The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Book 2)
By Marie Brennan
“Attentive readers are already familiar with how a bookish young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Three years after her journey through Vystrana, the illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) Lady Trent defies convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of the legendary swamp-wyrms. Accompanied by an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her 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.”
After reading A Natural History of Dragons I knew I HAD to read the next in the series! I could not wait for Matt to pop into a shop in London, so I did an online order and got it last week. Although I ordered lots of books, I just needed to know what happened next to Lady Trent!
In The Tropic of Serpents three years have passed since we left Isabella Camherst, and she is getting ready for a new voyage (to the continent of Eriga). She will be travelling with Mr Wilker and Miss Oscott (both of whom we met in A Natural History of Dragons), although Miss Oscott’s father has other ideas. However, before they travel there is trouble with their dragonbone research. Isabella gets to Nsebu (Bayeme) safely and then tries to learn about the local dragons, but of course this is not easy and leads her down troublesome paths. The Tropic of Serpents is the second book in ‘A Memoir of Lady Trent’ series, I do not think you must have read A Natural History of Dragons as everything is reintroduced at points when needed, however, you may find it helpful.
My favourite character was still Isabella; she has developed into a strong-headed independent female. However, she still makes mistakes like us all and that is what I love about her, she is so real. All the characters are so realistic, and because of that I felt like I was journeying with Isabella. You can relate some of the characters to people you know or may have met. Mr Wilker and Miss Oscott have developed over this book more too.
The Tropic of Serpents really kept me guessing, I had no idea where it was going unlike parts of A Natural History of Dragons, and as I was completely gripped by it, there were parts that I had forgotten and then bits linked back and I was like ‘oh yeah that happened…’
My favourite part of the book would probably have to be most of the second half, which I do not want to spoil; I loved every second of it. But in the first half, the point when Isabella sees the Savannah Snake for the first time was also fantastic. I feel that the action scenes were written better in The Tropic of Serpents, and everything seemed to move at a faster pace, which kept me moving through the chapters. I definitely laughed at points during the book, also it made me tense and scared for the characters at times as well. However, I did not cry this time though!
The Tropic of Serpents does end on a cliff-hanger, this is because Lady Trent will continue her story with book three (Voyage of the Basilisk).
I found this one more fascinating than the first, maybe because she is immersed in a completely different culture to her own, rather than one that is similar (like me travelling to Ethiopia compared to Poland). I cannot find any fault with it and would recommend it to anyone. 5 out of 5.