Review of ‘Voyage of the Basilisk’

Marie Brennan takes readers back to this wonderful world full of dragons and science with Voyage of the Basilisk, the third novel in the Memoirs of Lady Trent.


Voyage of the Basilisk
Marie Brennan
Tor Books

The Memoirs of Lady Trent read very much like memoirs. This may deter some readers.

Voyage of the Basilisk is no different from the series’ previous novels. But that is what makes them both unique and good.

I don’t read non-fiction, and I’m not a fan of memoirs. However, the subject matter has to interest me to hold my attention. Brennan does that with this series. We’re following Lady Trent on her voyage to research sea dragons, to analyze their migration patterns, and see not only can they be classified as dragons but do artic sea dragons have a relationship to those in the tropics. It is a fascinating read that makes the reader believe that the story is real.

However, it is a slow-moving story. Voyage of the Basilisk markets itself as a memoir, and it does read that way. Are there scenes of extreme action and tension? Of course. Lady Trent is hunting for dragons to study, which gets her into trouble. But that momentum does not maintain itself throughout the narrative. Instead, this is a character-driven piece. Voyage of the Basilisk is a story you read because you are interested in the story of Lady Trent and her exploits. There is some political intrigue and some espionage, but they are not the driving forces of the novel.

Pacing and Movement

While Voyage of the Basilisk has an exciting story, I must reiterate that the story moves at a slow pace. It moves almost like a rollercoaster, going steadily before picking up for some of those high stake moments. It has significant momentum, but the slow pace does encourage a slow pace to read.

So, this is not a book you will read in one sitting. It was not written at a quick pace but rather with a steady hand. This grounds the reader in realism. It makes the story so realistic, which adds to the development of the plot.

There’s also time to get invested in the characters, to see them grow and explore the far reaches of the world. The setting is reminiscent of Victorian England, both in the mannerism of the characters, their tone, language, and societal standards brought to life in this world. So we see how the characters grow, how their relationships deepen, and how Lady Trent deals with being a working single mother to a son after the murder of her husband.

Final Thoughts

Voyage of the Basilisk is a slow read, but it is good. It reads like a memoir, but the world, the realism, the adventure, and, lest we forget, the dragons, make it unique and remarkable from beginning to end.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: February 2, 2016Page Count: 368ppAge Range: 16 & Over
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7509-4Publisher: Tor BooksList Price: $18.99

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