I do not get to say this often, so please listen well. I actually like the second book better than the first.
The fact of the matter is, though Tropic of Serpents is written in the exact same style as Natural History of Dragons and has two of the same characters, it is its own story. It takes place in, what has to be, the geological opposite of the last book. Goodbye cold Vystrana, hello hot and muggy Eriga. The two characters from the first book have matured significantly in the three years interim. And the new breeds of dragons of just as intriguing as the rock-wyrms of Vystrana.
In all honesty, I find this more mature Isabella to be significantly more relatable. Worries about her son holding her back. Worries about never being taken seriously for her own scientific work. These are concerns that still plague women, though not always as obviously as they are for Isabella. I also found that I was yelling at the main character less than I did in the first book. She made significantly fewer silly mistakes and was more prone to thinking before acting.
Another aspect of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed was the unforeseen consequences of trying to do the right thing. The main characters are always trying to do the right thing and it almost always comes back to bite them in some way or another. Many of these ways are only obvious in hindsight. Others are obvious from the get-go but only cause rumors and gossip that any person strong enough can rise above. Seriously, once Isabella and Natalie traded in dresses for pants, there really was no falling back on the "what will people think" excuse. I LOVED that.
Overall, this is a wonderful book with a never tiring or boring story. It has thrilling adventure, light comedy, quick wit, and everything you could hope for in a romance story. I'm giving this book 5 Hoots!