See, this is why Tycho has his big honking website, minions, and probably volcano lair, and I don’t*:
I spent the entire return trip from St. Louis – floor to ceiling, beginning to end – reading a book called His Majesty’s Dragon. That shouldn’t be a good book, His Majesty’s Dragon. It should be a flimsy, invertebrate creature, ill-bred and scrabbling. It is (in truth) a pitch-perfect tale of empire, where His Majesty’s Aerial Corps protects England on the backs of dragons. Again: this should not be good. The book I just described could go wrong in so many ways. I would have written this book very badly. Naomi Novik did not, and the world is the better for it.
…he has a knack for summing up stuff like this. His Majesty’s Dragon could have been horrifically bad; and the way that they marketed it (they released at least the first two books in the series simultaneously) was not exactly reassuring. But the series has been saved by both a knowledge of the time period and its sensibilities, as well as a willingness to portray such sensibilities both accurately and sympathetically. The combination can be a bit rare occurrence in historical fiction.
so… yeah. What Tycho said.
*Which is fine. Oh, I wouldn’t say no to a volcano lair, if I got offered one; but they don’t offer them through Amaz… huh. I didn’t actually check.
Nope, although ‘supervillain lair’ pulled in some odd stuff.