The Politics of Dragons

The follow up to The Natural History of Dragons is called The Tropic of Serpents and is by Marie Brennan. It follows Lady Trent as she goes on to Eriga to research dragons. Newly widowed and with child, Isabella finds herself wanting to go on an adventure again.

Unfortunately, things do not go to plan she goes to Eriga but is swept up into a political minefield. Unlike the previous book, this one focuses on politics more than the dragons. The book is slow going, and so little is focused on dragons which makes it far less interesting. Even so, it is nice to see how the mindset of Isabella change and she starts to develop skills that will become useful later in her life.

Photo by Craig Adderley on

What I Like

I like the style of the writing, it being a memoir of a naturalist researching a mythical creature. Rather than the dragons being entities of evil they are just like any other animal, trying to survive on Earth while also trying to keep out of the way of humans as they continue to spread out. It is unlike anything I have read prior to the previous book and is still very intriguing.

“Give me dragons any day; I understand their ways far better than those of my fellow human beings. We make our world much too complicated”

Lady Trent

This book does also highlight the troubles are ancestors had when trying to explore new worlds (Africa, America, and Australia) not only being with the wildlife but also the humans and their different cultures. It has opened my eyes to maybe reading more memoirs but from real explorers. It also goes into details on how each specimen would have been recorded in Victorian times and how preservation of bones was important.

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What I Did Not Like

I did not like the shift of focus away from dragons to humans. There is enough books and other forms of entertainment that focuses on us. However, it does set up other books in the series so that they do not need to focus so much on the politics. Hopefully, this is the case, and if it is, I can forgive this book in the series. I hope for the sake of the series that this is the worst in the series, and if it is this will become one of my most loved series since Harry Potter.

“Would that I were a man,’” I said, quoting Sarpalyce’s legend. “Except that I do not wish I were a man. I only wish that being a woman did not limit me so.”

Lady Trent

Another factor that I hope disappears in the next book is the gender discrimination, as soon as Isabella escapes “Western” Civilisation (I use the term Western lightly as their cultural is very similar to the Western World) she realises that both genders are treated equally in any other civilisation. What I have realised is that I am probably getting over saturated with sexist views since reading The Da Vinci Code where the feminine is besieged by man.

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Final Thoughts

If you have not read the first book, then you will not enjoy this one, since this is more to do with character-building rather than anything happening. If you have read the first book, you should try to get through this book as quickly as possible as I am sure the next books pick up the pace and focus on the main material. For that reason, this book gets an average, 3 out of 5 stars. Let us see where the next memoir takes us.

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