(I’ve written a review for the series as a whole here: https://allourworlds.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/series-temeraire/ )
League of Dragons makes a worthy end to the Temeraire series. It takes a lot of skill to bring the threads of nine books to a satisfying conclusion, and Novik pulls it off very well here.
The early books are still my favorites; I preferred the focus on interpersonal interactions and world travel to the battles and military strategy. (And the endless wandering through Australia.) But there’s a lot in League of Dragons that was worth the wait: meeting Temeraire and Iskierka’s dragonet, the return of math-loving Perscetia, and of course the long-awaited end to the Napoleonic wars.
This book focuses far more on political and military strategy than the previous ones, which though sometimes a little dry, only makes sense considering the situation. Laurence and Temeraire and their allies fight for dragon civil rights at the same time that they plan their campaign against Napoleon’s forces. There’s no other way to do it. In scenes reminiscent of Victory of Eagles, the dragons fighting for Britain rightly demand to be be paid, and to have a say in the governing of the country they defend.
The world of Temeraire doesn’t just include dragons and Englishmen, and there are global powers involved from far beyond Europe. And that’s one of my favorite things about the series: its global scale. The planet isn’t a playground for imperialists, and no nation can afford to dismiss another as insignificant. Temeraire and Laurence have traveled to Asia, to Africa, to South America. And now more than ever, all of those people and factions matter. There are the Turkish ferals, the long-respected Chinese dragons, the Tswana seeing vengeance and recompense from Portuguese slavers, the unconquered Incans, all taking sides in the war.
The question is, does Napoleon offer a better deal? He has built his cities to accommodate dragons, and now he offers them their own nations- far more than any European power has ever done.
Britain must wake to the knowledge that they can’t afford to subjugate dragons any longer.
At the end of all this, I’m left to wonder about the future of this complex, diverse alternate world. And that is the mark of a good story: a world that lives on after the last page.
(Copy received through Netgalley)