Got a slightly different review this month. First, it’s not from the Nebulas, just one I’ve been looking forward to. Second, it’s an audiobook. Lately I wouldn’t have time to get any books in without audio as an option.
In the Labyrinth of Drakes is the fourth in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan, and I’d say it’s a great continuation of the story. I thought book three was probably the weakest of them, but book four built on what was good about book three, and completely mended the series in my mind.
I picked up the first book in the series because it’s about dragons. Or, rather, an 1800’s-equivalent naturalist woman who studies dragons. The tagline I heard was “if Darwin studied dragons instead of finches.” Which is pretty spot on. These are magical creatures, but animals of the “big, dangerous, and mysterious” variety. The illustrations on the covers of these books are gorgeous; they really set the mood for both scientific discovery and adventure.
Now, if you ever plan on checking this series out, I highly recommend the audio version. And this is regardless of whether or not you have the time to sit and read. It’s all about the narrator. She’s freaking perfect for reading as Lady Trent.
This fourth book finds Isabella in a desert region, researching how to breed of dragons. Tensions are high between countries, and dragons are seen as the key to winning any future conflict. She braves this task with the help of old friends, family, and new allies, but a brutal desert environment and dragonfire aren’t the only dangers she’s up against.
Something else I enjoyed about this book was the romantic angle. “What?! Really?” you ask, with a heavy (and fully justified) dose of skepticism. Look, most of the time I groan and flip to the next scene whenever the lovey-dovey stuff comes up. But this was such a slow build. It’s like the Commander Shepherd and Garrus romance in Mass Effect: a relationship of great friendship and respect that grows stronger until you realize it is love.
There’s only one book left in the Lady Trent series, where I’m guessing all the unresolved tension from this book comes to a head. I’m excited, if a little sad it’s all going to end.
My rating: Devoured! – Like adventure? Dragons? Pick this one up!