Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
As always another great installment from one of my favorite authors. Temeraire continues to grow and introduce us to new worlds and new characters. The leading protagonists we have grown to love have further developed in character and history. With a very deserved reinstatement, Captain Laurence and Temeraire are able to reunite with the original formation. We meet some intriguing new dragons and reunite with some uncouth figures. The losses were felt, but seemed somewhat confusing. (How did that even happen? I demand the why! Mutiny from the readership at the lack of clarity) However, I have thoroughly lost track of the casualties of Napoleon's War as characters seem to leave the series with much haste and paltry explanation.
While I felt the overall flow to be a little stumbling, it was a delicious read. I couldn't put the book down. The plot moved very quickly (and seemed to lack a little polish for such rush through the narrative) with plenty of action. In making up for the dreary travel over the Australian outback, Novik swung the pendulum a little too far. She had Temeraire's crew make even a dragon's flight hurried and I missed the charm of South America.
I hate to have such a wishy-washy review, but the story just came out patchworked like its crew. The character development was brilliant, the plot came back around to the original core formation, but the actual narrative flow was severely lacking. I was happy to read another installment in the series (and very quickly at that!) since she is one of my favorite authors, though. So I would have to rate this book as worth the continuation to build up anticipation for Blood of Tyrants. I do hope that the next book does not feel so rushed and we get back to the brilliant writing of the first.
Here is to a guilty pleasure!