Review – The Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #2), Marie Brennan

More dragons please. A thunder of dragons and then another thunder of dragons and then at least ten more dragons.

If you want to, you can read my review of the first book in this series here (but no obligation).

Goodreads Summary:

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

If I were to sum this up, it would be that it is a counterpart to the first novel. Where Lady Trent first had to deal with the cold, now she conquers the heat.

All the things I loved about the first book I also loved in this one. Again Brennan manages to capture the voice of this intrepid adventurer perfectly. But what is added to this book that makes it worth reading, beyond the brand new story?

Well there’s the way Lady Trent has to cope with the fallout of events in the first book. I thought that this book managed to capture her emotions while still remaining interesting of it’s own accord. If you can’t manage to get hold of the first book, but for some reason you have the second, you could probably read it without wondering too much about what’s going on.

There is also a lot more politics in this book. Quite deliberately, I believe. In the same way that the first book was a woman carving out a small space in the male dominated world of natural history, this book continues carving that niche and adds the element of the male dominated political world. This is not to say that Isabella becomes a boring political figure, dragons are still her main passion, but there are diplomatic elements to this story which are tied in well and don’t become overly dreary.

But dragons are still the lynchpin in these books and as our protagonist learns more about these creatures so do we, the readers. As ever these descriptions, though they are disguised as scientific observations, are the height of amazing fantasy writing. My dragon obsession is akin to that of Lady Trent and so her enthusiasm for these creatures is infectious and I’ve definitely caught the bug.

One thing I don’t think I mentioned in my first review is that the illustrations which come every so often are beautiful. I’m looking into saving up to get some dragon prints for when the fiancé and I have our own place next year. Dragon themed decor is always in vogue…right?

So should you read this book? Um…yes! You should read the first book too! And I should be able to let you know about book three soon (it’s on order from the library so watch this space!) in the meantime may your days be filled with dragons (and if you live in a cottage with a thatched roof I hope those dragons are well trained!

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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