OMG! Where has this been all my life? It’s like someone looked into my head and mixed together disparate things I love but would never put together. The time period and basic situations of Horatio Hornblower…and DRAGONS! As in thinking, talking dragons that work as an anachronistic, fantastical air corps (Aerial Corps). I was instantly in love with the idea and the execution was better than I could hope.
It actually starts in sea, on a British Naval ship that has just defeated a French ship and taken it as a prize. Things about the ship that don’t make sense come together when they find a dragon egg in the hold, and it’s warm. They need to find someone to bond with the baby dragon fast! While lots are drawn, the dragonet doesn’t really care for that and makes its own choice – Capt. Will Laurence. His life, as he’s known it, is over and his future is unknown. The Aerial Corps is shrouded in secrecy and few look on them with much affection. But Will and Temeraire, as he names him, become friends and basically family. Will teaches Temeraire all he knows and then reads to him so he can continue to learn. Both of them are working blind for a bit, and their introduction to the Aerial Corps does not go well – a severe understatement. Still, they learn, grow, find friends, and take care of each other.
There was so much to introduce the reader to and yet the book never suffered from Introductory Syndrome. Instead, I found it riveting and too short (actually, time just flew with no knowledge of it). I literally couldn’t put my phone down and read into the night – though we were traveling that morning! I loved the perfect mixture of fantasy and history here; going up against Napoleon with Dragons – sheer awesomeness! The battle of Trafalgar gets all but overshadowed…but I can’t say more – spoilers!
If you like Hornblower, historical fiction, and dragons – READ THIS! If you like only a couple of those…I’d at least give it a try.