Well, that’s it. The last book in the Temeraire series! I thought the ending was satisfying. It wasn’t particularly surprising, maybe, but I was happy with how things ended up and I enjoyed the last book as much as I had enjoyed the previous books. The rest of this review consists of general, spoiler-free comments on the series as a whole.
I really enjoyed the whole series even though, in retrospect, it lacked some of the things that are most likely to earn my enthusiasm for a book. In particular, Novik used a straight-forward and consistent story-telling style. There were surprises here and there, but this isn’t a twisty story with an intricate plot that keeps you confused and anxious to learn what the heck is going on. I do normally prefer a twistier story, but it held my interest well anyway. I would be surprised though if somebody who isn’t crazy for the books from the beginning were to change their mind if they tried to keep reading. The things that made the series enjoyable for me from the start are mostly the same things that sustained my interest through to the end.
Novik writes action scenes well, and she also does very well with making characters likeable and sympathetic. She writes the interactions between characters well too. I was happy that there wasn’t much romance in the series; I think that would have taken away from the more interesting relationships and been more a source of annoyance than anything. There isn’t anything too deep here, but I liked the theme of duty versus morality that showed up throughout the series, forcing our characters to decide which should take precedence when those two things were in conflict and to deal with the consequences of their choices. Even though the series is set during a war, it has a fairly light tone. Bad and discouraging things happen, but there’s also a decent amount of humor and optimism.
I plan to keep an eye out for future books the author publishes, and I’ll read the new anthology (Golden Age and Other Stories) sooner or later. Right now I only see a $25 hardcover available for pre-order so I’ll either borrow it from the library if it’s available, or I’ll purchase it when there’s a reasonably-priced Kindle edition available.
A standalone fantasy book from the 80’s called Weaveworld by Clive Barker. This is one of those books on my list that I bought on sale a while back and know absolutely nothing about, so I look forward to being surprised. Hopefully in a pleasant way, but we’ll see. :)