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Kate Nepveu

The Temeraire Series Sticks the Landing: Non-Spoiler Review of League of Dragons

Hello, everyone! I had been recapping and reviewing Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons—but now League is out, and so I am bringing you a spoiler-free review of it! (I read a galley provided by the publisher.) This review also avoids spoilers for prior books; if you want to refresh your memory, you can catch up at the reread index, which contains much longer and more detailed posts than this one.

Please, no spoilers in the comments; there will be a spoiler post for League in two weeks in which I will delve into as much minutia as I can get away with (we’re skipping a week to give people time to read and because I will be away). In addition, I’d appreciate it if you would avoid or obscure major spoilers for later books, as a lot of people are behind.

Let me put the conclusion up front: League of Dragons sticks the landing, and if you like the series overall, you should read it. It handles gracefully the general challenges of concluding a long series, and it has lots of the best parts of the series to date, and not that much of the worst.

[No spoilers]

The Temeraire Reread: Blood of Tyrants

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14th (next week!). We continue this week with the eighth novel, Blood of Tyrants, in which we get involved in a land war in Asia. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (I’ve read it, but I’m pretending I haven’t). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

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Series: The Temeraire Reread

The Temeraire Reread: Crucible of Gold

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14th. We continue this week with the seventh novel, Crucible of Gold, in which we head for Brazil. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (I’ve read it, but I’m pretending I haven’t). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

[Read more]

Series: The Temeraire Reread

The Temeraire Reread: Tongues of Serpents

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14, 2016. We continue this week with the sixth novel, Tongues of Serpents, in which we go to Australia. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (I’ve read it, but I’m pretending I haven’t). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

[Read more]

Series: The Temeraire Reread

The Temeraire Reread: Victory of Eagles

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14, 2016. We continue this week with the fifth novel, Victory of Eagles, in which Napoleon invades England. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (I’ve read it, but I’m pretending I haven’t). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

[Read more]

Series: The Temeraire Reread

The Temeraire Reread: Empire of Ivory

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14, 2016. We continue this week with the fourth novel, Empire of Ivory, in which we head to Africa and meet a bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (I’ve read it, but I’m pretending I haven’t). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

[Read more]

Series: The Temeraire Reread

The Temeraire Reread: Black Powder War

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14th. We continue this week with the third novel, Black Powder War, in which we return to Europe—and the Napoleonic Wars—via Istanbul. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (I’ve now read it, but I’m pretending I haven’t). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

[Read more]

Series: The Temeraire Reread

The Temeraire Reread: Throne of Jade

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14th. We continue this week with the second novel, Throne of Jade, in which we head for China. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (because I haven’t read it yet). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

[Read more]

Series: The Temeraire Reread

The Temeraire Reread: His Majesty’s Dragon / Temeraire

Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Temeraire Reread, in which I will recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14, 2016. We begin this week with His Majesty’s Dragon (released in the UK as Temeraire).

This reread is as much preparation for me as for anyone else, because while I enjoy the series greatly, I also remember its events less well the further it goes. (The worst instance of this was on my first reading of the most recent novel, Blood of Tyrants, where for a long time, I managed to forget not just the details of the prior novel, Crucible of Gold, but its very existence. Whoops.) And while I’ve really enjoyed the general direction of the alternate history that’s been created and revealed over the series, I’m also curious to see how some of its components look after a bit more research and the passage of time.

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Series: The Temeraire Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: The BBC Adaptation

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which we’ve reopened to discuss the TV adaptation now that it’s finished airing on BBC America. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index; read Emily Asher-Perrin’s episode reviews; or check out all of Tor.com’s posts about this book.

After the jump I’m first going to give first a spoiler-free three-paragraph summary of whether I think the show’s worth watching. Then I’ll give the long version, which is (unsurprisingly) quite long, with spoilers for all of JS&MN, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, and the TV show. And pictures, including the best eyeroll gif ever. I look forward to other people’s thoughts now that the whole series has aired in the UK and US. (Sorry, Canada, where it’s still airing; sorry, other countries that are waiting for the DVD release. Comment whenever, truly, I’ll get the notifications!)

[“The nameless slave shall be a king in a strange country.”]

Series: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread

Naomi Novik’s Uprooted Isn’t The Book I Expected — It’s Better

This review of Naomi Novik’s much-discussed new fantasy novel, Uprooted, is for people like me who read the first three chapters online, or perhaps got only that far in the book proper, and came away with rather the wrong impression.

Uprooted is not, as I thought it might be after those first three chapters, any of the following: a Beauty and the Beast story; a somewhat quiet tale about learning one’s magical abilities and negotiating a relationship with one’s teacher; or a story that includes intrinsically-gendered magic. What it is, is a kingdom-level fantasy with great magic and an engaging narrator—which packs a surprising amount of plot into its single volume. I recommend it highly.

[No spoilers.]

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: The Ladies of Grace Adieu, Part 2

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell series. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Clarke’s works through her tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of The Ladies of Grace Adieu plus, of course, JS&MN. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread concludes with the second half of The Ladies of Grace Adieu, “Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower” through “John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner.”

[“John Uskglass reasoned thus: all of Cumbria belonged to him — therefore this wood belonged to him — therefore this toasted cheese belonged to him. So he sat down and ate it, allowing his dogs to lick his fingers when he was done.”]

Series: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: The Ladies of Grace Adieu, Part 1

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell series. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Clarke’s works through her tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of The Ladies of Grace Adieu plus, of course, JS&MN. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread considers the first half of The Ladies of Grace Adieu, the Introduction through “The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse.”

[“Above all remember this: that magic belongs as much to the heart as to the head and everything which is done, should be done from love or joy or righteous anger.”]

Series: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 14

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread finishes JS&MN with chapters 65-69, but does not itself conclude, as we will cover The Ladies of Grace Adieu for dessert.

[“Briefly, the snow and the shadows seemed to form a picture of a thin, dark man in a greatcoat and boots. The next moment the illusion was gone.”]

Series: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 13

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers the second-to-last section of JS&MN with chapters 60 through 64, in which magic truly returns to England. (Also, if you’re interested in the upcoming BBC One TV adaptation, there are scattered bits of footage throughout this general 2015 preview video. Why is there no release date yet?! *shakes fist toward the UK*)

[“The clocks struck on and on, long past twelve, telling the time of a strange, new era.”]

Series: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread