Friday, March 28, 2014

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

Series: Memoir by Lady Trent #2
331p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Available Now
Source: From publisher for review
The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan's The Tropic of Serpents... 
Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career. 
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.
My thoughts:
 I reviewed the first book, A Natural History of Dragons and was surprised at the story within. I totally admit I was drawn to that first volume primarily because of the illustrations in the book. This book also has illustrations from the same artist, Todd Lockwood. Even though they are fewer in number, they are no less spectacular in this volume as well.

In this story again the fascination is with dragons and how to properly study them. The preservation of dragon bone is not only of scientific importance but one that may decimate the dragon population. This was discussed a lot within the group, but still they went ahead with the expedition and preservation. I was curious as to why it wasn't abandoned (other than scientific curiosity) because none of them wanted the dragons to become extinct. Still, this reason did give their group background and financial backing to go in search of dragons and learn more about them.

The story also has a decidedly fantasy flair to it and some people might be a bit confused as to where these things are in the world. If you realize that her world isn't ours and that the names to the countries and groups of people don't belong us... you sort of get used to who is who and where things are in relation to another. In a way, learning a new language set in this world. It does not take long to get used to things. It does seem somewhat familiar, however, since there are similarities to those in Victorian times and sensibilities.

I give this book 4 stars. It's a interesting venture into lands unknown and learning about dragons as if they were real. I really enjoyed her adventure, but didn't really enjoy the political aspects to the story at the beginning. However, that aspect grew on me and I think the political parts help to make parts of her adventure make sense and why she was accepted into various cultures. It also gave a great background to the ending. You also could read this book as a standalone, but I would suggest you get the first volume to find out where her fascination started as well as the great illustrations in the first book.

Bloggy note:
If you missed it, you can win one of 3 HB books of The Tropic of Serpents! Just go HERE to go to that post to enter. US/CAN only.

31 comments:

  1. How lame is it that I haven't read the first book in this series? It's absolutely my kind of book, and I kept intending to read it, but kept putting it off, and now book 2 is here. Sigh. I'm glad it was a 4 star read for you, and I really hope I can work both of them in sometime soon. *crosses fingers*

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  2. I love dragons, fantasy, and especially political novels so this is certainly right up my alley. I'll have to snag a copy of the first book from my library ASAP, so I can't wait to delve into this world and meet these fascinating characters. Wonderful review, Melissa!

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    1. I think you'll find it interesting. I hope you also love the illustrations. :)

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  3. I am not biggest fan of fantasy, but I'm glad to hear this was a great read for you.

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    1. Then perhaps this one isn't for you but yes, I did enjoy it.

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  4. Dragons used to be my fav creatures until I discovered werewolves. It's been a while since I've read a book featuring them, so I'm thinking of giving this series a go. Ooh, and thanks for the heads up about the giveaway, I totally missed it!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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    1. Well, it's not PNR at all so the dragons might be different. Good luck! :)

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  5. I love the illustrations. They're gorgeous and remind me of the early scientific sketches, especially those of plants. The story in the first book was a surprise -- I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't that! Excited to check this one out, too.

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    1. I was surprised as well. I hope you get it and enjoy it.

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  6. I think I probably said this the when you posted the first review, but I want this book for the illustrations alone. I'm glad the actual text is great as well, but those illustrations are calling to me. DRAGONS!

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    1. Hee hee... I admit, that is why I was drawn to the book in the first place. :)

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  7. I'm with Jenny, I'd want it for the illustrations too! But good to know that there is an actual story there too. Somehow it reminds me a bit of the Amelia Peabody mysteries I read long before I was blogging. Don't know if anyone knows those.

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    1. You will love the illustrations and I think you'd like the story too. I'll have to look up Amelia Peabody. Thanks!

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  8. I've been wanting to check the first book out. I do really like the sound of both of these. It would be cool to have a pull out poster, I want one on my wall. :)

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    1. You can get the wallpaper for your desktop... ;)

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  9. I still think this sounds fascinating. I am glad it is so much more than the illustrations. I really need to get around to reading this.

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    1. Oh yea... the illustrations also enhance the story very well!

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  10. I always thought a friend of mine would really like the first book. She loves dragons. Glad you liked the second one as well. :)

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    1. Oh she might enjoy these. It's sort of historical in flair as well. :)

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  11. I really want to try this series

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  12. I totally want these ..love Dragons and think I would enjoy them and also like to have them on the coffee table..great conversation starters!

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  13. The fantasy flare and the venture into these worlds sounds interesting

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  14. I don't think this one is for me, but the illustrations are definitely beautiful! :)

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  15. Whilst not the biggest fan of fantasy I have been known to dabble and especially when the story involves dragons however I'm worried that this might prove to be too confusing to be totally enjoyable.

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  16. I didn't realize this was a series. I just like looking at the illustrations. Gorgeous book!

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  17. I like dragons and have read you other review on the first book. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I have the first book but haven't read it yet, and i was thinking about that glaring oversight earlier today when I saw this one at the store.

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  19. I've been wanting to check out the first book (I remember reading your review and wanting to read it), and it sounds like I should definitely give both of these books a try now. Lovely review!

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  20. oh how wonderful I love dragons so this is most definitely fascinating to me!

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