Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dragon Temeraire and his human captain Laurence find their friendship tested when the Chinese demand the dragon's return to his ancestral land.
Laurence, only just having become comfortable in the Aerial Corps, must face a new challenge to his ideas about duty when he is ordered to return Temeraire to China. As in the first book, he is offered bribes and threats to pry him away from his dragon's side. In China his eyes are opened to the deficiencies of England - where dragons are treated like horses in spite of their intelligence, and feared by the general population - and Laurence begins to wonder if it would be in Temeraire's best interest to accept his fate in China after all.
Temeraire likewise is tempted by the superior status he holds among the Chinese: he is treated as a member of the Imperial family instead of as a soldier. The seductive appeals to his vanity may succeed in driving a wedge between him and his beloved captain.
Novik continues to entertain with her ingenious and detailed world, and this is a worthy sequel that elaborates on themes from the first book. Fans of the warfare aspects of His Majesty's Dragon may be disappointed by the lack of air battles, but I found the cultural clashes equally fascinating.
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