Published: March 28, 2006
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Pages: 353 (Mass Market)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.
This is my very first Naomi Novik book and I am so in love with it!! His Majesty’s Dragon was a fantastic beginning and Temeraire and Laurence had such a cute relationship. It all reminded me very much of the How to Train Your Dragon movies, which were super fun, though this was a little more vicious and a lot less Viking-ish.
The Temeraire series is an alternate history/fantasy set during the Napoleonic wars between Britain and France featuring DRAGONS. YES, DRAGONS! They are used for reconnaissance, battle, and courier services among other things. The best part is that the dragons are intelligent and can verbally communicate with humans, which in my opinion makes the story so much more interesting. This allows Temeraire to be a character that is just as lovable as any human (if not more so) because he has thoughts and emotions that are just as strong as those of his human companion Laurence. I was fond of all the dragons that Temeraire and Laurence encountered during training, which surprised me. Oftentimes characters like Laurence and Temeraire come in as underdogs and face serious opposition and they have a difficult time fitting in and, while this did happen to a small extent, it wasn’t over done.
I love beginnings, especially the beginning of a book series. They hold so much potential and can set the tone for any books that follow- those first impressions are important, you know. His Majesty’s Dragon was such a delightful introduction to this alternate version of the Napoleonic Wars and I was excited to do a little bit of extra reading to learn more about the actual events. I will admit that I use Wikipedia for these forays into history because it’s nice for casual perusing. Don’t judge! 😛 Temeraire and Laurence got in some exciting scuffles, made friends, and learned more about Temeraire’s origins, all of which were just small fractions of what went on during the book.
Naomi Novik had a really wonderful debut in this book and I can’t wait to read more from her. I checked out the ratings and some non-spoilery reviews of the later books in the series and saw that they were a bit underwhelming compared to the first few. I’ll probably read through at least book 3 eventually, but I’m not sure if I’ll complete the entire series. Let me know your thoughts on this book and/or the series as a whole!