It's easy to see why that can happen - if only because the language of the period (the time of the Napoleonic Wars) is formal and seems quite stilted when you read it for a long while. Obviously, that's also part of the appeal. If only I could have been born in these times, when insulting someone involved long, drawn-out paragraphs said ever-so-politely, with which you had to tease the insult out of the words. It seems like an amazing thing to learn how to do (and it would slow us down a whole bunch if we did it today, which is a good thing).
In this volume, we move away from the dreaded French to the unfathomable Chinese. There's a deep mystery at the core of the book - which when revealed is not as mysterious as it seemed at first - and along the way we enjoy an extended sea journey with huge storms, sea serpents, other dragons, pretty much everything you can think of. I do, however, hope that we are not subjected to a sea journey on the return because there's only so much I want to read about a man and his dragon sailing halfway around the world.
I did actually get tetchy with Temeraire this time around! Although all his actions are explainable, I was pretty damn sure I wanted a dragon at the end of the first book. Now I'm very much less sure.