The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan – Review

Cover- The Voyage of the Basilisk

Published: March 31, 2015

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.0/5.0


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

Thus far I’ve enjoyed this entire series by Marie Brennan, with each novel exploring a different chapter of Isabella Trent’s life. This particular novel is a brief overview of her trip around the world. When I say brief, I really mean that it was a shallow pool compared to the much more in depth previous novels. There’s so much travelling that we only get a few pages at most of the locations and the new characters aren’t particularly well developed. It could have been a much longer book and I would have enjoyed it a bit more (I think).

The part that was most detailed was when Isabella, family, and crew were stranded on an island while there ship was being repaired. There were some interesting dragon-related discoveries and the islanders had a unique culture, but it was lacking something the previous books had. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it was but it definitely had to do with the pacing and the lack of depth. I couldn’t bring myself to care too terribly much about what was going on. I’m hoping that the next book, which releases in April, will be much more like the first two novels.

Overall, if you’ve committed to the series, keep on trucking! Despite my grumpy sounding reviews, it wasn’t bad at all. We got to experience all sorts of new dragons and cultures, but I realllllly wish that we could have spent more time in each locale.

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