There were Dragons and (almost) Pirates! The Voyage of the Basilisk, Marie Brennan Book Review

Yes we’re back with what has swiftly become one of my favourite series to read of all time. The more I read of these books the more I become totally besotted. We’ve only got two left in the series before it’s all over and I may shed a tear!

Previous reviews:

A Natural History of Dragons

The Tropic of Serpents

Goodreads Summary:

Devoted readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed—until now. Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril. Accompanying her is not only her young son, Jake, but a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal.

Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.

I’m not going to repeat myself again, I love this main character, I adore this setting, I want to be Lady Trent’s best friend, this (if you’ve read my other reviews) should be clear. But what makes this book different and (potentially) better?

It was at sea! We got to do Dragon chasing AT SEA. In case you’re not following that is about 1% away from being a book about Dragons and Pirates which is the most exciting combination I can think of.

Another amazing addition to this book is the inclusion of Lady Trent’s son Jacob. This was a welcome addition to the ‘cast’ of this story and I think it was a good way of developing our protagonist’s character beyond just ‘struggles with work and motherhood’ and more into ‘actually developing a bond with my son’.

There is also the inkling of a romance plot which could either be fabulous and heartwarming or really awkward but at this point there is still hope (two books left). Also there is archaeology which warms the cockles of my heart since that’s what I studied at university. So this book is not only uniting my passions for seafaring adventures and dragons but also archaeology. Oh Marie Brennan, I could kiss you (but I won’t).

There is a bit where the plot gets into gender in a strange way that I’m not really sure how to address. It all got a bit tied into different belief systems so it’s hard to pick apart whether Brennan was trying to show a bit more of a gender spectrum or if it was more about different cultures? It didn’t detract too much from the main elements of the plot and I think it was mostly there to facilitate particular plot events which otherwise might have felt a little gratuitous.

As ever, these Dragons are so amazing and with every book I read this world just opens up and sucks me in even further. I cannot fully explain how excited I am to read the last couple of books in this series!

My rating: Duh, it’s 5/5 stars for all of eternity.

Also a dragon lover? Excite with me in the comments or on twitter (@judithcmoore). I look forward to hearing from you.



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