Review: Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik (UK edition)

Title: Empire of Ivory (Temeraire 4)
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Alternative History, Fantasy, War Novel
Publisher: Harper Voyager (3rd March 2008)

Soar on the wings of adventure

After a year of adventuring from China to the Ottoman Empire and across Europe, Laurence and Temeraire finally land upon the familiar shores of Britain.

But instead of enjoying a jubilant homecoming, they are hushed and herded to a camp far from their usual covert. Laurence soon discovers that during their time in the east, a virulent epidemic swept through the Aerial Corps, and the British have lost many of their dragons. Entire formations have succumbed to the disease, and now only the appearance of an aerial defence keeps Bonaparte from invading.

Laurence and Temeraire are ordered to prepare for another long journey; this time to save the lives of their friends and British autonomy, but to do so they must venture into the most mysterious of places: Africa.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

EMPIRE OF IVORY by Naomi Novik is the fourth book in her brilliant Temeraire series. The novel continues the story of Captain Will Laurence and his dragon Termeraire after the events of the previous book, BLACK POWDER WAR, and continues their story as they land in Britain to discover what has been happening back home. It is not good news; a virulent epidemic has swept through the Aerial Corps, and Laurence and Temeraire find themselves ordered to Africa in search of a possible cure.

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Review: Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

Title: Black Powder War (Temeraire 3)
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Alternative History, Fantasy, War Novel
Publisher: Harper Voyager (6th August 2007)

Before Captain William Laurence can prepare his crew for the slow voyage home from China, new orders arrive for him and his dragon, Temeraire. They must fly home immediately, stopping only in Istanbul to collect three priceless dragon eggs, purchased from the Ottoman Empire.

But the cross-continental journey is fraught with danger; not only will they have to survive the perilous terrain but Lein, consumed by vengeance, has absconded from China. Holding Temeraire responsible for the death of her princely companion, her only desire is to destroy everything and everyone he loves.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

BLACK POWDER WAR is the third book in the magical Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. The book continues the story of the dragon Temeraire and his companion Captain Will Laurence of the Royal Aerial Corps. This book takes place not long after the events of the second book in the series. When we last left Temeraire and Laurence they were in China, this book sees them prepare to return home only to be commanded to collect three dragons eggs, purchased by the British from the Ottoman Empire, from Istanbul; a dangerous journey across the continents, a dangerous journey even without Europe on the brink of war.

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Review: Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Title: Throne of Jade (Temeraire, 2)
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre:  Alternative History, Fantasy
Publisher:  HarperVoyager (20 February 2009)

Captain William Laurence, formerly of His Majesty’s Navy, has had only a few months to adjust to his new life as the captain of a fighting dragon, but now he can’t imagine a life outside the British Aerial Corps and Temeraire.

But now the Chinese have demanded the return of their Celestial dragon, and the British government cannot afford to refuse them, even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal. Laurence and Temeraire must journey to Chine, knowing that once they arrive in the exotic east, they could be seperated forever.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

THRONE OF JADE by Naomi Novik is the second book in her fantastic Temeraire series. The book continues the stories of Captain Will Laurence and the dragon Temeraire. Having settled into life with the British Aerial Corps, Captain Laurence and Temeraire’s lives are disrupted when the Chinese demand the return of their Celestial dragon. As the British government cannot afford to refuse them Temeraire and Captain Laurence are forced to journey to China to find out what future awaits them.

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Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (UK cover)

Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: War Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: Electric Monkey (3rd June 2013)


I can write again. Oh God! All those months of not being able to write! Of not being allowed to write. Knowing I’d be shot if I were caught. It seems like I have been a prisoner for so long.

Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels vividly alive while flying, she is forced to confront the hidden atrocities of war – and the most fearsome.

An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling Carnegie Award shortlisted Code Name Verity.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

ROSE UNDER FIRE is the companion novel to the fantastic CODE NAME VERITY (review). It tells the story of eighteen-year-old Rose Justice an American pilot and member of the Air Transport Auxiliary – or ATA. She has only recently arrived in Britain and is horrified by the devastation she finds and the reality of war.

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Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Title: Something Like Normal
Author:Trish Doller
Genre: Contemporary, War, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Teens (26th October 2012)

I just came home from Afghanistan.

My parents are splitting up.

My brother has stolen my girlfriend.

(He also stole my car).

And I’m haunted by the ghost of my best friend.

Then I run into Harper.

(Technically, her fist runs into my face).

She’s beautiful, smart, funny . . .

. . . and wants nothing to with the messed-up Marine who ruined her life.

Sometimes the best thing you can hope for is something like normal.

Sometimes what you get might be even better.

Rating: *****(5 stars)

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, ever since I saw the blurb in a Waiting on Wednesday post. There were a couple of reasons I wanted to get my hands on Something Like Normal. The first was that I thought that the blurb sounded interesting, and the second one was because of the topic. War isn’t an easy or a nice subject, but it’s something I wish was covered more in literature – both Adult and Young Adult.

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Review: Temeraire by Naomi Novik

Temeraire #1

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

Title: Temeraire (Temeraire #1)
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre:  Alternative History, Fantasy
Publisher:  HarperVoyager (16th June 2011)

Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old. Rising on merit to captain his own vessel, Laurence has earned himself a beautiful fiancée, society’s esteem and a golden future. But the war is not going well. It seems Britain can only wait as Napoleon plans to invade.

After a skirmish with a French ship, Laurence finds himself in charge of a rare cargo: a dragon egg bound for the Emperor himself. Dragons are much prized: properly trained, they can mount a fearsome attack from the skies. One of Laurence’s men must take the beast in hand and join the aviators’ cause, thus relinquishing all hope of a normal life.

But when the newly-hatched dragon decides to imprint itself on Laurence, the horrified captain’s world falls apart.  Gone is his golden future: gone his social standing, and soon his beautiful fiancee, as he is consigned to be the constant companion and trainer of the fighting dragon Temeraire . . .

Rating: *****
(5 stars)

Temeraire is the first book in Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series. The series is an alternative history for adult readers of the Napoleonic wars, that features dragons. Some have therefore considered it a steampunk series, but I think it is actually an alternative history series as  the only change is the inclusion of dragons.

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Review: Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre:  War Novel, Young Adult
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion (15th May 2012)
Source: Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley
Format: e-book ARC

Oct. 11th, 1943–A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

Rating: *****
(5 stars)

Code Name Verity is a story about two best friends set in the middle of World War II. Both girls are involved in the Allied war effort.

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Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lithuuanian WW2 novel

Between Shade of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, UK edition cover.

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Ruta Sepetys
Young Adult (YA), Romance, War
Publication Date:
7th April 2011

That morning, my brother’s life was worth a pocket watch . . .

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.

An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.

Lina hopes for her family.
For her country.
For her future.
For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to loose . . .
Will hope keep Lina alive?

Rating: ****
(4 stars)

Below the blurb in my edition of the book is the following section of text:

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

This is not the first fictional war story I have read, nor is it the first one based on a “true” account – for my A-Level (or was it AS?) English Literature I was obliged to devour several books and poems about World War II – nor is it even the first YA book with this theme I have read. What is new for me is the subject matter. This book is about the travesties that Russia under Stalin’s rule committed, particularly to the Baltic states – though the Lina and her family originate from Lithuania. It was an eye-opening read, as I honestly had no idea what happened in those states between 1941 and 1991 (it may have started earlier, I don’t know).

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