A rousing third entry
I think the best thing about Naomi Novik's handling of this series is the way in which she avoids treating her characters like paper cut-outs to be plopped into a new situation for every book. Instead, each book has had a satisfyingly unique structure, so that it feels more like a continuous stretch of time since the beginning of the first book and not like a "this week, on Temeraire..." sort of set-up. The crew has departed China with orders to make a stop in Istanbul, and the plot here is not just a retread of the last two books with the setting changed to Turkey. It is building upon the longer story arc of the war with Napoleon's forces, and Novik never forgets that larger issue.
Temeraire does not just conveniently drop his goal of equal rights for dragons, either, and Laurence must deal with his feelings on the subject. In this way the characters continue to be dynamic rather than static, and you actually feel like you're reading about people who have real thoughts in their heads. I even kind of liked being annoyed with Temeraire at times, because it felt more honest that he might occasionally act like a brat, being a youngish dragon and little regard for status quo.
This third book also brings a return of the military aspect, with more battle scenes than we saw in "Throne of Jade," as more and more European countries fall before Bonaparte.