This book combines two of my least favorite aspects of the fantasy genre--unnecessary sequels and endless travelogues--into a vortex of boredom. I almost never give up 320 pages into a 400-page book, but I am already kicking myself for having read as far as I did and see no point to wasting any more of my life on it.
The first book is great fun, but this one did not need to exist. The characters who were great came back dull, the okay ones came back interchangeable, and there is absolutely nothing going on except a very slow voyage to China,* because the Chinese want Temeraire back, which of course we know isn't going to last because there are half a dozen more books featuring him and Laurence in places that aren't China.
Now it's no secret that I have little patience for series and even less for the episodic type, but good grief, if you're going to write that kind of series, at least bring in some complex new characters or interesting plots or something.
I propose a new rule for fantasy book writing: if more than a quarter of any sequel is spent traveling, it's because the author doesn't really have anything more to say in this world or with these characters, and is simply drawing it out for the sake of writing a sequel. The manuscript should be scrapped immediately.
*I assume that by the end of the book the characters did in fact reach their destination? Because 80% of the way through, I was still waiting for it.