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Continuarea romanului Istoria naturală a dragonilor


La trei ani după expediția în munții Vystrana, Isabella Camherst a devenit deschizătoare de drumuri pentru studiul științific al dragonilor. Acum o nouă provocare îi trezește interesul: continentul Eriga, căminul unor specii fascinante de șerpi de iarbă, de copaci și, mai ales, al legendarului dragon de mlaștină.

Dar expediția nu va fi una ușoară. Isabella va trebui să înfrunte o căldură toropitoare, intrigi de palat, bârfe și multe alte pericole pentru a-și satisface curiozitatea față de dragoni. Chiar și să se aventureze în jungla numită Iadul Verde, unde curajul și curiozitatea ei științifică vor fi puse la încercare mai aprig ca niciodată.

„Aceasta a doua parte a amintirilor Isabellei este la fel de incredibil de sinceră și directă ca prima, povestită în stilul alert și puternic al lui Brennan. Protagonista este deopotrivă admirabilă, formidabilă și fascinantă. Cititorule, nu întarzia să faci cunoștință cu Isabella Trent!“


First published March 4, 2014

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About the author

Marie Brennan

155 books2,747 followers
Marie Brennan a.k.a. M.A. Carrick

Marie Brennan is a former anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly pillages her academic fields for material. She recently misapplied her professors' hard work to Turning Darkness Into Light, a sequel to the Hugo Award-nominated series The Memoirs of Lady Trent. As half of M.A. Carrick, she is also the author of The Mask of Mirrors, first in the Rook and Rose trilogy. For more information, visit swantower.com, Twitter @swan_tower, or her Patreon.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,271 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
April 16, 2021

I wanted only to study dragons, but first I had to get past the humans...
Three years ago, Lady Trent was finally granted the ability to study dragons in the field.

She had a wonderful set of adventures with her husband in Vystranna and made many discoveries to push the bounds of knowledge regarding dragons.

Just as her adventures came to a close, she loses her husband and gains a child.

Three years later, Lady Trent now feels well enough to resume her studies...but unfortunately, high society thinks differently.
Few question the widower's decision, but everyone questions the widow's
Heedless of everyone's warnings, she sets off to the tropics - to study the draconian world - and what she finds will shock her to her very core.

Whew, book two of this series and I'm ecstatic.

I absolutely LOVE this premise - the way the world is built so much like our own (except for the addition of dragons) and I love Lady Trent (picture Jane Goodall but with fire-breathing beasts).

I do wish these books focused more on the dragons, and less on the politics.

But I think I feel like that purely because whenever I see "dragons" I get obsessed and just tune out everything else.

This book has a wonderfully fleshed out world - complete with cultures, countries and more - and I did have a bit of trouble remembering all of the languages, names and places when reading the book.

Though, when I listened to the audiobook, I found that most of those troubles went away (whew!).

I cannot wait for the next one!!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,003 reviews2,596 followers
April 9, 2014
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

As someone who loves the natural sciences and is fascinated with the study of animal behavior, I remember being thrilled to discover the exquisiteness of Marie Brennan's A Natural History of Dragons. I'd been skeptical when I first picked it up, though. Written in the form of a memoir by the protagonist Lady Trent, I still recall wondering to myself how interesting could this book possibly be if it's just going to be nothing more than a fictional old lady waxing nostalgic about a life of studying and research? But hey, dragons!

Needless to say, the book took me by surprise. By the last page, I was completely in love with the character of Isabella Camherst before she became the venerable Lady Trent. The unique and convincing narrative style added so much to the story, and I could feel her passion for dragons in every single word. I practically did a dance when I found out that a second novel was in the works, called The Tropic of Serpents which would chronicle the next chapter of Isabella's pursuit of draconic knowledge by focusing on her time in the swampy jungles of war-torn Eriga.

"I set to work making a place for myself in Society, even if it was not the place Society intended for me." ~pg. 328

Like the first book, The Tropic of Serpents is a tale of adventure, but it also explores the role of women in a society where the world of academia is still almost exclusively male. Isabella bucks social conventions to pursue her dream of studying dragons, while dealing with criticism as well as her own guilt for putting her research ahead of her family. There is a fine balance of emotional gravity to go along with the action and adventure in these books, something I relished. The narration also has an honest quality to it that's really grown on me, suggestive of a "bare all" attitude from someone who knows she has contributed much to the field and is too old now in any case to give a crap about what anyone might think of her. Very refreshing!

Despite their similarities, there are a lot of differences between the two novels as well. Given that they are written in the form of a memoir, the many changes that occur over the course of this book lend a great deal of realism to Isabella's character. After all, the aspects of one's life do not remain static over time. Accordingly, we see growth in the character in terms of her personality, but also in her relationships with her companions and even in her scientific knowledge.

Which probably makes this a good time for me to bring up that I feel these books are about more than just dragons. The story is about Isabella's life. It's about her love of dragons and science. It's also about the world she lives in, including its peoples, cultures, and politics. To tell the truth, the sequel is conspicuously light when it comes to any dragon action. There's quite a bit of set up leading to Isabella's expedition into the jungle known as the Green Hell, and once there, the record of the time she spends among the native Moulish people made sections of this novel read more like an ethnography. Of course, I was an Anthropology major so I ate this all up, but I also have to echo the thoughts of many others and agree that the first book featured a greater emphasis on dragons, while this one dabbled more in the history and politics of the setting.

Nevertheless, I am having a lot of fun with this series. There are details hinting at so much more to come in Lady Trent's long and accomplished life and I hope to read about all her adventures. Anyone who has a deep passion or commitment to a calling will find a kindred spirit in the main character; it's truly wonderful to find a strong female protagonist with such powerful conviction and presence.
Profile Image for Chantal Lyons.
270 reviews35 followers
March 23, 2014
It feels like a betrayal to give this book so low a rating, when I loved the first one so much - but rate low I must.

The main problem is, there is not enough about dragons. Instead, there is A LOT about foreign politics, and A LOT of names. And, quite frankly, I didn't give a damn about any of it. Sure, it felt realistically crafted, but I don't see why the author couldn't have guided Isabella away it much earlier than she did. On something like page 190, Wilker says "I think we ought to get to the dragons now" - as if the characters themselves were aware of the tedium!

I rarely find books 'boring'. I may find them badly written, or annoying, but barely boring. Yet I found this one so for the majority of its length. There are some lovely moments spent with the dragons, but far too few. A few chapters of brilliance couldn't make up for the morass of tedium they were surrounded by. Even the end wasn't particularly good; there was no real sense of urgency, for Isabella recounted much of it in summary.

I will still buy the next book, because I hope that the author will not want to repeat herself by focusing again on foreign politics, but I feel rather cheated to have waited a year for something so disappointing.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,908 followers
April 23, 2020
The continuation of the Lady Naturalist by way of her memoir progresses as one might expect: a brief, lightning-fast 3-year recovery back at home and then the announcement of another trip to study DRAGONS.

This time, in the jungle. The tropics.

For the most part, I enjoyed the tale on the same level I usually enjoy popcorn fiction of any ilk. It's never very difficult, it's full of sensationalist elements, and it focuses on adventure.

Indeed, it's the adventure, including all the illnesses, broken bones, and getting tied up and needing to escape one or another band of locals that takes up most of the tale. Add in a little political intrigue, a smattering of dragons, and what we've really got here is a tale of character building and culture clash.

It's lite fare, but there's nothing wrong with that. I did appreciate the focus on HELPING the natives rather than EXPLOITING them. ;)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
397 reviews21 followers
April 23, 2022
This is a pretty good book about the study of dragons. I enjoyed reading it.
Profile Image for Sanaa.
411 reviews2,560 followers
August 18, 2015
[5 Stars] I'm in love with this series, so in love. I can hardly contain my excitement for the third book which comes out later this year. I will begin this review by saying I loved this volume just as much as the last and that this book series is not for everyone. I repeat this book series is not for everyone. That being said let's move on to my thoughts.

I think the main problem most people have with this series is that it is too boring and that it doesn't have enough dragons in it. I admit, this book had less dragons in the writing than the first one (though more dragons in the general story if that makes any sense) and it was more focused on politics, cultural anthropology, adventure, and colonialism. If those things don't interest you, then you will probably find this book a little boring. Being intrigued by anthropology myself, I was fascinated by the different people Lady Trent meets, the different cultures she lives in, the politics she gets thrust into, and the dragons she wishes to learn more about. It is evident that Marie Brennan has really done her research and this fantasy alternate history is extremely well written and rich with depth. I also really loved the adventuring and trekking these characters do and the overall sense of wonder Lady Trent's travels invoke in me.

Now, let's talk about the dragons. Yes, this series doesn't have dragons in every chapter. No, you will not be finding characters commanding dragons, riding dragons, battling dragons, speaking to dragons, no, no, no. That is simply not the kind of book this is. If you think of how field study works for primatologists for example, they observe primates without interfering with them. Lady Trent is rather like a primatologist but for dragons rather than primates, and because of such you have to understand there is not much actual interaction between the dragons and Lady Trent. Also, dragons are often larger predators, and it would make sense that you would not encounter one in the wild every five minutes. It is for these reasons that I love the way dragons are handled in this book. Marie Brennan really comes at things with a scientific perspective which is just fabulous.

That being said. I adored this book. It is a little drier than the first one and perhaps doesn't really get going until about a quarter of the way through, but I absolutely adore it. If you found what I mentioned above even remotely interesting, then I implore you to pick up this series. I absolutely love it!
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,007 followers
May 11, 2015
It’s been ages since I read A Natural History of Dragons, which meant I was playing catch-up a little with the characters and the situation. I wouldn’t suggest reading it without reading the first book, since it’s an almost continuous narrative — but if it’s just been a while, well, you’ll probably be okay. I got there pretty quickly, once I remembered who all the characters were and how they all related to each other.

As with the first book, it’s fascinating to read this version of our own history, with a female natural historian front and centre. Given the trouble the likes of Mary Anning had, I understand the context a lot better now, though I do find myself thinking that, if anything, it’s a little too easy for Isabella to get where she wants to go. Still, I already criticised the first book for being a little slow, and there are plenty such drawbacks here as well. There’s another interesting meeting with different cultures, and some of the ways that that limits Isabella — but also one surprising way it gives her more opportunities.

I read this much quicker than I read the first book. It’s not exactly “unputdownable”, because you know that Isabella must survive to be writing the memoir, but it is compelling. I especially enjoyed the strengthening of Isabella’s relationship with Tom Wilker, and the way their characters clashed and meshed through the book. Natalie is a fun addition, too: a woman who, like Isabella, wants more than society (and her family) want to give, a woman who is in fact an engineer of some skill.

I’m having a hard time picturing Isabella’s adventures coming to an end after Voyage of the Basilisk, so I’m hoping that I’m misremembering that this is a trilogy… All in all, I’ve gotta say that these books have definitely won my heart now. I might have been doubtful about the first one, but I thoroughly enjoyed the second.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,493 reviews186 followers
February 6, 2017
Not a lot of dragons, but then that was kind of the case with book 1 in this series, too. That's okay since I'm really enjoying Isabella's collisions and bumblings with other cultures. She is sincere, though, in her desire to learn, totally unlike her fellow countrymen, who generally come off like the upper class boors they are, save for Tom and Hilford. This time, Isabella, Tom and a new face, Natalie (engineer in desires) descend into the "Green Hell" in search of swamp worms. Isabella blunders at times in her interactions with others, scandalizing her countrymen back home in Scaerling (sp? I listened to this book so have no idea how many of the names are spelled.) Her earnest bumbling also forges friendships with the Mouline (??) and the King of the nation bordering the Green Hell. It doesn't earn her respect back home, but then, unless it concerns dragons, Isabella doesn't seem all that perturbed by the reactions. Between consorting with Tom, a chemist and a man of a lower class (and clearly worth more than at least 10-20 members of the gentry), and aiding and abetting Natalie's plans to remain unmarried and to work, Isabella continues to pursue her dreams of learning more about dragons.
The author again points out the inequality of the time, in terms of the restrictions on women's comportment. There's a nice outburst from Isabella partway through the book, crying out about how society wants her to behave now that she has a son, versus what she passionately wants to do, which is, of course, to continue to learn more about dragons. Not that much has changed for modern women who want fulfillment in multiple areas of their lives.
While not dragon-heavy, this was a fun listen during many walks in the cold.
Profile Image for K..
3,595 reviews1,000 followers
February 7, 2017
It took me a while to get into the first book in this series, so I was a little hesitant going into this one. And it did take me a chapter or so to get back into the world. But after that, I sped through this.

This is essentially a historical fiction series with added dragons where all the place names and cultural names have been changed. The main character, Isabella, is basically a Definitely Not Victorian Era lady explorer. She's fiercely independent and fascinated by dragons. In this installment, she goes to Definitely Not Africa in search of swamp-wyrms.

Isabella is a great character. I love the reflective nature of the story - the series is basically written by Old Lady Isabella looking back on her adventures over the years. I love how frank she is about periods, about the weird shit she had to eat, about the dangers she experienced, about what she learns about the various cultures she encounters, about her fears regarding motherhood.

The occasional illustrations are GORGEOUS, and I loved that Isabella's assistant, Natalie, is asexual (though obviously she doesn't have the words to say it).

Essentially? If you like dragons and historical fiction? Get on this series. Because they're less than $5 each on Kindle. SCORE.
Profile Image for Aleshanee.
1,390 reviews94 followers
April 22, 2018
Ich bin mir sicher, das manche nicht so viel mit den Memoiren dieser unkonventionellen Lady anfangen können, mich hat sie jedoch dieses Mal komplett in den Bann ziehen können! Während beim ersten Band noch eine gewisse Distanz zwischen mir und der Geschichte spürbar war, wusste ich jetzt ganz genau, worauf ich mich einlasse - und so konnte ich es auch vollauf genießen.

Die Handlung spielt ja in einer fiktiven Welt, die von der Zeit her an unser 19. Jahrhundert erinnert. Auch die Gesellschaftsschichten und verschiedene Staaten und Völker sind an unsere angelehnt und ich konnte mich jetzt besser damit auseinandersetzen.

Isabellas Reise führt sie hier auf einen anderen Kontinent und neben traditionellen Unterschieden, denen sie sich wohl oder übel unterordnen muss, hat sie auch mit den Kriegswirren zu kämpfen, die sich in Eriga anbahnen. Ich hatte anfangs etwas Schwierigkeiten, weil viele Namen von Ländern und Völkern erwähnt werden, mit denen ich nichts anfangen konnte, was sich aber im Lauf der Handlung aufgeklärt hat.
Natürlich geht es hauptsächlich wieder um Isabellas Ambitionen als Forscherin und ihren Wissensdrang, alles über die hiesigen Drachenarten zu erfahren. Und sie tut wirklich alles dafür, ob es um unbequeme Kompromisse oder Entbehrungen geht und vor allem ihre Zeit in der "grünen Hölle" hat mich sehr beeindruckt! Der Stil wie sie erzählt ist wirklich gewöhnungsbedürftig, aber wenn man sich damit angefreundet hat, ist es sehr fesselnd und vor allem äußerst anschaulich und lebensecht beschrieben. Sie zögert nie, um ihren Willen durchzusetzen und stellt sich jedem Problem und jeder Angst mit purer Entschlossenheit entgegen.

Sehr interessant fand ich auch, die Sitten und Gebräuche dieser fremden Länder kennenzulernen, vor allem die Lebensphilosophie der Moulish, die sich völlig der Natur angepasst haben und als Nomaden leben. Ihre Art fasziniert mich total und man kann sich da auch einiges für sich selbst herausziehen, wenn man die vielen kleinen Untertöne zu hören bereit ist.

"Hexerei wird vom Bösen im Herzen der Menschen verursacht.
Sie bringt die Welt aus dem Gleichgewicht und macht allen Probleme.
Was auch immer an Bösem in deinem Herzen ist,
du musst es loslassen."
S. 237

Lady Trents Ambitionen sind ja vor allem wissenschaftlich geprägt, aber dadurch liegt ihr auch das Überleben der Drachen sehr am Herzen. Die Trophäenjagd auf diese außergewöhnlichen Tiere sind ihr zuwider und natürlich möchte sie auch verhindern, dass das Geheimnis ihrer wirtschaftlichen Nutzung nicht entdeckt wird. Ein Diebstahl von wichtigen Dokumenten zu Beginn des Buches spielt dabei eine große Rolle, der aber während ihrer Reise in den Hintergrund rückt. Ich bin mir aber sicher, dass der noch größere Konsequenzen nach sich trägt und bin gespannt, wie es im dritten Teil weitergeht!

Übrigens sind im ganzen Buch wieder wunderschöne Zeichnungen verschiedener Szenen aufgeführt, die die Eindrücke nochmal umso deutlicher machen. Die gefallen mir sehr gut! Ebenfalls die Karte vorne im Buch, mit der man sich über die örtlichen Begebenheiten orientieren kann.

© Aleshanee

Lady Trents Memoiren

1 - Die Naturgeschichte der Drachen
2 - Der Wendekreis der Schlangen
3 - Die Reise der Basilik (ET Juli 2018)
4 - In the Labyrinth of Drakes (Original)
5 - Within the Sanctuary of Wings (Original)
Profile Image for Elwen.
556 reviews43 followers
June 9, 2020
Ich liebe die Mischung aus klassischem Entdeckerroman und dem Hauch Fantasy mit Drachen. Obwohl diese hier eher wie seltene Tiere und weniger als mystische Wesen dargestellt werden, bleibt die Faszination. Und die Begeisterung der Hauptfigur ist ansteckend., Ihre Liebe zu Drachen und die Abenteuer, die sie auf der Suche nach Ihnen durchlebt, lassen die Seiten nur so verfliegen. Die politischen Entwicklungen, die mit ihren Reisen manchmal einhergehen, finde ich hingegen nicht so spannend. Dazu werden zu viele unbekannte Länder/Völker zusammengeworfen, über die man zu wenig weiß als dass es einen interessiert. Geht zumindest mir so, aber es nimmt nicht überhand und bleibt angenehm nebensächlich. Die fantastischen Zeichnungen waren jedoch wieder eine wunderbare Ergänzung und geben dem Buch das gewisse Etwas.
Profile Image for Christine PNW.
680 reviews193 followers
April 1, 2017
This was the third time I’ve read this book, and each time I like it a little bit more. I reread it in preparation for the third book, The Voyage of the Basilisk, because for some reason, I haven’t kept current on this series, in spite of the fact that it is one of my favorites on the strength of the first two books. Books 3 & 4 have been released, and the final book in the series, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, is scheduled for release on April 25.

In terms of the the plot, if you plan to read this series, and you haven’t finished book 1, it’s really impossible to discuss this book without spoiling two significant changes in Isabella’s life. When we left her at the end of book 1, she had just returned from Vystrana, after undertaking her first voyage of discovery as a “naturalist.” She returns, not as a wife, but as a widow, Brennan having conveniently disposed of Jacob, her husband. She also returns pregnant. The Tropic of Serpents picks up three years later, after Isabella’s son is born, as she begins to hunger for dragon-based adventures and discovery once again.

This series is actually more about women in science and in public life than it is about dragons. Dragons are the fiction around which Brennan builds her society, which is modeled on our own, late 19th century, world. Isabella’s scientific aptitude, her ambitious, intrepid nature and her unwillingness to be relegated to a traditional female role is the true north of the series. Everything else is an exploration of this – from her unfeminine interest in dragons (as opposed to more socially acceptable interests like horses or dogs) to her lack of interest in maternal things (which is acceptable in ladies only when their interest is diverted by frivolities, like dresses and gossip). Isabella is a deeply substantive woman, in a culture that doesn’t really know what to do with substantive women. And, aside from Lord Hilford, who manages to see her as a fully-realized human being and more than simply a walking womb, the men who surround her really have no idea what to do with her. She is changing the men she encounters as much as she is changing herself.

Reading that Mike Pence refuses to consume a meal alone with a woman peer immediately after reading this book is a disheartening reminder that, while we’ve come a long way baby, we apparently haven’t come far enough, and that there are still plenty of 21st century men who seem to be unable to view women as anything other than an ambulatory, speech-capable vagina.

On this outing, Isabella heads to the fictional Eriga, which seems to be somewhere in Africa, and gets involved in local politics. She manages to muddle about, immerse herself in the local (native) culture, and accomplish a feat of great environmental conservation all the while coping with a culture that is just as skeptical of women who act like men as her own. She plunges headlong into the swamp known as the Green Hell, and learns to fly, both literally and figuratively. We also meet Natalie, another young woman who is entirely disinterested in a typical female life, and I hope to learn more about Natalie in later books.

I am very excited for the Voyage of the Basilisks, as it sounds very much like the trip that Charles Darwin took on the The Beagle, a voyage that has captured my imagination since the moment I heard about it.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
719 reviews1,170 followers
December 8, 2016
[3.5 stars] In case you missed my review of A Natural History of Dragons, I should start out by explaining my love/hate relationship with it. The first half was SO AMAZING that I was certain it was going to be one of my new all-time favorites. However, the longer the story progressed, the more disappointed I became with how things were going. There were two main issues: 1) somewhere along the way, the focus shifted from the dragons and 2) the main character started making harebrained decisions that were way beyond what I would call realistic behavior. To sum it up, I valued the first half at a solid 5 stars and the second half at 1.5 stars. That’s a pretty wide spectrum for a single book.

However, I’m happy to report that The Tropic of Serpents was an even-keel 3 stars the whole way through.

I’ll admit, the end of the first book let me down so much that I was afraid to pick up the sequel. I finally decided to because the author did manage to completely dazzle me for that first half and I had high hopes that she could do it again (and that the second half was just a fluke). Although The Tropic of Serpents started out a bit slow, it eventually grew into the kind of dragon-centric adventure I’d been hoping for!

In Tropic of Serpents, the Lady Trent’s adventures took her to the marshlands where her and her team tried to unravel the mysteries of the swamp dragon (the specific name of which escapes me right now, but you get the gist). It was an awesome adventure and I loved the immersive setting, infusion of local culture, and great interspersal of biology to illustrate how swamp dragons live. I devoured every minute of it. This book went a long way towards reinvigorating my passion for the series and I can honestly say I’m eager to read on.

As for character, Lady Trent did make a few decisions that I would call questionable, but at least this time around they were more plausible. At the basis of it, I genuinely like her character – she’s incredibly passionate about her pursuit of knowledge, she’s brave enough to stand up against societal norms to chase her dreams, she strong enough to stand on her own accomplishments, and she loves dragons (we could totally be besties because of that alone). So when this incredibly intelligent and resourceful woman started making stupid decisions (in the first book), I got hostile. It was incredibly frustrating to try to live vicariously through her when she did that, you know? Like I said though, things were much better in The Tropic of Serpents and I’m extremely hopeful for the next few books.

Overall, Tropic of serpents goes a long way towards reinstating my faith in the series and its overall recommendability. There are certain elements to this series so far that I LOVED… however, it is a bit of a dry read (it didn’t bother me, but I could see how it might other readers). I would definitely recommend it to any fellow geek out there who has ever thought it would be cool to study dragons.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com
Profile Image for Dani.
283 reviews36 followers
November 19, 2018
I enjoyed this book as I expected I would.. but unfortunately not as much as I expected I would. Damn those pesky expectations.

Don't get me wrong though, the story of The Tropic of Serpents was still entertaining but I cannot help but feel a little disappointed with this second installment too. The book definitely had a slow start, which in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in this case the slow start continued on in a so-so entertaining middle part. As fascinating as the exploration of foreign cultures may be, until two-thirds in I couldn't help but feel that there wasn't all that much interesting happening. Therefore, for me, the last third of the book was definitely its best part as there both plot and action picked up and the ending had a very satisfying conclusion.

I particularly liked that the author didn't forget to pay some attention to Isabella in other respects than as a scientific researcher. It was very interesting to get to know other sides of her; see how her relationship with her family developed and to read about her true feelings towards her child. Furthermore, I was decidedly relieved that
Except for this installment being a bit on the tedious side in certain places, I also felt more spotlight could have been put on the friendship between Isabella and Nathalie.

So, all in all, an entertaining 3.5 star read but I decided to round down to 3 stars because I rounded the previous book up and this way, both ratings display the contrast of how I experienced both books rather well.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,548 reviews2,933 followers
May 10, 2016
Marie Brennan is fast becoming one of my favourite writers because she's just so good. This series is completely addictive and as soon as I finish one book I instantly end up going out and buying the next one!

This story takes place a few years after the ending of book #1 which has allowed some of our character the time to gather more funds and set up a new expedition to another land. This time they want to go study in Eriga where there is rumoured to be a war brewing, but there's also some dragon species which need researching. Isabella, our main character (aka. Lady Trent) is a resourceful and artistic young lady who is desperate to contribute to the research and this time she has a new companion called Natalie too. Together they are about to traverse unknown lands and discover new things about the species that dwell there, both draconian and the other animals and humans.

I have to say I seem to just get more enamoured with this series with each one I read. I definitely love the character of Lady Trent and the way she narrates her travels is expert. I also admire Brennan for crafting such believable dragon species and anatomy and also being able to make me imagine these beasts as Isabella tells us about them.

I will say that this is not the series to read if you're not into natural history and paleontology becuase this isn't a 'dragon' book per se. This is much more about Lady Trent's battle to prove herself (a woman) as a natural historian and in the field of dragon research. I love seeing the way she deals with people's stereotypes and misconceptions, and she's got a spark of life and ingenuity for all situations :) 5*s again, highly recommended :)
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,007 followers
May 14, 2016
I “had” to reread this in preparation for the new book, but it was (of course) absolutely no hardship. I got into it right away, this time; before, it’d been a while since I read the first book, and I had to adjust a bit and remind myself of who everyone was. This time, it was all fresh enough to plunge right in, and it doesn’t disappoint. Brennan handles Isabella so well: we get to see all aspects of her life, like her relationship with her son (realistically painful, given the death of his father before he was born), her feelings about the religious/social stuff she has to bow to, her relationship with her family, and her attempts to make headway in the world of scholarship.

I was surprised when Marie Brennan mentioned that Tom Wilker was an incidental character who she didn’t expect to spend so much time with. For me, the books would be very different without Tom sharing Isabella’s dangers and trials. I have to confess that at one point I rather hoped he would be Lord Trent, though actually I do enjoy the intellectual friendship between them, and their support of each other without ever (well, almost ever) letting the fact that she’s a woman and he’s a man get in the way. People seem to find male-female friendship hard enough to grasp in today’s world, let alone a pseudo-Victorian one.

Also, yay for casual representation: Natalie Oscott does not, of course, have the words for it, but she’s asexual (not sex-averse, just it doesn’t drive her).

If you don’t love Isabella, I don’t know what to do with you. She’s resourceful, clever, but flawed as well, and her “deranged practicality” is exactly that, and if you weren’t reading her memoirs you’d be sure that she’d get herself killed that way. (Unless, of course, they do, and someone is reconstructing her memoirs from her notebooks, using her voice… It seems unlikely, but I’m suspicious-minded.)

One thing I would love to know: does Marie Brennan see Tom Wilker’s Niddey origins as having a direct analogue in our world? I’ve been picturing him as Welsh since, on one occasion when it said his accent was pronounced, he used a rather Welsh phrasing.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Ash.
576 reviews114 followers
August 29, 2014
I hate to admit, mostly because I was so throughly enchanted with A Natural History of Dragons, but I found Marie Brennan's The Tropic of Serpents boring. This is no offense to Brennan's writing. She knows how to use anthropology, archealogy, and history to her advantage. Brennan had me believing that dragons could be biologically possible.

However, Tropic of Serpents is a sophomore slump. It takes place three years after the first one and starts off with a break-in. Someone has broken into the house of the scientist, who Lady Isabella Trent has hired to expand on the dragonbone preservation formula, and stolen his research on the subject. Who did it? I don't know because the book references it again towards the end and it's vague and unsatisfying.

The real story is Isabella's adventure to Eriga to study rare dragons like sea sepents and swamp-wyrms. However, that's not it at because the rare dragons are rarely in the book. The majority of Tropic of Serpents is spent on political matters. Very boring political matters. With very confusing names. Aye.

There were good parts. I did like when, Isabella has to go through a purification process to get rid of her "curse," she is completely honest with herself about her standing in society, her husband's death, and her role in her son's life. It was very good character development.

I liked that she was still in mourning and Brennan didn't feel the need to give her a love interest. I liked the feel of Isabella's world even though I didn't feel that everything in it was particularly intriguing. As always, I loved the illustrations especially the one of the fangfish.

I do hope the third book is better.
Profile Image for Sarah.
729 reviews73 followers
July 30, 2016
More adventure, less mystery. This is more along the lines of what I was expecting from the first one. It was a light and fun book, and a great way to put my mind in neutral and just enjoy myself.

I forgot to mention the audio - It makes her sound much more snobby than the way I was reading it. I recommend sticking with print in this one.
Profile Image for Derpa.
255 reviews37 followers
October 18, 2017
2,5 stars.

With these books I'm feeling more and more like dragons are really just the backdrop and it's not good at all.

Isabella finally goes on another expedition after her first, disastrous one. So this time she packs her things, grabs Mr. Wilker, Lord Hilford's granddaughter Natalie and they leave for fantasy Africa, where a local chief of one country sends them into the jungle to bring him dragon eggs, which is not really ideal. But at least they can hang out with the tribes there and do stuff.

Which is exactly what happens. They get to kinda-Africa, different countries have conflicts, it's all told to us, but I personally couldn't be bothered when it was all just "these people hate those and the leader thinks they can beat them, but this caste in society is like this, while this is how they inherit things". Fantasy words on top of fantasy words. Of course it's a memoir, but that's exactly why it should feel like a personal, approachable story, instead of the cheat sheet you write for a history test based on your 1000 pages long textbook. It made me skim. Not gonna lie. For a story so short the societal context was a bit much and in places overly complicated.
Especially so when the cover has a damn dragon. I want more, I want to see people interact with them, while the story is mostly just the characters hanging out with the jungle tribe and such. We even get introduced to a sinister hunter and... it comes to nothing. Nothing pays off. This is my big complaints about the series; it all feel like nothing. Like nothing matter, like we are being told tiny things (like how in this place Isabella is sent to a menstruation house with other women, where they chat and she meets this suuuuper interesting woman... who doesn't really play any role in the rest of the story). Like seriously, we have a scene where people ritually talk things out.

My other little observation is how the characterisation of Isabella really has its ups and downs. Sometimes she is genuinely empathetic towards Mr. Wilker, a low class man and understands that his status causes him immense hardships in getting ahead in life. Then she goes into "being a woman means constant victimhood" mindset. She claims women are the only ones judged and such.
Which is especially interesting, as she literally does whatever she wants. Some people dislike it, sure, but at the same time nothing ever really happens. Oh, she shouldn't go to a scientist meeting place? She did, everyone liked her. She shouldn't publish a scientific book? She did and it's a success. She is not supposed to go on expeditions? She does, everyone is crazy about her AND she lives off of her work. Oh, some people are starting rumours? Excuse me, she will become LADY TRENT, so not even a reputation will stop her from an immense step up when it goes to status.
So here we have a woman who did a bunch of stuff as a kid without any real repercussions, who married a man she truly loved, who went on expeditions and did scientific work, who could even leave her kid behind as she went to chase what she loved... She would be considered an exceptionally lucky woman and yes, person even today.

It's all sad as... the dragons are really cool! They are all different, with interesting characteristics. It's creative like that, but the ideas are not realised to their full power.

I'm not sure if I want to read the rest of the series, definitely not now. There is just so much stuff that is more rewarding and that utilises its best ideas more.

Good night and show me, don't just tell!
Profile Image for Angela.
389 reviews800 followers
February 25, 2022
Spoiler Free Series Review: https://youtu.be/XtkCzb-8rJA

Actual Rating: 4.5/5

It was with this book that I first switched to audiobooks and it was the best decision. I enjoyed physically reading the first book but hearing Lady Trent come to life with Kate Reading's narration was such a treat! Also this one had a plot I enjoyed more than the first one but still followed a cozy formula that I have come to enjoy with this series. The main star is Lady Trent and the voice she uses to write her memoirs. I was always engaged and wanted to know more, which is probably why I finished this book in just over a day.
Profile Image for Allie Riley.
376 reviews131 followers
June 28, 2019
Another fabulous instalment in the series, introducing the character of Natalie, of whom we are clearly going to see much more. This was another exciting adventure, in the same style as the first, with the same wit and charm which characterised that. Delightful and I look forward to reading the next one.
Profile Image for Ellie.
573 reviews2,080 followers
November 1, 2018
> 4 stars

Oh this series is such a hidden gem. These novels read almost like a series of diaries from a great Victorian explorer - but one who was a woman, and who studied dragons.

Isabella as a heroine reminds me fondly of Audrey Rose from Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series - both are women trying to carve out a space in a space dominated by males; Isabella in natural anthropology and Audrey Rose in medicine. Both are smart and opinionated, and both display feminism in many facets.

As a novel harking back to the Victorian age of science, The Tropic Of Serpents also had some interesting considerations of colonialism, which is something I really enjoy when it’s incorporated well.

All in all a very good second instalment, and I look forward to reading the next!
Profile Image for Marina Finlayson.
Author 22 books230 followers
December 21, 2016
This series is such a delight. Lady Trent is the perfect Victorian lady, pragmatic and with a mind bent on scientific enquiry--except this is no Victorian England, but a world where dragons actually exist. Lady Trent is a naturalist whose passion is the study of dragons, and her adventures take her all over this fascinating world in pursuit of knowledge about them. Not only does she face dangers but she must deal with the suffocating strictures of her own society, which has very rigid ideas about the proper uses of a lady's time. Loved it! Can't wait to read the next one.
Profile Image for Small Review.
610 reviews207 followers
May 2, 2016
Originally posted at Small Review blog

I was lost in the depths of despair

I've been having a serious streak of bad luck when it comes to books this year. I haven't even reviewed all of them because I've just felt so meh and disappointed about them.

But that all ends now with the latest installment in the Memoir by Lady Trent series.

Until I found a bosom friend in Lady Trent

I was shocked last year at how much I adored the first book A Natural History of Dragons , and while it ended just fine as a standalone, I desperately hoped it would not remain so.

Thankfully, there's a sequel (and now a third book announced!), and I think Tropic of Serpents might be even better than the first.

Isabella is a significant part of why I can't get enough of this series. She's a character trope for sure, but I love this type of character, so I don't mind at all.

Think of her as a dragon-loving Amelia Peabody or a grown up Theodosia. She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and she isn't afraid to take risks if it means satisfying her curiosity.

But she isn't just a character of action, as so many Strong Female Characters tend to be. Nor is she damaged, thank goodness, which seems to be the other prevailing feature of insufferable SFCs.

Isabella examines her own motives and feelings with the same studious eye she applies to dragon anatomy, and while she finds this thoroughly uncomfortable, she forces herself to confront them anyway. She totally earned my admiration with her fortitude and courage.

Like the Strong Female Character trope, we also have the Strong Feminist, and I guess you could put Isabella into that category too because she thoroughly bucks society's expectations of what is proper behavior for a woman. But, she doesn't do it for a Cause, again, thankfully! because I'm sorry to say but I find that so tiresome.

She does it because it is what she must do. Isabella knows what makes her happy in life, and she doesn't let anyone or any expectation stand in her way. This doesn't come easy, though, and I appreciated that Marie Brennan took the time to examine the conflict Isabella inevitably feels between following her duty and giving in to her desire.

She grew a lot over the course of this book and I was absolutely cheering her by the end!

If only she'd break her slate over his head

If you've read the first book, then you know what happens in the end. So you know, the door is open for, let's say, possibilities.

(Also, if you've been keeping track of the names, Trent is neither Isabella's maiden name nor Jacob's surname. Just saying.)

(And, yeah, I know it's also NOT the last name of a certain combative other character who appeared in the first book and plays an even larger role Tropic of Serpents, but that did not in any way stop me from wishing for something more).

But, all the parentheticals aside, this is not a kissing book. There isn't any romance (despite society's gossip and my desire to believe it) and, honestly, given the events of the previous book and all the growth Isabella needed to accomplish I (grudgingly) guess that's ok.

Still, they make for a very entertaining and mutually respectful friendship. And, as a woman and a man of low birth, I have high hopes that I will get to see them take down society's stodgy Rules for who can and who cannot conduct scientific research.

"Because if you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while"

Isabella is half the reason I love these books, but her adventures make up the other half.

While the world is a totally fictional place made up of overly-complicated yet typically fantasyish names, it is basically our world circa 1800s-ish. Scriland is England, and Eriga (the setting of this installment) is Africa.

If I didn't enjoy saying Scriland so much (it really rolls off the tongue) I'd say my one complaint is that I wish Marie Brennan had just made this a historical fantasy series and set everything in our own real countries. I mean, who are we fooling here?

(Then again, had she done that I'd probably complain about her changing history, which is something I usually take issue with.)

But, the only part where I really started to zone out and lose interest was when Isabella started talking about the politics between the various countries. Now, you know me, I LIVE for fictional politics! Especially when there's shady dealings and imminent war, which was the case here (between not just two, but THREE nations!)

So why wasn't I stoked? Because I had a hard time keeping track of the nations. Between the weird pronunciations and the This-fictional-country-is-really-That-real-country mental match ups I spent more time puzzling out the Who when I should have been indulging my penchant for political intrigue focusing on the What. I got it all sorted, but the way it was presented really pulled me out of the story.

But that was the only time that happened, because Marie Brennan NAILS it when it comes to immersion. After a fun jaunt across the (basically) African savannah where I got to indulge all my childhood Nature-watching dreams and go on a safari hunt (!!!), we trekked through a place called the Green Hell, and oh my gosh, a place was never named more appropriately.

The Green Hell was miserable, which is to say, it was AWESOME! I felt like I was right there with Isabella with the humidity and the bugs and the diseases and the wonderland of natural and cultural discoveries! There's also a Secret To Unravel relating to the dragons living there and the answer was totally unexpected yet fit very nicely.

Bottom line

I can't rave about the Memoir by Lady Trent series enough! I haven't read anything quite like it, and when I'm not reading this series a part of my brain is always wishing I had the next book in my hands. I can't wait to follow Isabella on her next adventure.

Perhaps the best compliment I can give is that I got so completely sucked into Tropic of Serpents that it felt like I was living and breathing the experiences right next to Isabella, who I'm half convinced is actually a real live person living off in in the world somewhere (along with Sherlock Holmes).

Received: Finished copy from publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Special Shelf

Originally posted at Small Review blog
Profile Image for Mathieu.
1,321 reviews41 followers
February 9, 2018
Bon, malgré un ressenti un peu en demi-teinte, j'ai bien aimé ce second volume des mémoires de Lady Trent. Mais il est nettement moins surprenant que le premier tome.

Alors pourquoi ? Comme toujours quand je lis un roman qui fait partie d'une série, je relis avant de les critiquer ce que j'avais dit du ou des tomes précédents, histoire de me remémorer le récit d'une part (c'est le soucis quand trop de temps s'écoule entre deux romans d'une même série), mais aussi pour éviter d'éventuellement redire la même chose.

Et là, pour le coup, je pourrai rigoureusement redire la même chose de ce tome. Comme je suis un peu (voire beaucoup) fainéant, je ne vais pas me répéter ici. Si vous êtes vraiment curieux, je vous invite à aller lire ma prose d'alors (ou pas d'ailleurs).

Bref, sur le strict point de vue formelle, on a un ouvrage très semblable au premier : début au pays, départ en expédition, rencontre avec les autochtones, intrigue, dénouement. Après, vu le format du récit : une relation d'expédition naturaliste, je vois difficilement comment il pourrait en être autrement.

Ce qui fait que j'ai quand même apprécié la lecture, c'est déjà que (et j'ai l'impression d'enfoncer une porte ouverte) c'est bien écrit (et donc bien traduit aussi). De plus, le cadre exotique choisi par Marie Brennan est particulièrement plaisant, avec son mélange de savanes, de mangrove, et toujours bien sûr, en toile de fond, les dragons !

On est basiquement dans un cadre de colonie anglaise en Afrique du Sud, avec d'une part des royaumes clients / partenaires, et d'autres part des voisins belliqueux dans lesquels on reconnaît sans peine les zoulous.

L'écosystème dans lequel évolue son héroïne est toujours aussi cohérent, et c'est important quand on raconte l'histoire d'une naturaliste ! De même, les dragons sont bien intégrés à leurs milieux respectifs, leur écologie bien travaillée, et on y croit. Les planches d'illustration sont un vrai plus, elles me rappellent à chaque fois mes lectures de vieux Jules Verne avec gravures (nostalgie, nostalgie...)

Petit Bémol toutefois : un nombre assez conséquent de coquilles, chose inhabituelle chez L'Atalante (assez pour que je le remarque). Du coup, je suis pas aussi enthousiaste que pour le premier tome, mais sincèrement, ça me va.
Profile Image for Christina Pilkington.
1,475 reviews139 followers
June 13, 2022
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

After reading the first Memoirs of Lady Trent book years ago, I decided to pick up the series again and continue reading about the adventures of dragon naturalist, Lady Trent.

For me, these books are cozy reads. I enjoy the first person POV of the main character. While sometimes I question her decisions, especially her views of motherhood in general, her dry wit and humor and observations are always engaging and entertaining.

Brennan is great at evoking a sense of place. While jungle/swamp settings aren't my favorite, I felt the sticky heat and humidity and could easily imagine the camps and locations where Lady Trent and her companions travelled.

Again, the plot wasn't my favorite as I found myself eye rolling a lot and needed to suspend my disbelief quite a few times, but all in all I'm glad I continued on in this series and look forward to book 3.

If you enjoy stories with light fantastical elements and first person POV where an older person reflects back on their life, I would recommend picking up this series.

Profile Image for YouKneeK.
635 reviews74 followers
September 2, 2018
The Tropic of Serpents is the second book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I enjoyed this book equally with the first book, for most of the same reasons. I actually don’t have much to say in this review because most of what I said just yesterday when I reviewed the first book still applies here.

This book did have a few slower moments as it dealt a bit more with politics and relationships, some of which was interesting and some of which wasn’t. The second half the book was very fast-paced though; I finished it faster than I expected to because I didn’t want to put it down. On to the third book!
Profile Image for Elena Marmiroli.
694 reviews16 followers
August 16, 2021

Questo volume mi ha convinto maggiormente del precedente, soprattutto a causa della mancanza presente nell'opera precedente e il fatto che in questo volume il suo interesse verso i draghi non sia mai messo da parte.

Rimane anche in questo volume la piega femminista che aveva anche il volume precedente e rimane anche l'impressione di stare leggermente un'opera a metà tra un romanzo storico e un memoir con un pizzico di opera scientifica di divulgazione nel mezzo, cosa che ho gradito.

La storia rallenta un po' dopo la metà della stessa, ma non è mai completamente noisa, riuscendo così a mantenere sempre vivo dell'interesse.

Sono abbastanza curiosa di vedere come progredirà la storia di lady Trent.
Profile Image for Pflanzis.
271 reviews1 follower
February 10, 2021
Band 1 hatte mich bereits begeistert und Band 2 gefiel mir sogar noch besser!
Ich denke, dass es zum größten Teil daran lag, dass Isabella nicht mehr nur als Begleiterin und Sekretärin unterwegs ist, sondern als führende Forscherin. Diese neue Selbstständigkeit hat sowohl Isabella, als auch mir ungemein gut gefallen! Die Kapitel über die Expedition, die Beschreibungen der Lebensart der dortigen Völker und der Landschaften waren besonders toll und haben es geschafft, mich aus meinem Alltag zu holen und in ein Urlaubsgefühl zu versetzen. Im Rahmen der Drachenforschung haben Begriffe, die ich noch aus dem Bio-LK kenne, mein Herz aufgehen lassen. ❤️ Isabellas Gefühle zu ihrem Sohn haben sich auf eine Art entwickelt, die ich gut nachvollziehen konnte. Ich mochte die abenteuerlichen Elemente in der Geschichte und, wie auch schon im Band zuvor, die Kommentare der älteren, ihre Memoiren schreibenden Isabella.
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