Crucible of Gold - Naomi Novik This book was so much better than the last one! Things actually happened here. Major, catastrophic things! And lots of them. I was really shocked with one event and character death.

There was also character development. Huge development between Temeraire and Iskierka. And Granby, who I've always liked quite a bit. Hammond seems not to have changed a bit since book two, in which I utterly despised him. He's still the worthless sycophant he used to be previously, and I'd nearly forgotten. He's willing to sacrifice anyone at all to what he deems to be diplomatically necessary.

I still really enjoy Laurence. His evolution has been slower and more subtle, but he's changed greatly since the first book. Even if his sensibilities are still incredibly delicate, evidenced by his hiring a governess for Emily. He has much more of an independent sense of right and wrong, that he has learned from Temeraire.

Temeraire and Iskierka both have an odd way of thinking and speaking. I can't put my finger on it. I think it's that they both over-simplify all of their opinions, assuming almost everything they believe is perfectly obvious to everyone else. It could be their young age, or just the way dragons tend to think, in a slightly different manner than humans.

I see other developments still building up. I think Kulingile and Demane are going to be a problem, at some point. And I'm expecting some major conflict with Demane and Emily.

I definitely recommend this book. You can almost skip the previous one. This is more in the spirit of her older books.