I really enjoyed this book, but I do think that in some ways it’s a bit weaker. It feels more like the middle episode of a long series than a complete story the way the first two books were. Still, it’s a ripping yarn. It starts out with our heroes fleeing back to England ferrying some evacuated Prussian soldiers, and then going on a long sea-journey to find the cure for the disease that’s hurting their friends. The politics loosely touches on the atmosphere that would lead to the Boer war, while hinting also at England’s foothold in India. I felt that the “find the cure” plot works a lot better in books than in real life, and kind of belies the difficulty of years of research that real life requires to cure diseases, so I can’t really say I relished the plot. I guess it made for a time-sensitive adventure, but it also seemed a little too pat. Then again, it’s a book about dragons, so maybe I shouldn’t be so picky.
Still, I really enjoyed Novik’s different take on how varying cultures dealt with the human/dragon interactions. Also, it’s an exciting story with a lot of tense moments and a shocking twist at the end.