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Book Review: The Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

Crucible of Gold (Temeraire, #7)Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall the book was spot on. Good progression in the series, and good story.

There are a few issues I’ve been having lately with her books, though, and that’s her long drawn out main plot. The earlier books have a lot of action and a lot more story. The characters are complex and fun and you can connect with each of them. But with each progressing book, we lose the subplots, the action, and the connection to any of Novik’s characters. I was not devastated or surprised where I should have been. I was emotionless. I was utterly sad with her lack of focusing on the characters, especially the interaction between the dragons and the humans. Yes, she’s already established their personalities, but there was nothing to make them grow, or keep them intriguing like they used to be. Now, they are flat, uninteresting. I was definitely disappointed.

She also seems to drag on with connecting the dots for the overall arc of the series, rather than focusing a sub-plot for each book and touching on the overall arc. It’s more like I am reading one large book, with a very long pause in between sections. I will continue reading the series, though, just to find out what’s going to happen next. You know, kind of like a season finale on your favorite TV show…this just just like that. Unless, unless she cannot pull through for the series finale.

Another problem I found irritating in this book in particular, is her use of the colon. It is almost as if she uses it as a period rather than its proper use. Or maybe the editor mistook the period for the colon? I don’t know.

“A colon informs readers that something more is coming along. The words after a colon define or clarify what came before the colon.” (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/…)

But here’s an example:

“They dragged themselves slowly through the jungle, until Laurence dreamed one night of gulls crying, and work to hear their voices: when Temeraire went aloft there was a cloud of them wheeling and circling in the distance over the great mouth of the river where it met the open endless ocean blue: they had come to the shore of the Atlantic.”

Yes, that’s two colons in one sentence. I’ve never seen that before. Maybe it’s just me. But I’ve always been told the colon is used for lists, or joining a dependent clause with a dependent clause without the dash drama (you know, the long dramatic pause and then the reader expects some fantastical revelation. The colon omits the drama.) But, I don’t quite understand the usage throughout the whole book. Each use of the colon, I found, was a separate sentence in and of itself.

Not sure if anyone else would be bothered by this, but I sure was. It distracted me from my reading and my overall enjoyment of the book (along with the issues I mentioned before).

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