Voyage of the Basilisk is the third book in the Lady Trent Memoirs. It’s a five part series of books about a female anthropologist who studies dragons in the Victorian Age. If you’re looking for a story to read that has a female protagonist fighting for the fair treatment of women, I highly recommend this series. There are a few parts that I find as mild let downs, but overall this series is great! Marie Brennan brings her personal knowledge of anthropology, archaeology, and folklore to bear in creating this wonderful world.
Before I get to reviewing Voyage of the Basilisk, I’ll point out that last year I read the first two books in the series, and since that was before this blog, allow me to give you a brief run down. The first book, A Natural History of Dragons focuses on the childhood and first real adventure of Lady Trent. It shows her fight against sexism in the scientific and scholarly communities and it shows a woman who follows her passions, wherever they may lead. The second book, Tropic Of Serpents, shows Lady Trent’s second adventure, wherein we learn just how bad she is at politics and some of the difficulties being a female adventure in a masculine world I’ve never before seen in a book, but is very true to real life.
There is one downside to the fact that this series is written as memoirs, and that is the very fact that memoirs are often written with allusions to things that happen in the future (at least from the perspective from where you are in the story). And that happens a lot in these books. Despite that, Steph and I still like the series enough to recommend the books, but we do warn that the first two books are a bit slow to develop, but the plots get stronger with each passing book and the adventures kick off much faster in the latter books.
Now on to the review.
Voyage of the Basilisk begins with the action taking place as early as chapter two. Lady Tent goes on an exciting sea adventure to study all kinds of dragons across the world. She faces challenges at nearly every turn and meets some fascinating characters.
This is easily my favorite book in the series, and I am struggling with what to say to get you excited about this book while also not revealing too much of the plot. What I can say is this, Lady Trent navigates the great seas, visiting several nations to see their specific breeds of dragons. Along the way she learns to swim, swims with many sea creatures, and meets my favorite character in the series! (Which I say having read all five at this point, expect the last two reviews in the coming weeks.) We also get to see her raising her son as a single mom with a career and learning life lessons.
Based on her writing style, I think this book is a perfectly fine book to read even if you haven’t read the first two. It might be a bit harder to follow all of her allusions, but she often describes the scenes she’s referring to, even though she’s already written about them previously. Give this book a read!
Overall, I give this book 5 stars.
Up next: The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer