Monday, June 16, 2014

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent is a book that, for me, is reminiscent of the Pride, Prejudice and Zombies in that you have a Victorian England vibe mixed with an element of fantasy that would normally seem out of place. The book is a fun read that had me so invested in the characters that I was yelling at the author not to kill any of them. As my husband pointed out, though, even if that happened, I would still read the next book because it was clear I was invested.

Even though the setting for Natural History feels like Victorian England, the maps in the first few pages clearly show you that it is not. With that in mind, I appreciated that it was still easy to get into this world. When Isabella begins her search for a husband, the rites and rotes of it are explained quickly enough to provide understanding without sacrificing the reader's attention. I also appreciated the narrator's own confusion when discussing problems communicating with Drustanev's natives. It lets the readers know just how the main character is better with science than with people.

On occasion I did find the narrative voice distracting. The main character's narration of her activities as a young woman are filled with notes about past events that are yet to come to her younger self. These left me feeling like there was another book that I was missing out on. They didn't always have relevance to the story and seemed more like either filler or establishing that there would be more books to come. In either case, I'm just glad they were kept to a minimum.

All in all, A Natural History of Dragons is a fun adventure filled with scientific notions and social etiquette. Though the latter is generally disdained. It was a fun read and I'm finding the second book, Tropic of Serpents to be equally as fun, though for different reasons. All in all, I give it four hoots.



  1. I'm intrigued! I've not heard of this book, but thanks to your review, I must seek it out.