Author: Marie Brennan
For those who follow my reviews and noticed a patchiness in my posting of late, I apologise, I’ve been dealing with a couple of technical difficulties. I lost a reading device to old age and internet troubles have kept me from posting the backlog of paperback reviews I’ve built up. Thanks for being so patient with me, hopefully, this will be the end of the problem. On to the review!
I’ve been anticipation reading Voyage of the Basilisk for some time now. I was utterly in love with both its predecessors and have been saving this for an occasion where I need a serious reminder of why I love reading, and it has not disappointed.
This series baffles me though, because I can’t think of another series that could construct its narrative so strangely and still be a success. You see, all the ‘plot’ that is to say anything with an over arching impact on the series, setting the impact of general enjoyment aside for the moment, is delegated to a maximum of the last 10% of the book in each novel of the series so far.
This is not a criticism, more something that simply amazes me, as I imagine if another less skilled writer attempted it the result would be, to describe it charitably, really bloody irritating. The narrative decision is even more evident in The Voyage of the Basilisk in particular as Isabella (Lady Trent) is, surprise surprise, on a voyage and the narrative is given in a pocket of interest style.
But it is impossible to dislike this book, no matter what you consider most important in a narrative, that is to say; style, world building, character development, sheer excitement in the delivery of set pieces.
The style, for returning fans, is nothing new; it is the continuation of the memoirs as told from the first-hand perspective of celebrated dragon naturalist Isabella Camhurst.
World building is a more general but larger glossary in Voyage, as this time round Isabella isn’t staying in one place, and I absolutely loved all the travel. Honestly, if Brennan released a work devoted entirely to the modern history of Lady Trent’s world as an audio book exclusive recited by the world’s most boring man I’d still buy it.
As for the set pieces, Isabella comes across they are fantastic, as I’ve said, very few attribute anything to the over arching plot; if you consider that to be the politics of what’s happening in this series. However if you consider the plot to be ‘have the best time you possibly can’ then yes, every single event contributes heartily. I won’t spoil because I’m going to recommend you read this yourself, but if treacherous sea voyages, flying machines and dragon riding appeal to you (and if they don’t I’m going to assume you’re the person narrating the audio exclusive I mentioned above), then you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.
Then lastly there is the Lady Trent herself, returning readers, be assured she hasn’t wavered in her fabulousness, for new comers let me simply say that Isabella is an irresistible character, she’s the epitome of pragmatism, until it comes to her intellectual obsession with Dragon’s, at which point you might call her mad. As an example; she nearly drowns, and her immediate reaction is to curse that it caused her to miss a dragon sighting.
So to returning readers, yes, the adventure is worth continuing. To newcomers, go back and read A Natural History of Dragons, the first in this series, not because you won’t understand, I’m pretty sure you could start at Voyage if you were so inclined. But why would you want to spoil this series for yourself when everything about it has been enthralling and of nothing but the highest quality, so you might as well enjoy the lot?