Review of KINDLE Ebook Within the Sanctuary of Wings – Book 5 of The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan #Brainfluffbookreview #WithintheSanctuaryofWingsbookreview #2019TheBacklistReaderChallenge


It’s been far too long since I finished the fourth book in this series, In the Labyrinth of Drakes – and I realised that I had been putting off completing this series simply because I didn’t want all the fun to stop. However, all good things must come to an end…

After nearly five decades (and, indeed, the same number of volumes), one might think they were well-acquainted with the Lady Isabella Trent–dragon naturalist, scandalous explorer, and perhaps as infamous for her company and feats of daring as she is famous for her discoveries and additions to the scientific field. And yet–after her initial adventure in the mountains of Vystrana, and her exploits in the depths of war-torn Eriga, to the high seas aboard The Basilisk, and then to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia–the Lady Trent has captivated hearts along with fierce minds. This concluding volume will finally reveal the truths behind her most notorious adventure–scaling the tallest peak in the world, buried behind the territory of Scirland’s enemies–and what she discovered there, Within the Sanctuary of Wings.

The other issue, of course, is after whisking us around the world, where Lady Trent endured desert, biting cold and torrid jungle in her search for knowledge about the various species of dragons, would this latest adventure managed to measure up to the previous cracking reads? The answer is yes. Now at a stage in her career where her exploits have given her a worldwide reputation, Lady Trent still is not wholly accepted within the scientific circles of Scirland. So while she is constantly in touch with fellow academics, corresponding around the world on the subject of dragons and respected as a leading authority, she is also becoming increasingly restless. Those of you who have read any of these books won’t find it a huge surprise that when reports of the remains of a completely new species come to her attention, she quickly organises an expedition to travel to the inhospitable range of mountains where this frozen corpse was last seen.

I love Lady Trent. She is the embodiment of a host of plucky Victorian ladies who ventured across the globe in long skirts and boned stays on a variety of scientific expeditions that subsequently were often erased from history. Brennan, by now knows her heroine very well, so we can relax into the adventure that befalls her – Lady T is something of a disaster magnet – which also takes the whole series into a completely different direction.

Does this final adventure adequately bring this whole series to a satisfactory conclusion? Oh yes – I thought this culmination of Lady T’s eventful life of scientific exploration was very well handled. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading this delightful series and enjoy the opportunity to read a different sort of book about dragonkind, then this one comes highly recommended. Whatever you do, though, don’t start with this book – go back to the beginning of the series and pick up A Natural History of Dragons see my review here. I only wish that I was also able to turn the page and experience the pleasure of the first book for the first time, again.

20 responses »

  1. It’s good to hear these books were good reads. I’ve always wanted to read them because of the dragons. I look forward to starting the first book soon.

    • Oh yes… this is a joy. Apart from anything else – it’s stunningly original and while it had the scope to be a real mess, Brennan has pulled off a wonderful character in Lady Trent and worked very hard on producing an excellent, detailed world that must have taken her months of painstaking work to have produced to this quality. Certainly one of my all-time favourite series…

    • You certainly can, Tammy. Though if you can bear to pull away for a jot to absorb the detailed worldbuilding and the ramifications of Lady Trent’s adventures – it’s worth doing. This is a gem…

  2. It’s always something of a relief when a series you’ve enjoyed has a satisfactory final installment. I’m pleased you enjoyed this book as much as you did. This isn’t a genre that I tend read these days but I will make a note of it as it does sounds really good.

    • I absolutely love this series – it’s the originality, Lady Trent’s gritted courage and sparkling personality and the enormously detailed worldbuilding… A tour de force:))

  3. Another one of my as-yet-unfulfilled reading projects… (((SIGH)))
    But on the other hand it’s delightful to hear such praise, because I know that some great stories are waiting for me just around the corner 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. This series has been on my radar for years now, ever since I stumbled across the stunning cover of book 1… But, as you can guess, I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I will, though, take your advice of starting at the beginning: while I admire your ability to jump in many series and keep going, my few and between memories of crashing in mid-series usually leave me disappointed. 🙂

    • Oh yes – do start at the beginning of this series! It would be SUCH a shame to miss out on such a wonderful journey. That said, this is a series where a certain amount of time passes between each book, so the narrative timeline isn’t continuous. In my vast experience of crashing into series (often totally unintentionally) I find it works out more satisfactorily when time has elapsed between the books, rather than those where the story arc is unbroken. 🙂

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