Review of BLOOD OF TYRANTS by NAOMI NOVIK
(eighth in the TEMERAIRE series)
I adore the Temeraire series. Novik has mastered an utterly unique and appropriate authorial voice for her characters and setting and the dragons’ personalities and interactions never cease to amuse me. However, I will confess this installment is probably my least favorite of the series so far.
Our human hero Laurence finds himself stranded in Japan with amnesia. It’s the amnesia element that hurt the storyline so much, in my opinion. Personally, I rarely enjoy amnesia as a plot twist. It feels like any interesting development goes on pause while we the reader must wait for the character to play catch up: remembering everything that we already know…and the character knew, too, pages earlier. Only once the amnesia aspect is resolved does the story start to move forward again. It didn’t help that I happened to be reading three books at once that utilized this amnesia twist.
Of course, the primary tension in BLOOD OF TYRANTS comes from the fact that Laurence is separated from Temeraire and does not remember a thing about his beloved dragon companion. For all that Laurence can recall, he’s still in the navy. While this does indeed create some tension – Will Laurence remember Temeriare? What will happen when they’re reunited? – I found myself unable to invest in this storyline as much as with the other books.
I believe there’s only one book after this left in the series and, even if BLOOD OF TYRANTS wasn’t my favorite installment, I will be very sad when Temeraire and Laurence’s adventures reach their end. I expect to remember stiff, formal Laurence and his articulate, well-mannered dragon for decades.