Thursday, February 8, 2018
Within the Sanctuary of Wings, by Marie Brennan
This book focuses on a later and significant chapter of Lady Trent's career when she goes to her world's equivalent of the Himalayas to investigate a potential new and unknown species of dragon. The problem is that Lady Trent's home country, Scirland, is at war with this world's equivalent of China so aside from the remoteness of the location and the difficult terrain, there are numerous political challenges that have to be overcome as well. However the potential to discover a missing link between ancient dragons raised by the Draconian civilization and modern dragons proves too much of a temptation for Isabella and once Lady Trent sets her mind to something it's basically impossible to stop her, especially when dragons are involved.
The main point of this book is a huge spoiler for not only the book but the series as well, which reveals major information about the Draconian civilization. I will say I'm not sure I'm fully satisfied with how the book ends and I would have liked even more information about the Draconians. I will say it's fairly realistic that we don't have a complete picture for civilizations that disappeared thousands of years ago, which makes the universe feel real, but I felt since this was a work of fiction Brennan could have cheated a little bit to bring more info into the book than what we ended up getting.
My other biggest criticism is I felt like Brennan spends a lot of time on stuff like the scenery to build up the anticipation for the major plot twists. Now, I will admit that this makes sense and Brennan does a good job describing things like village life, the mountains, the difficulties in crossing glaciers, and all the other challenges that Lady Trent and company encounter. I'm sure there are lots of people who enjoy this sort of thing and it's definitely good writing on Brennan's part, but I honestly kind of wished that more time had been spent talking about plot developments than talking about say, how gorgeous the mountains were. But I think this is really a matter of personal taste and I'm willing to admit that I probably have bad taste.
Overall I think this was a good ending for the series. Considering how much time had been spent building up anticipation for the reveal about the Draconian civilization I wish there had been more of a payoff. However, I think Brennan does a good job in creating a realistic world in her novels and making it believable that dragons could be part of an ecosystem. If you're a fan of science and fantasy, these books do a great job of combining the two.