This book contains three of my very favorite things: fantasy, history, and dragons.
The first should be fairly obvious. I love fantasy novels, especially if they are unique and well-written. So, when I stumbled on this beautiful specimen of a fantasy novel a few years ago, I had to have it.
The history thing is also fairly obvious. I do have a Bachelor's in history and I love things that bend history into other genres. That is one reason why I love Card's Alvin Maker series so much. But this is about the Napoleonic wars. What could be more entertaining?
And lastly...well...the dragons. I love dragons. There is something about the power and mystery of a dragon that just makes my little nerdy heart sing. I mean, I collect stuffed dragons (much to the embarrassment of Matt) and almost named on of my cars Smaug, after the dragon in The Hobbit. I love anything that has to do with dragons and I don't care how nerdy that makes me sound. Poor Matt.
Anyway, I don't think I knew what I was getting into when I picked up Novik's book, but I was immediately sucked in. She weaves the Napoleonic wars with fantasy so well that it almost seems meant to be. Our two main characters are Lawrence, a ship captain in England's navy, and Temeraire, a dragon. In the very beginning of the novel that two are thrust together in an awkward way and must learn to adjust to their new roles in the Aerial Corp of England, fighting that jerk Napoleon from across the Channel.
What sells this is how well Novik combines her fantasy elements into historical events. It is realistic and the dragons don't seem out of place at all. It just all...works in this wonderful magical way where I wish that there really was an Aerial Corp so that I could join!
After this title, there are four more already published, with another coming out in July (2 days before my birthday....hmmm....). Each of them weave Novik's fantasy elements into fairly accurate historical contexts in a way that makes my little history, fantasy, and dragon nerds squeal with delight. I truly think that every love of one of those things needs to read this beautiful and wonderful series.
And, in addition, the amazing Peter Jackson has the rights to the films (the project is simply called Temeraire) and I cannot wait to see what he does with the amazing battle scenes.
And, to further embarrass myself (and Matt) here are just two images to prove my total nerdiness. Both of these were taken on our honeymoon at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. What you can't see in these pictures is Matt dying of embarrassment and the people around me laughing at my lunacy.
My poor, poor husband.