the existence and use of dragons in the 18th Century remains interesting and fresh and I am keen to move onto Black Powder War but as there is no lingering cliffhanger leading me there I am happy to wait and pace myself a little on this. There is enough pieces in Throne of Jade that I am sure the third installment has enough to keep the series cohesive.
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