Customer Reviews for

Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire Series #6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Based on My Early Review Copy--Thumbs up.

TONGUES OF SERPENTS is my least favorite book in Novik's series thus far--but the first five set a very high bar--this book is still on its own merits among the most enjoyable reads I've had in a long time.

After this novel set in Australia, the only continents left ...
TONGUES OF SERPENTS is my least favorite book in Novik's series thus far--but the first five set a very high bar--this book is still on its own merits among the most enjoyable reads I've had in a long time.

After this novel set in Australia, the only continents left to visit will be the Americas and Antarctica. That has been one of the series' charms--visiting different societies from China to Africa and seeing their different relations with dragons.

For Novik's dragons aren't like those of other works of fantasy I've read. They're not beasts; they're nothing akin to pets. They're people. Temeraire himself displays an intellect that at times over-matches that of his human partner. The dragons in this series and book have personalities and characters that move the action along as much as any human. Because of dragon sentience and the setting at the dawn of the British Empire, issues of freedom, rights and autonomy are particularly important in this series, from the rights of dragons to the status of women and slaves.

With Temeraire and Laurence cut off in Australia both have far less scope for involvement in the world's affairs though. The previous books were more involving to me because more was at stake right from the beginning. The wider world, or even Australia's aborigines, doesn't impinge much on this book until the last few chapters--about half the book is taken up with a trek into the Outback I was at times impatient to see end.

So no, I didn't love this one quite as much as the other Temeraire books: Not as moving as HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON or as engrossing as THRONE OF JADE or as thrilling an adventure as BLACK POWDER WAR or with the high emotional stakes and action-filled events of EMPIRE OF IVORY or VICTORY OF EAGLES.

Despite all that, I thoroughly enjoyed the TONGUE OF SERPENTS and more than anything that's due to Laurence and Temeraire. As in the last novel, in this one Temeraire gets to share the point of view with Laurence (who had been the sole point of view in the first four books). Temeraire is like a precocious child that asks the embarrassing questions and who has a disconcerting ability to think outside proscribed lines and his point of view is always engaging. Laurence has changed quite a bit in the course of the books because of Temeraire and their mutual affection and devotion is still endearing and I love Laurence's character arc in this book. At one point in this book Laurence reflects that Temeraire's "habits of free-thinking" are supposed by the other aviators to be due to Laurence's influence--when it is quite the reverse. The Laurence/Temeraire relationship is a lot of what makes these novels such addicting reads. I'll certainly be eager to follow them through their seventh book--even if they wind up in Antarctica.

posted by Lisa_RR_H on May 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A Dud - A Boring Book in a Great Series

I have been an avid reader of the other Temeraire books, but this one did not live up to its expectations. It was downright dull. There are very few episodes worthy of note, and almost no actual battles - and even they were short and timid compared to those in the other...
I have been an avid reader of the other Temeraire books, but this one did not live up to its expectations. It was downright dull. There are very few episodes worthy of note, and almost no actual battles - and even they were short and timid compared to those in the other books of the series. Temeraire rarely says anything of amusing, most of the old set of characters is gone and replaced by superficial new ones, and the author seems to have thrown over the good plot line of French v. English for wandering aimlessly around Australia.

After the first 60 pages spent on a dull political struggle about who is in charge of Sydney, the next 120 or so were spent wandering around in the vacant Australian terrain. I restorted to skimming the last 100 pages.

After the amazing tales in the Victory of Eagles and its predecessors, this book is a marked exception.

posted by 1369646 on July 18, 2010

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Based on My Early Review Copy--Thumbs up.

    TONGUES OF SERPENTS is my least favorite book in Novik's series thus far--but the first five set a very high bar--this book is still on its own merits among the most enjoyable reads I've had in a long time.

    After this novel set in Australia, the only continents left to visit will be the Americas and Antarctica. That has been one of the series' charms--visiting different societies from China to Africa and seeing their different relations with dragons.

    For Novik's dragons aren't like those of other works of fantasy I've read. They're not beasts; they're nothing akin to pets. They're people. Temeraire himself displays an intellect that at times over-matches that of his human partner. The dragons in this series and book have personalities and characters that move the action along as much as any human. Because of dragon sentience and the setting at the dawn of the British Empire, issues of freedom, rights and autonomy are particularly important in this series, from the rights of dragons to the status of women and slaves.

    With Temeraire and Laurence cut off in Australia both have far less scope for involvement in the world's affairs though. The previous books were more involving to me because more was at stake right from the beginning. The wider world, or even Australia's aborigines, doesn't impinge much on this book until the last few chapters--about half the book is taken up with a trek into the Outback I was at times impatient to see end.

    So no, I didn't love this one quite as much as the other Temeraire books: Not as moving as HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON or as engrossing as THRONE OF JADE or as thrilling an adventure as BLACK POWDER WAR or with the high emotional stakes and action-filled events of EMPIRE OF IVORY or VICTORY OF EAGLES.

    Despite all that, I thoroughly enjoyed the TONGUE OF SERPENTS and more than anything that's due to Laurence and Temeraire. As in the last novel, in this one Temeraire gets to share the point of view with Laurence (who had been the sole point of view in the first four books). Temeraire is like a precocious child that asks the embarrassing questions and who has a disconcerting ability to think outside proscribed lines and his point of view is always engaging. Laurence has changed quite a bit in the course of the books because of Temeraire and their mutual affection and devotion is still endearing and I love Laurence's character arc in this book. At one point in this book Laurence reflects that Temeraire's "habits of free-thinking" are supposed by the other aviators to be due to Laurence's influence--when it is quite the reverse. The Laurence/Temeraire relationship is a lot of what makes these novels such addicting reads. I'll certainly be eager to follow them through their seventh book--even if they wind up in Antarctica.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The sixth Laurence-Temeraire thriller is much darker and less passionate than previous entries (

    Considered traitors for saving French dragons from a deadly plague while his country is at war with France, English Captain Will Laurence and his Chinese-British dragon Temeraire are exiled to New South Wales. However, he never anticipated being embroiled in a local dispute over who should rule the colony.

    The former royal governor wants back in control, while insurgents want to control the government. Both sides try to persuade Laurence and his dragon allies to support them. When a dragon egg is stolen, Laurence and Temeraire lead a quest to recover the egg; a dangerous trek over the Blue Mountains

    The sixth Laurence-Temeraire thriller is much darker and less passionate than previous entries (see Victory of Eagles, His Majesty's Dragon, Throne Of Jade, Black Powder War and Empire Of Ivory). The heroic pair works a grim landscape, but never gets close to the Aborigines; a missed opportunity to see how the natives and the dragon interact. Having Bligh of the Bounty fame adds a solid twist and Temeraire's draconian outlook adds a fabulous perspective so that fans of the saga will enjoy the exile to Australia where in spite of their good intentions the dragon and his human get involved with a nasty dispute.

    Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

    A Dud - A Boring Book in a Great Series

    I have been an avid reader of the other Temeraire books, but this one did not live up to its expectations. It was downright dull. There are very few episodes worthy of note, and almost no actual battles - and even they were short and timid compared to those in the other books of the series. Temeraire rarely says anything of amusing, most of the old set of characters is gone and replaced by superficial new ones, and the author seems to have thrown over the good plot line of French v. English for wandering aimlessly around Australia.

    After the first 60 pages spent on a dull political struggle about who is in charge of Sydney, the next 120 or so were spent wandering around in the vacant Australian terrain. I restorted to skimming the last 100 pages.

    After the amazing tales in the Victory of Eagles and its predecessors, this book is a marked exception.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2010

    Highly Disappointing!

    i have now read all 6 in this series since Fathers Day weekend (when His Majesty's Dragon was the book for Free Friday).
    the other 5 books were either great, or very good.
    this one SUCKED!!! i was nearly so bored and disgusted with this that i almost stopped reading it altogether...

    SPOILERS:
    ok, so Laurence and Temeraire get sent to "New South Wales" (soon to be Australia). the highly annoying Dragon, Iskeria, decides to come along.
    the main plot seems to be the 3 dragon eggs that they are suppose to start a new Covert with down there. unfortunatly, Rankin is re-introduced, as are a few new characters you don't even get to know, including Cpt Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty fame).
    one egg hatches, Cpt Riley gets that dragonet, and he's still a jerk (but not to the dragon, oddly enough). but the dragon is just as annoying and pompous as Iskeria... why Temeraire doesn't just slap the taste out of their mouths throughout the story, i have no idea.
    then, 1 of the eggs is stolen while they're out searching for a pass through the mountains! they spend damn near the rest of the freaking book talking about the stupid color of the rocks, the brush, the streams, the water, the.... you get the idea. nearly 150+ pages of NOTHINGNESS!!! it is 280 pages long, and on page 240, SOMETHING worthwhile finally happens!!! then it's over almost immediately, and it wasn't that compelling anyway.
    really, did i need to know about every nook and cranny wherever they landed in the outback? no, i didn't. complete waste of time about every time they were trying to find the trail of the theives. did we need to have our time wasted with these lizard like "binyips" or whatever they were called, too?
    the writing style seemed to change again. first books were all from Laurence's point of view, then one (or two) from Temeraire's. this one, seemed written from an outsiders view...
    the ending, just doesn't make any sense at all. sure, it leaves you hanging, like "what will they do next?" and that's after you feel that Laurence and Tem are about to "break up"... and why didn't Tem beat the stuffing out of Iskeria for taking him down in the Ocean?
    just a very frustrating and disappointing book compared to the first 5, WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
    so many little sub-sub-plots that don't matter to the overall story and only seem to be there to take up space (or for the next book to take shape), just like the too descriptive story-telling about every color of rock and tree that doesn't matter. it went on and on and on, and nobody cares!!!
    this book could have been 75-100 pages total, written in the same style as the first 5, and been a very good book.
    if there's a 7th in the series, i sincerely hope the "test readers" have the nuts to give better feedback than what they did on this one. they should be fired to have allowed the author to continue with this little, and undramatic, substance to be put together and called a book.

    sorry, but I'm not happy at all with this one, and loved the other 5, could wait to read the 6th... took my "nook" with me on family vacation just so i could read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    Hmmm Tongues of Serpents

    So far, a bit disappointing...I wondered if it has been authored by someone other than Naomi Novik. I am having some difficulty getting interested in it. The plot seems disjointed, and is lacking in the action found in her previous books, which
    I devoured.
    I was fairly excited about the sixth book, having felt, after reading the first five, that I was bidding adieu to a group of friends. Wow...a sixth book is coming out!
    And here I am, barely able to keep reading it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Horrible read

    Boring

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Excellent for the Temeraire Fan

    A fascinating look at a part of the world that doesn't get much treatment in history or fiction of the Napoleonic era. The action is compelling and immersive, and puts the characters to whom you've grown attached into terribly difficult circumstances that Divine Wind can't get them out of.

    Novik doesn't waste a lot of text on backstory, which I count as a plus, but that wouldn't make this the best choice for someone new to the series.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Waiting for next installment: by Karen

    Overall i did not enjoy this as much as the previous five books, but still a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    Ok

    I do the like the characters and development within the stories. Naomi Novik is an great writer. The story lines in this book went farther afield with less coherence then I was used to in the 1st books of the Temeraire Series. However, I still enjoyed it. I look forward to the follow up

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Story is severely lacking

    This story reads like it's all just a setup for the next book because almost nothing significant happens. There is almost no change from the beginning of the book from the end. The writing and characters are great as usual but it's not worth the price for the story. They should only charge half price for this book.
    If you love the series you'll probably need to read this to not miss out on anything (for the next book), but you won't be missing much.

    I really love the series, the characters, and Naomi's writing, which really makes this one disappointing. You can easily turn at least two of the other books into full length movies. This one would be a 30 minute tv show.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    Pretty good

    Pretty good, but not as good as the others

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  • Posted May 11, 2011

    Continuing the Temeraire series

    This was not one of her better books. It was very slow with very little action. Seriously, I was thinking "I'm on page 150 and all that happened was they lost an egg" But still part of the story. I am sure it will get better with the next book.

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    Give it some time and it is a great one!

    This book starts out in bleak circumstances with a bleak environment. I used my faith in Novik to help me persist as Lawrence and Temeraire cross the Australian continent. Rest assured that the book is going somewhere and that the ending is exciting as well as strong in building the story of Temeriare.
    I must add that Novik has created a very memorable character with Temeraire, who is able to make comments about the world through fresh eyes and a true heart.
    It is a strong book for a book club discussion in that it portrays the dominance of the British Empire in a new light and opens up room for discussion concerning any country trying to maintain worldwide dominance.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Good Read for fans of the series

    This has become my favorite new fantasy series since Harry Potter. That being said this was by far my least favorite of the six books. While I think that by the end it added some interesting elements to the overall story I found that middle of this book drug to the point where it took me longer to read this single novel than the first five novels combined. Going in with low expectations might improve your outlook on this novel.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    Highly Recommended, plot maturing, very very good book

    All of the characters in the book are maturing and leaving behind the old king and country right or wrong. They are looking at their experiences and figuring out their own way based on what they observe. I can't wait for the next installment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    I WANT MORE TEMIRAIRE!!!!!

    I absolutely LOVE this series. What a great concept, and a brilliant job of combining Historical Fact with Fantasy. One of the best series I've ever read!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not as good as the other 5 books

    Having been told by a friend who got the first book for free on Amazon for her kindle, I decided to look into the series and bought the first three books in one and was so involved after only reading a few chapters in the first book that I purchased the other two in the same day and LOVED these books and anticipated the 6th book to be just as engrossing..well I was wrong it took me over a week to read this book ;-( It did not hold my attention like the first 5 did, but I did finish it , It wasn't till nearly the last few chapters that it got sort of involved. I guess every writer gets to a point where they sort of run out of ideas as to how to keep the book hold one's attention but I can say that this series is a good one and perhaps Ms. Novik will do better in her future books ! But I will look forward to the next books hoping that they will be as good as the first 5. The only thing this book did was have a lot about Rankin (whom I disliked very much) and about their journey across the desert... a whole book about crossing the desert, not as exciting as her prior book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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