Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik

Following on from the events of Empire of Ivory Captain Will Laurence has been branded a traitor and Temeraire has been sent to a breeding ground, believing Laurence's well being is subject to his good behaviour. Napoleon meanwhile has renewed his efforts to cross the channel and quickly succeeds in landing troops on British soil. Needing every dragon they can muster the British government despatches Laurence to retrieve Temeraire. However Temeraire receives false intelligence that Laurence has been killed in action and rouses the population of the breeding grounds into a militia to attack Napoleon's forces on their own. Laurence eventually catches up with Temeraire as he journeys through the countryside but even reunited their situation is still bleak.

Something that worried me in the early books of this series was that the structure of the plot was similar across those works so I'm glad to see Novik going in a very different direction with this one. The story very much focus on the different ways Laurence and Temeraire deal with their decision to bring the cure of the plague to France and for the first time a very big chunk of the story is told from Temeraire's perspective. What struck me about this is despite Temeraire's intelligence how incredibly naive he is which is rather unsurprising as he isn't more than a few years old now and I think Novik gets this spot on. It's also interesting to finally see Temeraire spreading his ideas about the treatment of dragons to the other dragons in Britain as the series has been building up to this for a long time. Laurence feels much darker than the previous book and his decision has hit him hard and leads him to some self-destructive behaviour, his inner turmoil is apparent and here Novik succeeds again. Finally after all the traipsing about the globe it is great to finally have a story set firmly in Britain with the war in complete focus.

Overall another strong offering from Novik. 8/10.

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