Novik, Naomi: (05) Victory of Eagles

In Naomi Novik’s Victory of Eagles, the fifth Temeraire book, Napoleon has finally invaded England. While I was thrilled with the wider view of the world that Empire of Ivory provided, and was initially unenthused about a return to a tight focus on the Napoleonic Wars, I was won over pretty quickly.

First, there’s the characterization: this book adds Temeraire’s point-of-view, and it’s a pleasure to see his growth—and, of course, Laurence’s after the end of the last book. Second, there’s the improved pacing: Napoleon lands at the end of the first chapter, and it seems to me that the rest of the book also moves at a brisk clip. This is particularly welcome since much of the book is not exactly cheerful, as would be expected from the subject matter.

My only quibble is that there’s one character that I don’t have a good handle on, whose importance is out of proportion to the amount of page time, and so ends up feeling a little more . . . convenient, I guess . . . than is ideal. Perhaps I should re-read the relevant bits of the series to see if that helps. Other than that small matter, though, I found this quite a satisfying and enjoyable book.

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  1. The character you’re referring to: Tharkay? Who seems to show up & disappear and it’s clear there’s a lot more to him to learn and yet it keeps getting pushed back and pushed back. I find this quite frustrating, really.
    And I agree: I enjoyed the book a great deal. Plus, Laurence got to have New Extra Angst! Always useful, really.

  2. Yup, Tharkay; glad it’s not just that _Black Powder War_ is my least favorite book and I don’t remember it very well.
    I can see that he would be a very difficult character to convey through the limitations of Laurence’s (and now Temeraire’s) POV, but still, it’s unfortunate.
    And yes, Angst, but useful Angst! We like that!

  3. Huh, and here I thought you were talking about Woolvey, whose role was set up in the previous books, but seemed to have an emotional impact way out of proportion to his page time.
    I agree that Tharkay is rather convenient, but I assumed he was just an ordinary Mysteriously Competent Guy Who Shows Up Whenever Needed. And we may well learn his story in the next volume.
    Unfortunately, it looks like the next book won’t have any POV characters involved in the bit I’m most interested in seeing develop.
    Um, should we have a spoiler post to continue discussing this book?

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