In the Labyrinth of Drakes, by Marie Brennan

Review copy provided by the author. Full disclosure: she is also a personal friend.

I don’t see any reason that you wouldn’t want to go back and read all the books in this series. A Natural History of Dragons is the first one, and it’s a good one, so: you can start there! It’s fine! But while I am usually a fan of reading things in their proper order, now that I’m an adult and live in a state with good libraries and mostly can, and while there are elements from this book that carry over from the previous ones, I think that actually it would be a perfectly reasonable book to read if you don’t have the others to hand to start with.

So. In case you weren’t with us for the previous three books: this is a quasi-Victorian lady who is a dragon naturalist, traveling the world having adventures and making thrilling discoveries about Dragons: How Do They (And Their Biology) Work. There are also discoveries about related species, about archaeology, about various cultures of her world, unwanted forays into human politics that Isabella (Lady Trent) finds annoying…but mostly there is dragon naturalism. Lots and lots of dragon naturalism.

(I was going to say that this is not to be confused with dragon naturism but I don’t recall a single one of the dragons wearing pants, so you know what? Knock yourself out, dragon naturism too.)

This one is a desert setting, with Isabella teaming up with locals to figure out dragon breeding in captivity if in fact it can be figured out at all. Gossip from at home and abroad plagues her and must be…dealt with. She is set upon by foreign spies and difficulties with logistics. Will she prevail? Well. Sorta. That’s the book, right there. There’s one more left to go, and I think there was snow foreshadowing for it in this one. At least I hope so….

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