Book Review: The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan


Author: Marie Brennan

Publisher: Titan Books

Genre/s: Fantasy

The Tropic of Serpents is set several years after the first book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, and features an expedition to Eriga. Lady Trent and her companions intend to study different dragon species, like the swamp-wyrm that is native to the region.

I’m in love with the overall feel of this series. I’m always reminded of nineteenth-century adventure novels detailing Brits who head out to explore exotic or obscure locations. The reader is really drawn into the world, even more so in The Tropic of Serpents because the swamp setting is so immersive – it’s full of danger and mystery. I loved learning about the various cultures and races that were introduced in this one. Even though they’re completely fictional, they’re portrayed so well that The Tropic of Serpents feels just like a real life travel memoir. I said the same for the first book, and it’s no different here.

We get to know Isabella on an entirely different level in The Tropic of Serpents. Her feelings of grief and resentment, relating to her son and motherhood, are explored in great detail. I really respect Marie Brennan for giving us a main character who struggles with motherhood and doesn’t feel fit to be a ‘traditional’ mother because she has a career and intellectual ambitions. Considering the gender norms of the society Lady Trent lives in, it’s a really interesting and engaging theme to explore.

Marie Brennan’s writing is, as always, fantastic, and she really knows how to get into character. Lady Trent’s voice is spot on. She’s intelligent, snarky at times (which makes for some great comedic moments), and self-assured. I mentioned this in my previous review, but I love this series because it draws you in with fantastic characters, as well as a sense of mystery and intrigue. So even though there isn’t action on every page, there’s always something to keep you hooked. It’s so refreshing, the world is so vivid and the character’s struggles so real. I can’t wait to read the third instalment.


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