I just finished re-reading the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, a.k.a., this is your Napoleonic Wars on dragons. The series is part Patrick O'Brian, part Jane Austen, part Anne McCaffrey, and entirely a good time. Beginning with His Majesty’s Dragon, the series spans nine books, seven seas, and six continents. Despite its size, the series is a quick, breezy read which I can not recommend highly enough.
Reasons to read:
- Will Laurence. This sea captain turned aviator is very much a gentleman of his age, with all that entails. His main character arc consists of confronting his unconscious biases and privileges and learning to become a better man.
- Temeraire. This giant, flying math-nerd can sink a ship with a single roar. He loves Laurence and shiny things and is here for the dragon revolution.
- Kick-ass lady characters and, equally important, well-rounded female characters who don’t swing a sword but are none-the-less awesome in their own right.
- Dragons. They have human-level intelligence, but with a distinctly in-human flair. Half of the humor of the series comes from the dragon’s inability to grasp certain human concepts like modesty and the art of whispering.
- The portrayal of characters of color and non-European powers. Colonialism gets its ass kicked.
- Gay people.
- Tight, well written action and fight sequences.
Reasons not to read:
- You don’t like dragons
- You hate fun