Empire of Ivory - new Naomi Novik book

I'm signed up on exactly three writers' mailing lists. I was so excited when I got the email a couple weeks back announcing the new installment in the Tremeraire series by Naomi Novik that I told my co-workers and then spent an inordinate amount of time explaining what the Napoleonic Wars were and why dragons made an interesting addition.

Yesterday I went to my local B&N and snatched the last copy of Empire of Ivory off the shelf.

This series combines the martial spirit and moral ambiguity of Patrick O'Brian with the workmanlike prose and the dragons of Anne McCaffrey, with an alternate-history Harry Turtledove twist.

I read them mostly to enjoy the strange historical twist -- Napoleon trying to invade England with dragon-borne infantry? I also really enjoy the contrast (and the nod) to Patrick O'Brian. Here's the downside: because Novik isn't quite as dextrous a writer as O'Brian, her "nothing's happening" passages are much more tedious than his. Her action passages are less exciting. Finally, her evocation of the world of the dragons and dragonriders is not as detailed or self-referential as O'Brian's age-of-sail jargon.

Ultimately, Novik's books are far easier reads. They're also less compulsively re-readable. I don't think they are bad, not by any stretch of the imagination. I recommend them -- and to those who thrill to Novik's adventures, I highly recommend Patrick O'Brian.