His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON ( Temeraire #1)

Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Del Rey
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 353 pages
Published: March 28th 2006

Buy At: Barnes & Nobles | Book Depository | Amazon

What a warm, soft read. I did not expect a book about dragons to be so fluffy but I’m living for it.

To describe it shortly, His majesty’s dragon is a very British, dragon-centered historical fantasy set around the Napoleonic Wars. It starts off with Laurence, a British naval captain, capturing a French ship and finding himself suddenly responsible for a dragon egg. In normal circumstances, the egg would be handed over to the Aerial Corps (a branch of the British military that trains dragons for combat). But the egg is bound to hatch while on sea and someone has to assert mastership over the hatched dragon before the ship could reach land.

Temeraire, the dragon, reminds me so much of Toothless. Except he talks and is exceptionally smart.

The bond between Laurence and Temeraire is so sweet, I found myself tearing up quite a few times. I just grew to love them both so much; this book all in all made me exceedingly sentimental and mushy.

The book takes places in an alternate version of the Napoleonic wars where dragons are used for battle so you should expect a lot of battle scenes with dragons and naval ships. And also, a lot of training. Britain is obviously in need of all the dragons they could possibly get in battle so Temeraire and Laurence are thrust into the wild, secluded world of the Aerial Corps. The best way to describe Laurence: he’s an absolute gentleman, very uptight and noble to a fault. But the dragon riders at the Corps are a bit secluded from the rest of society and don’t have sense of manners and properness like Laurence, so it was interesting and downright hilarious to see Laurence’s adjustment to all of this.

There is no villain in this book. It’s set in Britain during the Napoleonic wars and the French are considered enemies but it’s war and so there is no one villain. It mostly centers around Temeraire and Laurence’s relationship, and their adjustment to being thrust into the aerial military branch. His majesty’s dragon also addresses different rider/dragon dynamics, societal expectation, and agency. This was a very enjoyable read. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are averse to slow-paced stories, but if you love dragons and don’t mind slow-progressing story lines, I highly recommend it!

Original take on dragon fantasy Confusing battle sequences (too technical)
Lovable main characters Side characters could’ve been used for more
Talking dragons  Can be plotless mid-way
Gives you warm, fuzzy feels  
Slow but worth the read  

  • The slur, “O******l”, used few times to refer to Chinese people (although, in context, it’s more for historical plausibility and not for the intention to offend)

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