There were few streets in the main port of Sydney which deserved the name, besides the one main thoroughfare, and even that bare packed dirt, lined only with a handful of small and wretched buildings that formed all the permanence of the colony.
Okay, so because it follows on from plot points in the other books I can’t really tell you exactly why William Laurence and Temeraire are off to Australia, you’ll just have to read and find out. But in Australia they are. And one event leads to another and soon they find themselves in the outback, encountering bunyips and god knows what. The problem is that there is no central plot to hang their adventure on. It is just a journey across the outback, with a couple of dragons thrown in. And, well, it is a tad boring in places. Which is a huge disapointment as I’ve really enjoyed all the other books in this series. Okay, so the first more than any of the others, but they were all good fun.
I’m guessing that quite a lot of that has to do with the fact that Novik probably hadn’t expected to write quite so many books in this series, and so her world-building, while excellent in regard to Europe, didn’t really cover the other continents, and so she is forced to make it up somewhat as she goes along. Now I know that sounds a bit odd, I mean, any author is making up the story if they write fiction, but it doesn’t seem to make quite as much internal sense as it could have, with more planning. I mean, if dragons are changing Napoleonic history surely their presence would have had other influences before this period?
Also, I didn’t really enjoy any of the characters. Iskierka has always been irritating, I had hoped she’d grow up a little at some stage, but no. And the human characters aren’t much better.
All in all, I’m glad I picked this up at the library rather than bought it.