I listened on audiobook The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan and just like with A Natural History of Dragons, the first book in this series, I find myself liking the book more after I’ve finished it, than while I was reading it. The Tropic of Serpents has Isabella going off on another adventure to study dragons. This time, the dragons are swamp-wyrms, and Isabella and her group must survive the jungle.
I like these books for two main reasons. The first is that it is a female naturalist that is going against social norms and becoming a scientist. In this book, she even left her child at home for a year to do her research. She is dedicated to her work and her fascination with dragons is fierce. She goes against all conventions of how a woman should act and stands up for herself boldly. The second reason I like these books is because the naturalist stuff, the actual dragon research, is highly interesting. Brennan writes these books so that we can discover these dragons along with Isabella and learn about how the dragons eat, mate, and live. These scientific parts of the book are without a doubt the best parts for me. They remind me of when I visited a zoo for the first time as a child. There is a sense of wonder in these books that I love.
Where this book really struggled for me was the political and tribal conflicts. Maybe it was because I was listening to the audiobook but I struggled to enjoy the political issues because all the names sounded so similar. There were a handful of male characters and each one seemed like the same person in my mind. I must admit that the narrator, Kate Reading does not do different distinctive voices all that great. Most of the characters sounded so similar. I would highly recommend people that struggle with comprehension with complicated names on audiobook to check this book out in paper format.
When I finished this book I thought maybe this would be my last Lady Trent book but I have to admit that this series just grows on you. After reading and waiting a few days, all the good things that you loved about the book remain. All of the things that annoyed you or made you bored kind of fade away. I think this happens because of how good of a character Isabella is. She is easily one of my favorite female characters in any book. I think I’ll continue with the series but it is low on my priority list at the moment and I might switch to paper versions.
13/25 Possible Score
Plot – 2(OK)
Characters – 3(Good)
World Building – 3(Good)
Writing Style – 2(OK)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 3(Good)