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Review: The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan


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.

My thoughts

Lady Trent goes on her third adventure in The Voyage of the Basilisk and just like the first two books, this one impresses with a great cast of characters and an engaging plot, including, of course, the study of dragons, like you won’t read about in any other book.

I’ve been a huge fan of Isabella Trent from the very beginning. Not letting expectations of her as a woman getting in the way of what she really wants, being all “I’m going to study dragons and don’t care if it’s a man’s profession. Watch me, I’ll even wear man’s trousers while doing so!”, she is a character to root for. I love that even three books into the series, Isabella defying expectations of her gender isn’t just a topic kept alive, but we still see new aspects to it. The Voyage of the Basilisk deals with the question of gender in an interesting way, especially with its historical context.

“For the sake of dragons, there was very little I wouldn’t do.”

There is also a whole bunch of supporting characters who never disappoint. I was especially fond of Jacob, her son, who is just a delight. Starting this series, I wouldn’t have thought it possible to add a child to the mix with Isabella going on as usual, but it was even better this way.

The Voyage of the Basilisk is definitely my favorite in the series so far. The adventure itself, traveling by ship, exploring sea creatures, the culture we get to know, and not to forget the usual tricky situation Isabella finds herself in, with adorable Jacob on top, this book was nothing but fun and had me once again extremely curious about different species of dragons as well as laughing when cultures clash and put Isabella in amusing situations.


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Apr 10, 2017