Earlier in the year I made the decision to gather all the books I’d started and abandoned, and finish them by year’s end. I finished the second one a week ago today, so I’m a little behind schedule.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s Isabella’s second scholarly voyage, and she’s not the same woman that we’ve seen in the previous installment. In A Natural History of Dragons we see her as a young woman struggling to reconcile her assigned place in the world with her natural curiosity and academic drive. In The Tropic of Serpents, she is matured in some senses, she has a child, and has thrown herself further into academic study.
In the previous book I found it refreshing that Isabella strayed from the rebellious princess archetype and actually made an effort to compromise between being a scholar and a gentlewoman. In Serpents, it’s clear she’s making any attempt possible to leave the “gentlewoman” aspect behind. She faces serious social repercussions for this, but luckily she’s on another continent for most of the story.
My concern is for her son, who at this point feels like an afterthought in the story. While this is to be expected given Isabella’s character, I can’t help but feel that story-wise he is treated more like a loose end. Isabella might as well have had a pet rabbit for all the impact young Jacob has on the story. I hope the next installment gives him more purpose.
^ That link will also take you to my Goodreads page, which is all set up and free of glitches. The next book on my list is Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. I’d actually come within the final chapter of finishing this one, but it’s been so long that I’ll need to start over from the beginning.