Review: Empire of Ivory

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have come to the realization that what I enjoy in this series is similar to what I enjoy in Anne Leckie’s Imperial Radch series – I enjoy the formality of the systems that govern the main character’s lives. I wouldn’t want to live in such a rigid society, but I enjoy how the authors play with the difference in how we would respond to the situation vs these protagonists who are bound by their society and not as free as we are to choose their actions.

This book continues to show how the world would have been different had every region had dragons, and, therefore, not have any kind of military advantage. In the same way that China is in an elevated position compared to our world, we see here that Africa is eventually pushed to become differentiated from our world and we get confirmation that the Americas were not conquered due to the First Nations people having had dragons.

As for the plot of the book, it continues as others in the same series – it has a long setup and then a certain “Sanderlanche” quality to the plot (if I may borrow a term from those of us who like Sanderson’s Cosmere books). The British dragons have become sick and so our adventure this time is to find a cure. Along the way, as usual, Lawrence has to balance loyalty to king and country with morality and treating dragons as sentient beings. We end on quite the cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

As in other reviews I’ve written for long-running series – by this point you know whether or not Temeriaire is your thing or not. If it is, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If not, I don’t see why you should keep pushing yourself into a series you don’t enjoy.

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