Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I finished two more over the long holiday weekend (MLK day -- no school!!). Fifteen was Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik, book 4 in her Temeraire series. This is really alternate history, set in the early 1800's during England's battle with Napoleon. There are historical figures, such as Napoleon and Lord Nelson, but the big change is that their air force is dragons -- huge dragons that carry teams of fighting men. This book focuses on Africa, because a epidemic is killing off England's dragons and Laurence and Temeraire his dragon are on the scent of the cure. Each book so far has focused on the attitudes of different countries toward the dragons in their midst. Africa considers them their ancestors reborn, and reveres their council and wisdom. This book also shows the battle against slavery that was taking place in England and their colonies. The language and customs are very stilted and "British stiff upper lip" but is very true to the actual way they spoke and acted.
Sixteen was a complete opposite in attitude -- Kathryn Miller Haines' The War Against Miss Winter. Set in 1943 in New York, the war permeates every page, from Rosie's Navy boyfriend to the reminder on every street corner to save paper, gas, butter, rubber, etc. Rosie Winter is an aspiring actress and secretary to a real "gumshoe". The language is so "Maltese Falcon-ish" that I expected Humphrey Bogart to stroll into the room any moment. It distracted me at first, but by the end, I was rolling with it.

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