Victory of Eagles - Naomi Novik Try as I might, I just couldn't get into this. I think I've mentioned in reviews of the previous books that my two favorite things about this series is 1) the dynamics in the relationship between Laurence and his dragon Temeraire, and 2) the fact that they two of them get to travel and adventure in such exotic places. Ironically, all that stuff with the war against Napoleon and the French, I can take or leave. Which makes me wonder if I might be reading the Temeraire series for all the wrong reasons.

No one gets to take a trip to China or Africa or anywhere so exciting this time around. The story takes place back in Europe, back to the Napoleonic War side of things, which I suppose is the raison d'etre for all the characters if you think about it. And yet, I just found it all so dreadfully boring, and actually struggled to make myself get through the book. Granted, that was one hell of an epic battle at the end, but I'll still take the adventures in faraway places over all the tedious war planning and aerial dragon fighting scenes any day.

There were a few highlights, nonetheless. I was itching to find out what had happened to Laurence after the unfortunate events of the last book when he was imprisoned and tried for treason. I was glad to see that thread in the story resulted in the first real source of strain between Lawrence and Temeraire. I'd really wanted to see a wrench thrown into that partnership for a long time, and if that makes me a terrible person, so be it; things were getting way too cushy between them lately and their interactions were getting stale. I just wanted to see something interesting happen in their friendship again.

Unfortunately, the high points were also dampened by things that disappointed me. Why, for instance, does Laurence seem to be the only one in the entire military with even a shred of morality or conscience to do the right thing? It just feels strange, considering there are all these people in the Aerial Corps, most of whom should understand the love for dragons or at least understand why Laurence felt he had to do what he did.

Then there was the matter of Temeraire and his cause to champion more rights and better living conditions for dragons. He makes headway in this book, but also has to learn that gaining more rank and standing in the military also means accepting all the rules and disciplinary actions that come along with it. But gosh, he is just so, so naive. We've been repeatedly told that Temeraire is extraordinarily intelligent for a dragon, and yet so many of his thoughts and his actions in this book show otherwise.

My thoughts on the subject of the war and fighting notwithstanding, this installment just felt a lot weaker than the previous novels, with a lot of the things making up the story and characters unraveling and falling apart. Hopefully next book will pick up again.