A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie BrennanA Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Series: Memoir by Lady Trent #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 5th February 2013
Publisher: Tor
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

A Natural History of Dragons is one of those books that you should love. It has pretty much everything you could want: fantasy elements, DRAGONS, a badass main character, some action, a bit of mystery… but for some reason I just couldn’t enjoy it fully. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t love it.

I imagine that part of my enjoyment was sucked away with the way the story was told. As the series title suggests, this book is a (fictional) memoir, written by Lady Trent. It’s the first in a series, and this one tells of how Trent got into the whole dragon thing.

The book very much felt like an introduction to the series, rather than a standalone novel in its own right. You see how Lady Trent’s fascination with dragons developed, and you get an idea of what the start of her career was like, but it all felt very disconnected to me. I think it’s because the story is being told by an older version of Trent, and in this part of the memoir she is in her late teens or early twenties.

Another thing that I wasn’t (somewhat foolishly) expecting was that Lady Trent’s goal is to study dragons for science. There isn’t much action regarding the dragons, and there’s a lot of scientific descriptions of the predators that I just didn’t care for.

I have to give Brennan props though. This did very much read like a memoir, perhaps one set in an alternate history or time where dragons roamed the skies. And the narrator of the audiobook that I listened to did a great job of capturing Trent’s upper class voice and tone.

I can’t decide whether or not to continue with this series, so if you have done so then please tell me your views and experiences with it! It’s one of those books that you read and just forget about, so I don’t want to waste my time if the rest of the series is the same way.

2 comments on “A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

  1. Elizabeth February 8, 2016 7:13 pm

    Loved this review. I was gifted a signed ARC of this title for Christmas. I hadn’t known much about it – I’m a dragon fanatic, which is probably why my husband sought it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Amber. I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Rinn February 14, 2016 6:32 pm

    I also just read this one. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting – I actually enjoyed Isabella’s backstory more than the expedition later on. And I kind of loved the whole 19th century lady explorer vibe…

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