In the fourth and final part of The Voyage of the Basilisk, Isabella interferes again (and saves the day again). But it’s always about the work!
“The words I said then are not fit to print…”
We left Isabella and Suhail at the mercy of a sea serpent who was trying to shake them off, and the book’s final section opens with them ending up in a lagoon. On Rahuahane. Because of course they do. I’ve included the quote above because when I read it, all I wanted to know was, in fact, what she said that wasn’t fit to print! And I am not the only Muskedragon who felt that way. We like a good swear, we do. Honestly, Isabella, it’s fine to let out a good cuss every now and then!
This also pinpointed, again, the occasionally teasing nature of the memoir style of writing, particularly with a narrator like Isabella. There are repeated intriguing references to things she never goes into detail about, that I would nonetheless really like to know more about – including her fictitious previous book, which has gotten a few mentions throughout the series so far. I honestly wish this book was real, whether it’s well-written or not – I want to read that too!
In short, hats off to Brennan for her cleverness in making the most of this writing style. I appreciate it so deeply, it makes every reading a joy.
Now, let’s talk about that finale, because OHAI PRINCESS MIRIAM. OHAI ACTUAL FOSSILIZED DRAGON EGGS.
OHAI DRAGONBONE DIRIGIBLE!
I am so fascinated by this invention! It delighted me to see preserved dragonbone being put to a use that wasn’t weaponising it, at least not directly. I mean, the uses to which the Yelangese may well have put it might be questionable, given that it turns out they were attempting to infiltrate the Keongan islands with it, but if there is a way to make use of dragonbone that’s much less wasteful (they use all sorts of bones), perhaps that’s marginally better than hunting dragons for trophies?
But then, they are still Up To No Good, so maybe it’s a moot point. Certainly, I cheered when Isabella and Suhail interfered by stealing it! (That Isabella is such a bad influence, honestly.)
But before we get to that, we get some wonderful scenes out of their inadvertent trip to Rahuahane, where they discover fossilized dragon eggs which, it seems, also just happen to be the source of firestones! Naturally Isabella gets her naturalist geek on over the discovery and promptly steals one, for science; this made me a little bit nervous in a superstitious sort of way. It felt a bit Indiana Jones – I kept worrying that something bad was going to happen.
Happily, nobody got their face melted off. Though Isabella did end up discovering that the sort-of-kidnapped heir to her country’s throne was the reason she and her party were instructed not to go to the other islands, and her act of theft aided by Suhail led to a thrilling chase, a semi-botched daring rescue, and then a pitched battle involving the Yelangese invaders, the Scirling navy, and OH YES A FRIKKIN SEA SERPENT RIDDEN (somewhat desperately) BY ISABELLA.
That last part, by the way, is why this review is called what it is. Apparently one of the things I will never get tired of is people riding giant semi-mythical beasts into battle. Isabella might have finally ruined her own reputation with all of this adventuring, but some of us will love her forever because of it, thankyouverymuch.
So the day is saved, and Isabella is officially commended by her rescued princess and becomes Dame Isabella Camherst, and my heart cannot take this much joy. To think, I once expected not much more than some swoony romantic escapades with some historical-fiction seasoning (and, of course, dragons) from these books, and instead I’ve gotten ALL OF THIS.
And it’s not over yet. (Nor, hopefully, is the potential for swoony romance. There’s still that second – OK, third – marriage to consider. Not to mention Suhail…)
There are two more books left to go, and I’ll be perfectly honest. I don’t want this series to be over! But at the same time, I really, really want to know how things will be resolved, if there is in fact a concrete end to it given that we’ve known from the start that Isabella has survived at least long enough to tell her story in the first place. So one question has at least always had an answer, but I still have so many more!