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Review of 'Voyage of the Basilisk'

Brennan continues the exploits of Lady Trent with Voyage of the Basilisk, a magical memoir that may be slow but still engaging.

By Cyn's WorkshopPublished 5 months ago 3 min read

The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan's Voyage of the Basilisk . . .

Devoted readers of Lady Trent's earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed―until now.


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.


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.

  • Writing Quality : 9/10
  • I llustrations: 10/10
  • Character Development : 9/10
  • "Couldn't Put It Down"-ness : 8.5/10
  • Intellectual Depth: 10/10
  • Originality: 10/10
  • Overall Rating: 4 out of 5.

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About the Author

Cynthia Bujnicki graduated from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has always loved to read since she was a child. A contributing writer for YA Fantasy Addicts, she is also the Editor-in-Chief for Cyn's Workshop. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband, son and daughter and their two cats.

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