Victory Of Eagles, Naomi Novik

It might be a reflection on my character that it took an alternate history to make me care about the Napoleonic war. But let me tell you, in this story I CARED. I had to bold that to give you the full effect. I got a bit emotional about it.
*coughs*
*Looks at Team Duke of Wellington t-shirt.*
Just a bit emotional.

And yes, the story. Because of reasons in the last book which I’m not going to tell you about, Lawrence and Temeraire are separated. Lawrence is in a jail until further notice, waiting trial for treason. Temeraire is in Wales, chatting up the ladies. IF you know what I mean, and I think you do. Heh.

And then the Eagles land. Eagles, in this case, referring to the standards of Napoleon’s army, which just came ashore in force. WHERE IS YOUR HONOUR NOW? England is being routed, because let’s face it, the generals are just not quite working on the same level as the French Army. For example, I might not think the most appropriate response to an invading force is to stand around talking how awesome you are and how he’s going to turn back at the first battle, but possibly that’s just me. And we didn’t really want London, did we? Nah, that just took up too much space anyhow. Scotland is much nicer! Breezy!

And I gave this book five stars out of five. I know that seems excessive, give what I rated the ones just before- but hey, I told you I was fickle. I just DELIGHTED in all of this one. ^_^ I loved how finally we got to talk to Dragons other than Temeraire, and all the politics he had to confront and overcome. I especially liked the overcoming, because I’m- just that way. I like to read about people being awesome, is that so wrong? No, no it is not. And while Lawrence’s arc made me shrivel up and die inside, it was good for him, I think. Yes, I think of Lawrence chiefly in a motherly way, is that so wrong? And again we say no, it is not wrong.

Let’s see, I loved how basically everyone grew a pair and was AMAZING in this book. Including in some cases, growing a pair of consciences, for the empathizing, or a pair of frontal lobes, for the thinking. And the final battle. Oh, the final battle was DELICIOUS.

P.S. I’m sorry this is so incoherent. I don’t want to really spoil anything? It just made me happy, that’s all! You should read it.

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Empire of Ivory, Naomi Novik

So I go back to my May drafts, and LO AND BEHOLD. This one isn’t written, much less published. Face, meet palm.

Now in the last book, a lot of spoilery stuff happened. Which I’m not going to tell you about. I’m saving my spoilery reviews for the next book. 😀 Heh. Heh. Heh.

Anyways, just about right after Temeraire and the crew left for China in book two, dragons in England started coughing and sneezing. Which fast acquires the tone of a national emergency when the dragons just don’t get better. Instead they start drowning in their own lungs, and did I mention they have no medicine for dragons? Yeah. Bad times when your air force is all in-operational. That is, at least, how the powers that be see it. The dragon crews we’ve all come to know and love see it, naturally, in a bit more of a personal light. “Our friends are dying and we can’t do anything about it.”

 In pure desperation, Temeraire and some other dragons we know and love are sent to Africa. So that maybe they’ll find medicine? Or maybe the climate will cure the cough? Or maybe- something. Quarantine?

There is a real sense of desperation behind this trip. And to my mind, it never really lifts off. There’s barely a purpose, people are just eating things madly, running away, sailing endlessly, despairing and dying. You know. The general cheerful stuff. There is some nice things about Africa, but I didn’t enjoy that as much as my friends. Possibly because I found it kinda super creepy. Ahem. Though on the other hand, telling the giant meat-eating-but-intelligent beast that he’s related to you, and you don’t eat your family,  DOES seem like a pretty good idea. However, Lawrence just tired me, and the girls were awkward, and Temeraire was painfully innocent, and the only ones who were awesome were the crews. And I read books like this for the awesome people! So I gave it three stars out of five.

Black Powder War, Naomi Novik

Note: I thought I had this reviewed in May. FAIL. TERRIBLE FAIL.

So in the last book, our jolly crew started heading home from Asia. Everyone is VERY happy to be free of the political machinations of the Chinese Court- BUT LOOK, over there in the hills! Yep, that is Ms. Political Machinations herself, Lien, the white dragon. How will they get home NOW?

Most of the book, at least the way I remember it, deals with decent people getting caught up in dishonourable politics, and what happens when technology changes. With Lien *Spoiler* teaming up with Napoleon *End!Spoiler* the game has shifted mightily. Now everyone is dealing with brilliant tacticians who just aren’t thinking in ways they’re used to. And if they’re not prepared to change the way THEY deal? Well- there’s the ocean. Armies are traditionally run into it right about now. Do you have your escape armada lined up?

While this book was interesting, and I enjoyed it… I gave it three stars out of five. It just didn’t have the crackly magic of the first Temeraire book. It was better than the second, that’s for sure! But not by a whole lot. Plus, it was just DEPRESSING. Hello, here’s a war- I mean a rout. Sigh.

Dewey’s Readathon: Update 2

Yes, I’m STILL reading Emma, by Jane Austen.

Thoughts;

  • I am distressed by the lack of explosions.
  • My WORD do they have the awesomest put-downs or What? Golly!
  • Sly humour ftw.
  • Also, I’m marrying Mr. Knightly. Ah-huh.
Books Completed: None
Pages Read: 271
Coffees: 1


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Books I’ve pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Readathon update! Augh!

Augh, I’ve been reading for an hour, and I just realized that I never did my start post! Augh! Augh!

Ahem.

I’m reading Emma, by Jane Austen. And oh my word, the cringe-inducing DRAMA. Mr. Knightly is the only person I don’t wanna punch in the FACE.


If you wanna sponsor me to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I’ve already pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Daisy Miller, Henry James

I read this for book club- and it was rather an interesting experience. For one, I had a bit of difficulty finding a plot. It seems to revolve entirely around the stalking of a girl named Daisy Miller, by an American fop in Europe, Mr. Winterbourne.

He’s indentured himself for social reasons to an Aunt of his, who he follows around Europe being useful to. All very respectable. And then in Switzerland he meets a very pretty, bland little girl named Daisy Miller. I admit to not being particularly impressed by Ms. Miller, especially since what Winterbourne is particularly enraptured by is her toneless prattle.

*pause for headdesking*

I LIKE PEOPLE WITH PERSONALITY, OKAY?

But despite being prone to prattling and vagueness, Daisy is also very used to getting her own way. She makes Winterbourne promise to take her on a trip to the castle across the lake, and it’s all very charming and romantic. However, warning signs are seen on the horizon in the fact that W-‘s Aunt refuses to be introduced to her, as she’s not proper society. *gasp*

Yes, despite the reputation of Americans abroad, or probably because of it, all the USians in this book and hypersensitive of propriety. This becomes very obvious when the setting moves to Rome. There’s a whole enclave of ex-pat Americans there, and they are shunning Daisy because of her insistence on going around with an Italian man unchaperoned. *double gasp*

The shunning continues, with Winterbourne weakly trying to tell Daisy that noooo, you’re only hurting yourself! Pay attention to society!

And then she gets the fever and dies.

*puts ribbon on obvious happy ending*

Oh wait. No, that isn’t a happy ending, is it? No, not really. Hmmm. What is it, then? It’s not particularly tragic, cause everything was leading up to that from the very beginning and we meet doctors and mentions of night fevers. And there’s the fact that Daisy is so bland a character as to resemble a bit of pretty fog in a dress. Her definite characteristics are prattling tonelessly, and doing whatever she isn’t supposed to. But not in an interesting way, just in a stupid one. So what is this, if it’s not a tragedy, or a happy story? Oh, I’ve got it! It’s a morality play! Pay attention to your elders and don’t hang around boys, or you will die of fever. Right-o.

From my description there, you might think I didn’t like the book. That wouldn’t be exactly accurate. See, I have a bit of a bloodthirsty streak, and as previously mentioned, I did NOT love Daisy. Maybe I thought she was too stupid to live? I’m sure I wouldn’t tell you here…

And despite my dis-love of the actual content, I really liked Mr. James’ style. I loved his dialogue, which actually sounded like people (delicious,) and I very much liked the his voice. I gave it three stars out of five.


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Books I’ve already pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Cry Wolf, Patricia Briggs

Anna had no idea werewolves existed until three years ago, when she was attacked by one. She survived, more from innate stubbornness than from anything to look forward too. Since she healed from the attack, she’s spent the intervening time learning that werewolves are monsters, and the more dominant a wolf is, the more she’ll want to forget any encounter with him afterwards. Her pack spent the three years violently teaching her her place, and feminism has NOT hit them yet.

But last weekend there was a power change in her pack. A lot of people she isn’t going to mourn died. The enforcer who did the killing, (who specifically was able to kill the alpha because he’s even more dominant,) tells her their wolves have decided they’re mated, and he asked her to come home with him. And she went, maybe not even for the usual keeping-her-head-down ways. Now Anna and Charles have to get to know each other, and also oh, btw, ancient evil is prowling around in the woods, maybe you should look into that before it eats your soul.

Okay, this is a romance, no denying. And I liked it. 😀 I could actually track emotional developments, and  I could identify with the characters’ romantic interest. As I believe I’ve mentioned, this hardly ever happens. But I liked following along with Charles learning not to glare at his girl, and Anna learning she’s allowed to be bossy when her man is gonna HURT himself cause he won’t let himself HEAL. *exasperated sigh and pushes him around*

Within Patricia Briggs’ world-building, werewolves deal with being basically two people in one changeable body. The human and the wolf. The wolf is generally not the peaceful one with the relationship. Which is why, given that they barely know each other, both the angry, defiant and damaged little girl and the super powerful hitman everyone’s scared of are rather disconcerted by their wolves’ interest in curling up and snuggling around the other person.

And in this book, the snuggling was what interested me. (Sigh, I really am a girl, aren’t I? Drat.)  It was just sweet! 😀 And yes, this is a “sweet” romance, not “steamy.” Which is possibly why I also liked it. I could enjoy following the emotional arc without having to go “AUGH, I”M TOO YOUNG,” and there was more focus on building friendship, instead of half the book being depictions of body parts and how there’s heightened blood flow. Which really, you know, I’m just not that interested.

There was an actual plot, beyond making friends with each other, and I did approve of how it ended. For me, it was more of a vehicle for the making-of-friends than a key player, so I’m not gonna deal with it. Because of my somewhat “meh” reaction to the plot, I gave it three stars out of five.