The first half or so of the book follows Laurence in Japan (cool!) and back to China (cool!) who… lost all memories of the last eight years (oy!). I don’t know if there’s a series that’s had a serious amnesia storyline I actually liked and this wasn’t the exception. A third of the entire reason of the series is Temeraire and Laurence and their relationship. To lose all of that–even if it gives a chance to rebuild and explore it again? Not shiny.
“I am of the opinion", Tharkay said, “that you ought not assign to free will something more likely the consequence of a sharp blow to the skull.”
On the other hand, another third of the reason is the military tactics and ‘Napoleon with Dragons’. And for the last third or so of the book we finally get more of that! And the French invasion of Russia no less. It’s bloody, the Russian view on dragons is hard to read (in a good way? how different society’s treat and integrate dragons is the third thing I’m reading these books for), but *it’s what I’ve been missing in the series. It’s really good; if that were the whole book, easily 4-5 stars.
We do also get the first introductions to dragons from the United States. The idea that they’re independent traders, making their money off commerce and trade rather than the spoils of war? So American. And the audiobook accent is kind of hilarious. So that’s something else at least!
So overall, it’s a part of a return to form… but at what cost?
At this point, there’s one more book. And I do sorely hope we get to really wrap some things up.
One more and onward!