Hello everyone,

I'm sorry to have been such a bad blogger and that Kailana had to maintain this blog by herself. However, I don't know how often I'll be contributing to this blog in the future. It's not that I've lost interest in blogging or reading... simply, the books I read are more geared towards romance, even with a lot of paranormal elements, than fantasy or sci-fi and so, I think that reviewing those books here is just the wrong place. However, the book I'm going to review today is pure fantasy :D

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
published by Del Rey in September 2007

Tragedy has struck His Majesty's Aerial Corps, whose magnificent fleet of fighting dragons and their human captains valiantly defend England's shores against the encroaching armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. An epidemic of unknown origin and no known cure is decimating the noble dragons' ranks-forcing the hopelessly stricken into quarantine. Now only Temeraire and a pack of newly recruited dragons remain uninfected-and stand as the only means of an airborne defense against France's ever bolder sorties.Bonaparte's dragons are already harrowing Britain's ships at sea. Only one recourse remains: Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, must take wing to Africa, whose shores may hold the cure to the mysterious and deadly contagion. On this mission there is no time to waste, and no telling what lies in store beyond the horizon or for those left behind to wait, hope, and hold the line.
Genre: fantasy, dragons

Series: Temeraire, Book #4

Empire of Ivory picks up where Black War Powder left off. Temeraire and Laurence, along with the crew, the ferals dragons and so on, come back to England, to find that most of the dragons of the Corps are sick... they suffer from a sort of consumption and so far, none of the dragons afflicted have survived. Later, they found out that the cold Temeraire got during Throne of Jade is actually the consumption that the other dragons are suffering and as a result, Temeraire along with all the sick dragons of his formation are heading to Africa to find a cure.

I have to say that I've been waiting this book with a lot of anxiety. If any of you have read the excerpt of Empire of Ivory at the end of Black War Powder, you'll know that many dragons have died and I was very, very worried for Lily, Maximus and Volly. I almost didn't read the book when I got it, because I was so worried... however, I'm glad that I did read it, because once again, Ms. Novik has delivered. Empire of Ivory was a great read, a great continuation to the story... and a lot happened. The whole book focused less on war and more on the English Corps. In addition, Temeraire is back with his formation and I think that's why I enjoyed this book more than Throne of Jade and Black War Powder. I miss the camaraderie between Temeraire, Lily and Maximus and their Captains. In Throne of Jade and Black War Powder, many new characters were introduced, but there wasn't much friendship or interaction between them and Temeraire/Laurence. They were necessary for the story to advance.

Also, Temeraire is a bit less "political" in this book. He still wants a better life for the dragons, but it isn't all he talks about and that was a great relief for me. I understand what Temeraire wants and demands, but it's tedious to read about ^^;

One thing that I really liked about this book, is that we got to see a bit more of the relationship between the Captains and their dragons. We all know that the relationship between the dragons and their Captains is important; however, to see how the Captains suffered for their sick dragons, it was touching and it emphasized the special bond even more. Also, it's sad how people outside the Corps do not understand this attachment. They do not understand that the dragons are more than an animal... They can communicate with you their thoughts, their feelings and so on. They're not ships or horses... Another thing that I enjoyed was the display of the dragons' intellectual capacities. It's been said in previous books that dragons learn to speak in their eggshell and acquiring new languages is hard (except for Temeraire). In addition, when they have to learn about the signal flags, it has to be right after they hatched if not, it's too late and they have difficulties. In this book, the dragons get engrossed in mathematics and theories and so on. I thought it was nice and interesting.

Finally, even though it focused less on war, I think this book contained a lot of development for the future. There was more time for Ms. Novik to focus on the characters and their growth... there are few surprises and twists that I didn't expect.
For those who thinks that the ending is a cliff-hanger, it is. However, remember that Ms. Novik is contract to book#6 of this series... if you do the maths, well we're only at book #4 right? Also, remember the promise Temeraire, Lily and Maximus made to each other in His Majesty's Dragon? Wonder if they'll keep it :D

Grade: 4.5/5

Fans of the series, you won't be disappointed.


haha, I was confused... I saw this had been updated and I couldn't remember doing so! :p

Glad to see you stopped by!

I am very much looking forward to reading this!

Kailana - sorry that my appearances are very rare and sporadic ^^;

Marg - when is the book coming out in Australia?

I think I am being sent it by someone who has already read it, and they are in the US, but I have no idea when it is coming out here. It's not up on the library list yet!

You should delete the anonymous rant on Oct. 11th--not only is it way too long, it's got racist comments in it.

I dunno--I think this book isn't as good as the last three--it could have been edited better. The first three books have great dialog and an engaging plot--in this book, the british dialog is forced, there are paragraphs that only describe landscapes, and I'm sorry, the whole mushroom thing just doesn't make for a classic heroic tale.

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About Me

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.