A great thing about these books is that because they all take place in different locations, I find it much easier to remember what happened in each book, and the actual movement of the plot even months later, not something that is common for me anymore. Aging is so fun. I’m glad because this is the last book I read in April and I’m only now getting around to reviewing this.
This book follows Lady Trent’s first expedition as a scholar and a naturalist rather than as a wife of a scholar. Due to travel time and the nature of the work itself, she expects to be away from home for almost two years, and knows she might not come back at all. This time around they’re headed into the swamps of Eriga, and she has her colleague Tom with her, and a young woman named Natalie who is essentially a runaway. (She is ace and she doesn’t want to get married.)
This book is so far my least favorite in the series for how much it leans into the political/diplomatic side of things rather than the adventure and science parts, but it was still really interesting, and the character growth we see in Lady Trent was really satisfying, as she has some hang-ups that are specifically related to the expectations that are placed on her gender and on her as a mother that conflict directly with what she wants most, which is to study dragons. Her relationship with Tom is actually a pretty big focus here, as he grows to respect her and they develop a true friendship.
The dragons aka swamp-wyrms were pretty great, too.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]