TITLE: The Tropic Of Serpents
AUTHOR: Marie Brennan
SERIES: Memoir By Lady Trent (#2)
PUBLISHER: Tor Books
GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure, Alternate History
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- It didn't take me too long to remember why I loved Isabella, the main character of the story. The novel is written in the format of a memoir, which I've never really seen in other books and Brennan did a really great job of making the format feel fresh and original. Isabella's sense of humour and use of hindsight is probably the best part of the book. I think Brennan's writing is the thing I really love about this series most because it's very reminiscent of a Victorian style of novel, but blends beautifully with a made-up world.
- The world-building in this book is just phenomenal. Brennan takes cultures that we know and love, and manages to adapt it into something a little bit different, creating something brand new. She also really made great use of imagery to convey all the sights and sounds that Isabella was experiencing and it really helped me to picture it all. The dragons are probably the cleverest part of Brennan's world-building, she's really thought them through and understands everything from their anatomy to the hunting and breeding habits of each species.
What I Disliked:
- I didn't really dislike anything but I did feel like the ending was a little rushed and that made me knock off the half star. Everything just seemed to happen so quickly, after a reasonably paced build-up throughout the book and it could have done with an extra chapter or two to go into more detail.
This book made me so happy. Thanks to the interesting way that Brennan has decided to style these books, I can tell that there will be no 'filler' books in this series and I don't think I'll ever get bored of Isabella's adventures with Dragons. Brennan writes great characters (I thoroughly missed Jacob in this one, but I loved how Brennan dealt with his absence), gorgeous lands and brilliant stories with a lot of twists. It's a comfortable series to read too, one that made me smile from start to finish and can definitely be read in one sitting.