Rating: 4 paws
One quote from the book that I particularly cared for: “I should rather have you than a heap of gold, even if it were very comfortable to sleep on.”
Summary of the book in one sentence: Capt. Will Laurence unexpectedly becomes the partner of a particularly intelligent dragon, and the training of both of them into the strange new world of the dragon corp.
First paw consists of the writing style – this is the technical aspect of the book. I’ll admit, it took me a bit of an adjustment period to get used to Novik’s writing style. While it isn’t as lyrical/poetical as some that I’ve come across, she’s certainly the kind who’s painting a word picture instead of being succinct and “just” telling a story, and I really have to be in the mood for that kind of thing. However, once I got in to her style, I found myself spell-bound and really enjoyed myself. The entire story seemed to flow, and nothing rocked me out of the world that she created. The writing was beautifully crafted.
The second paw is “emotional connection” – basically, was I *interested* in what I was reading? I have to be honest, I don’t normally go for historical fiction. Had a friend of mine not suggested that I read this, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. So, I wasn’t expecting to have quite as much connection that I did have to it. However, I was drawn in to this world, and made to care about even the tertiary characters. It was definitely the kind of world that I want to spend many many more hours in. And, fortunately, I can.
Third paw is plot – akin to writing style, but purely about The Story. While I probably would have liked it more, had I a firmer grasp on what actually happened in the Napoleonic wars/period, it’s really not necessary for the audience. Novik manages to create a world and story that makes sense without knowing what historically happened, and makes that world come alive. While I don’t remember being thrown by any of the plot twists (okay, so, I don’t remember any plot twists at all,) I do remember that I was never bored with the book.
The last paw is “Other Stuff,” which is pretty much anything that doesn’t go into another category but is still note-worthy. Historical fiction that has DRAGONS in it. Do I really have to say anything else? Yes? Okay, how about: Historical fiction that has dragons as a realistic part of history and is a series of awesome books.