Tuesday 16 June 2015

The Tropic of Serpents

(June 2015)

A much needed change of pace, this: an engaging protagonist, a decent plot, and some but not too much in the way of tension and peril. It also benefited from being started during an entire afternoon free from parental, academic, or any other kind of responsibilities. I can't remember the last time I just sat down and read a book for three hours straight. Lovely.

So this post will be fairly light on detail and specifics. Not that Serpents falls into the mindless brain-candy category, but extended reading solely for pleasure is something I've not had the luxury of for far, far too long, and I don't intend to sully it by overanalyzing things here. Isabella Trent continues her adventures in a thinly veiled pastiche of the late 19th century British Empire, colonialism and all, and I'd be lying if I said those issues get too thorough of an interrogation (they're definitely acknowledged, but also definitely not the point). And while matters have improved considerably since the first volume, the story does still rely a little too much on coincidence and Isabella's borderline Baueresque plot-enabling foolhardiness. Still, she's a fantastic character, and for all that the world is familiar it is never lazily, and often elegantly, evoked. Also, dragons.

So more of the same, basically, and that's no bad thing. The right book at the right time, and that's all I have to say about that.

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