Within the Labyrinth of drakes (Memoirs of Lady Trent book 4) by Marie Brennan
Rating: Three stars
Lady Isabella has been missioned by Scirland army to try to breed dragons. She is of to Akhia with her loyal and fellow Tom. There she makes some important discoveries and is reunited with some friends….
And Lady Trent is back ! Now you all know how I have been raving about that series. BUT (*Beware rant ahead*) something was bothering me in that book.
The relationship between Suhail and Isabella. Okay let’s address this major issue, because a few fellow bloggers already mentioned that they thought 21st centuries views were applied to Victorian society in this series, and I did saw a bit of that in the other books but *kof* I was distracted with dragons…
Well the “problem” in this book was that for once dragons were not at the center, well at least that’s how I felt. I think 20% is actual dragon and dragon studies (along with other creatures), 20% is Draconean ruins 30% is politics and ethnics and the rest is Suhail and Isabella….
At least that’s how I felt.
So Isabella and Suhail are trying to act “as society” expect them too, mainly so that they won’t have rumors spreading. And I thought that for the first time Isabella was acting like a “normal” Victorian women. But big problem they marry. They are records of English man marrying Indian women but English women marrying Indian man is much less present (and I cannot even think of an example). But aside from that, which to be honest might be me ignoring some historical facts (but I seriously never saw that in any sources), the whole problem is the wedding itself.
Let’s go back to history classes, Victorian era marriages are the achievement of a courting period (like animals) which okay book 3 might be that as well as Isabella giving Suhail the rubbing of the Cataract stone. But the problem is that she shouldn’t see him without an escort, in this book it was mainly her brother. Now that’s the most problematic point, Andrew’s characterization. He is a soldier, educated in a respectable house therefore he should know all the rules. BUT he is the one who arranges Suhail and Isabella to meet by themselves! Moreover, Suhail never asks Andrew for Isabella’s hand. And he is totally okay with it…..
I know that Isabella is not a typical Victorian era women (with her views on gender role who are border lining feminism aka 20th century thoughts) but that part of the book really bothered me.
Also why put a love story? The interesting part of Isabella’s story is the fact that she is independent and she is considered more as a man. WHY MARRY HER AGAIN????
Okay rant over.
Besides that particular point I really enjoyed the book, a pity really because I think that if Isabella was thinking less about Suhail and how to behave around him, the book wouldn’t have any boring parts…
Now, I already talked in my last review how Mary Brennan use piece of Ancient Egypt history to build her Draconean civilization, I mean in this book they talk about the cataract stone and surprise there is such a stone in Ancient Egypt history (discovered in Semna). I could detail all the parallels one can make between Ancient Egypt and Draconeans but I don’t want to bore you guys xD
Anyways, I still appreciate a good chuck of the book so I will definitively finish this series, how about you guys? What are your thoughts on Lady Trent’s character? Do you like it when history is applied to fantasy?