More backlog catchup, this time the most recent two books in Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, Crucible of Gold and Blood of Tyrants.
I have to confess that I was reading the second of these, Blood of Tyrants, and had literally no recollection of the existence of Crucible of Gold as I started—I kept thinking they’d just left Australia (which would be Tongues of Serpents, the one before). As I read, though, there were enough references to Crucible that it came back to me: “oh, right, they went to South America and things happened.” Once I remembered them, they were perfectly pleasant things and made sense and advanced the plot and themes, but my initial failure to remember their existence suggests that, perhaps, it was not the most striking of books.
Blood of Tyrants covers a lot of ground, literally and figuratively, but moves quickly and fully sets the stage for the next and last book in the series, which I am very eager for. It also ends on rather a cliffhanger, so at this point you might as well wait for next year sometime when that comes out. Otherwise, I’m a little dubious about it giving Laurence amnesia for a good chunk of the book, but it’s the kind of thing that I would want to have a fresher big-picture view of the series to decide.
(Which I expect to have, as I am tentatively slated to re-read the series for Tor.com in the leadup to the last book’s release. Expect reports of research reading on the Napoleonic Wars here as preparation . . . )