Any One Book: Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

Gee, I am so glad that’s over.

Black Powder War is the third book in the Temeraire series, which is set during the Napoleonic wars but differs from real life slightly as it includes dragons. In this instalment Laurance and his dragon, Temeraire, are winging their way to Turkey to fulfil some urgent orders sent from home. They must wend their way through deserts and mountains and survive encounters with feral dragons all in an attempt to pick up three eggs, including a much coveted Kazilisk, that the British have negotiated for.

Yet things do not go as planned and Laurence finds himself in one skirmish after another as he tries to get himself and his crew back home.

Now, the previous two books of the series were actually pretty good, I was hooked from beginning to end and as such I expected the same from this, but I was severely disappointed.

It became quite painful to read. Novik used overly complicated language to explain the simplest of details, it makes it difficult to know what’s going on in an otherwise gripping plot and the characters have become exceptionally difficult to relate to.

Laurence is nothing but a captain, we know nothing of him apart from the fact he used to be in the navy and as an Ariel Corps officer he’s rather inexperienced, outside of this there’s nothing therefore he falls a bit flat as a character. He’s all about duty and being proper and concerned about the tough decisions that cross his path. He gets angry a lot but refuses to give into it. I feel that Novik has tried to make him the perfect officer, but to be more believable he needs more flaws other than being new to the job.

Then there’s Temeraire. I used to love him, he was pretty loveable but now he’s grown in arrogance and selfishness. I understand that as a dragon he’ll have difficulty getting to grips with laws of men but to constantly question it and push against those boundaries gets really grating. Since the second book his mind has been full of idealistic visions and dragon liberties, which is fair enough since they’re shunned in society but are made to go to war, but to huff and puff and get all moody when the dragons he wants to give the chance to choose, choose not to listen to him is a bit of a backward step.

There’s also supposed to be a good relationship between Laurence and Temeraire as dragon and captain but it’s entirely unbelievable, they are no Eragon and Saphira.

But like I said, the plot was good, it’s just a shame it wasn’t supported by decent characters and it really did make it a struggle to get through. The twists were good and so was the ‘action’ towards the end but it did become a chore to finish.

I will definitely read the rest of the series, I can’t leave the story unfinished, but I’ll probably only pick it up if there’s nothing else to read.


5 responses to “Any One Book: Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

  • beckyday6

    Awwh, well that’s a real shame! I too am one of those people that love the characters I read about to have flaws. In fact, I think all my favourite books are the ones where characters have flaws. It’s just unrealistic and irritating to read otherwise. It’s so sad when a book in a series doesn’t live up to it’s potential, and yet it seems to happen quite often e.g. Brisingr from the Inheritance Cycle. How many books are there in this series in total?

    • Summer Grant

      I totally agree, flaws make the characters relatable.Ha, Brisingr was really tedious! My mum has just reread the series and read Inheritance for the first time and while she was reading Brisingr she was just like ‘I don’t care about Roran or the scenary’ which made me laugh because I remembered being exasperated by the same thing. I’m not sure about the number of books I think she has just released, or is set to release, the seventh book.

      • beckyday6

        Blimey that’s quite a lot then, let’s hope the other ones are better!

        HA! I though exactly the same thing too. Paolini does tend to word vomit sometimes haha. I’m curious to see what he will bring out after Inheritance.

    • Summer Grant

      He’s doing some new stuff but even he’s not sure it’ll be fantasy but he has said that he will, at some point, go back to Alagaisia (I think the spelling is right haha) and I’m almost certain I know which character he’ll explore it through (at least I hope he will becase it’ll be awesome).

      • beckyday6

        Yeah, I heard he was planning to revisit it too, but he’s hasn’t been giving much away! Haha I think that would be really cool but I also think he needs to prove that he can’t write more than that series. Not fantasy eh? That will be VERY interesting. Somehow I can’t imagine him writing a thriller or a paranormal romance Lol! 🙂

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