This is the second book in this series, and it’s similar to the first one in that it has the same charming Victorian-ish voice. It differs from the first book in that it takes place in a vastly different climate and culture (pseudo African instead of pseudo European) and slightly different dragons.
The dragons, alas, take a very long time to show up. They are halfway through the book before they even see one. I can imagine that’s what a real naturalist exhibition would be like, in terms of tooth to tail ratio, lots and lots of planning and journeying until you see a single specimen you’ve gone to see. I didn’t mind so much, but I could see why some might be annoyed.
I like the nitty-gritty details of this, the way that politics always gets intertwined with science. I like the description of the mud and the food and the heat and the insects and all the other daily indignities that would make living in the tropics an adventure. Some of the illustrations were nice, and on occasion even helped my understanding of the story (the island in the middle of the waterfall, for example).
Even though it took a long time to get started, I enjoyed this book. The politics weren’t as confusing as in the previous one, and I enjoyed how the different nations and peoples had conflicts and complications. There was one part that did bother me. (view spoiler)[ It doesn’t make sense that a dragon should rely on people to distribute its eggs. It just struck me as implausible. (hide spoiler)]
I do like the story, and the voice, and I’ll probably be reading the next one before too long.