The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

Just finished reading Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan when Lady Trent continues to defy society’s rules and behave exactly as she wants!

This is a great series that I’m really enjoying.  I’m loving reading about Lady Trent as she grows up and accompanying her on her wild and wondrous travels.  Oh, to go swimming with turtles and dragons!

In this particular instalment Isabella is about to embark, aboard The Basilisk, on her most ambitious adventure to date.  She’s going travelling for two years in a bid to study as many different species of dragons as possible.  This time however, she’s taking her young son Jake along – particularly after all the criticism she received from society’s elite about leaving for a lengthy voyage without him last time.

As usual Brennan comes up with a wonderful array of different people and cultures and shows no qualms about throwing Isabella into any number of situations from swimming with dragons through secret caves to flying in dragon bone contraptions to being tossed on the high seas in stormy weather and run aground, shipwrecked.

So, what do I like about this series.  Well, it’s just a wonderful combination of great evocative writing, period proprietary (usually hanging in tatters) and adventures that usually have a way of going wrong.  Plus of course dragons.  Although on that note be aware that the focus of these tales is really Lady Trent.  Yes, she’s a natural historian and has a love of anything to do with dragons and in each series we’re introduced to new species, in fact in this particular story Isabella makes some fascinating discoveries that will set the search for dragon knowledge upside down, but these are not wild adventures, the stories are told in a gentle fashion by a well spoken woman of class.  She’s not swashbuckling, she’s not creative cursing and she’s not kicking anybody’s ass and the stories might contain adventure but they’re certainly not grimdark.  I think I’ve already mentioned that it’s a bit like an alternative Austen and Isabella reminds me a little of Lizzie in that she has spirit and a brain and isn’t ashamed to demonstrate either – quite the opposite, she’s incredibly ambitious and keen to show her own brilliance in what was previously a male dominated arena.

Isabella is perfectly aware of her own limitations though and also only too aware of the restrictions placed upon her.  What’s that saying about ‘a reputation is years in the making and minutes in the breaking’ – well, I think Isabella is only too well aware of that and whilst she might flaunt the rules on occasion she still tries to be a bit discreet about it and usually waits until she’s left Scirling before donning her trousers.  It was interesting in this instalment to see the relationship with her son growing.  In fact Jake seems to be something of a catalyst for making Isabella break even more of the rules as he sees things with a child’s simplicity and can’t see any reason for her to behave in a restrained manner.

We are also introduced to a young archeologist this time around, a perfectly courteous and civil young man whose passion for ancient ruins matches Isabella’s desire for the knowledge of dragons.  They both help each other out and complement each other very well and I was interested to note that Isabella isn’t completely oblivious to the opposite sex as she may have come across in past books – which isn’t to say anything improper happened – more that she was much more aware.

Now, if I was to have any criticisms at all they would be minor in the extreme.  I think this particular instalment felt very similar to the past story in terms of a fairly gentle build up before exploding into a much more dramatic finale resulting in Isabella becoming yet more infamous – pretty soon she’ll be ‘barred’ from travelling to most countries.  Personally I don’t mind the slow build up because there is always such a wealth of detail about the preparations, travel and other people encountered along the way.  Some of the rituals and beliefs from this story were particularly fascinating – not least the rather strange marriage that occurs – that I won’t elaborate upon.

I would probably say on balance that I preferred the Tropic of Serpents but only marginally and I’m really looking forward to see how the revelations in this book will pan out and how Isabella’s relationships will develop further.

I received a copy of this courtesy of the publishers through Netgalley for which my appreciation.  The above is my own opinion.

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15 Responses to “The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Even though I wish there could have been more adventures on the high seas, I loved this one. The “strange marriage” was interesting – and amusing in this context indeed! I also hope one day we’ll see Suhail again.

    • lynnsbooks

      The marriage was such an original idea, I thought it was great. I hope we do see Suhail again too.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I’d love to start this series at some point, it really does sound like I’d love it.

    • lynnsbooks

      It really is very good. I love the way it’s written. I suppose there are such a lot of series out there to catch up on though.
      Lynn 😀

  3. DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

    This is one of the very few hardcover new-releases I plan on picking up as soon at it comes out this year. Sounds like it’s going to be just as good as the previous two! I can’t wait to read what happens to Isabella on this adventure!

    • lynnsbooks

      These adventures are so good. I’m really looking forward to seeing where we go to next.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Glad to hear this series is still going strong for you!

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s a very enjoyable and often pure good fun book that’s really nicely written. Plus the great unconventionality of the main character is very endearing.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Rabindranauth

    This book was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and boy did it live up. You’re right about the sudden dramatic finale. It always comes clean out of the blue, but at the same time it never quite feels so. I LOVED the strange marriage, I think that part of the book made my day. So hilarious.

    • lynnsbooks

      The marriage was great. I loved that Brennan seems to want Isabella to go through the same sort of experience as the dragon almost – so like flying solo using old bones in the last story and now swimming with the underwater dragons.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Face off! | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] reading includes the first part of Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead (as part of a readalong), and The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan.  If you’ve read Three Parts Dead I hope you’ll know what I’ve […]

  7. Ria

    This one’s next up on my reading list,and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve loved the series so far!

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s such a good concept for a series. I love it.
      Lynn 😀

  8. March brings breezes sharp and shrill… a quick recap | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan […]

  9. ‘But why is the rum gone?…?’ |

    […] Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan – in which Lady Trent sets off on a two year adventure aboard aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk in order to study dragons.  Along the way she copes not only with stormy seas and shipwreck but the uncovering of more dragon secrets and the threat of warfare. […]

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