Review: Within the Sanctuary of Wings

Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan

Series: Memoirs of Lady Trent
Genre: Fantasy

Maturity Level: 3
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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.

Reviewing book five in a series seems so pointless, because there’s not much to say about this book that I didn’t say about the previous four. It’s in the same vein, no major changes, and a satisfying conclusion to the series.

I will say that the direction Brennan took the plot was a bit over the top for my taste. I didn’t see the major plot twist coming at all, though in hind sight I see how the series was building toward it. All the same, it’s not the direction I would have went, and as such this was probably my least favorite book in the series. Which isn’t to say I didn’t like it, I just liked the other books, especially books 3 and 4, much much better.

Taking the book for what it was, my personal preferences aside, it was superbly crafted. Simultaneously smart and exciting, Brennan captures all the science and all the adventure and blends them together seamlessly. I finally got to a place where I felt I understood the geography of the world and the general politics, and I stopped huffing every time the days of the week and months of the year got a new name. I still adore Isabella, she makes for one heck of a fictional memoirist.

I’m sad this series is over, but so happy that I made the decision to space it out by reading one book a year. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed this series quite so much had I binged it in a week. I love this world, I ADORE the art (both cover and within), and I’m strongly considering buying myself the boxed set for my birthday. I highly recommend this series to anyone who like dragons and/or Indiana Jones.

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