Genre: alternate history fantasy
Target audience: older YA and adults
An egg ready to be hatched is transported on a French man-of-war. The ship is taken by the British Navy and soon enough the sailors are having a lot of fun, watching a dragonet to emerge from its shell. However a newly-hatched dragon is a great responsibility – it must be named, tethered and harnessed immediately, right before its first feeding; if not it turns wild and there is more trouble than gain from it – it will hunt people and won’t obey anybody. Dragons, intelligent, sentient beings, can choose their handler at their will. The dragonet from the French frigate chooses captain William Lawrence and he names it Temeraire, after a famous dreadnought.Nothing will be the same again for those two. They are joined forever and they must face many life-changing experiences, learn to trust each other and undergo a training. So their adventure begins!
The book is really about the developing relationship between Temeraire, the Dragon won from the French in battle, and Captain Laurence. I admit that, at times the relationship seemed a little weird. Let me give it to you straight – there are the homoerotic undertones clearly present. Is the dragon Laurence’s lover? He is given gifts of jewelry, he had fits of jealousy, and does Laurence really call that 10-ton creature “my dear” time and again ? (pst pst – yes, he does). One time he even makes his beloved pet very excited indeed if you get my drift…it was an accident as Laurence didn’t know what he was doing but still…and you know what? It worked for me! These two had a very unusual dynamics – William does things like reading books to Temeraire, or giving him baths, that the other aviators just don’t do. And in his own, unassuming way, Laurence upsets the status quo. This isn’t, generally, a good idea if you happen to be in a military outfit—less so when it’s the nineteenth century.
What can be said: I understood. I love my pretty, pretty dragons and I know pets can be pretty jealous as I am the owner of a very jealous dog!
His Majesty’s Dragon is a fantastic combination of wit and humour with conflict and difficult decisions. It is also one of the best books featuring a dragon as a main character I’ve read so far. Paolini’s immature rendition of a draconian ‘plaything’ doesn’t even come close to this complex tale of love, loyalty and sacrifices. You may find some parts of the story hard going, but if you persist, it’s totally worth it. Personally I am in for another installment!!!Give me more dragons!!!