A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1)

a-natural-history-of-dragonsEveryone knows Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. Here, at last, in her own words, is the story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, prospects, and her life to satisfy scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the mountains of Vystrana, where she made discoveries that would change the world.

Published 5th February 2013

334 pages

Should read – 4 stars

Read from 7th to 10th February

So this will probably be quite short. I did enjoy this but it’s hard to sort of explain why because it feels like non-fiction and I struggle sometimes to write about that genre.

So this is like a surreal fantasy of a woman that has studied dragons for her entire life and then in her older age has decided to write about her past adventures and the things she went through and discovered. I first thing that drew me to this was the cover because it is incredible and beautiful but it made me wonder what it could be about. So it drew me in because it is written as if dragons are just another species to be scientifically discovered.

The way this is written feels so much like non-fiction just that it’s set in a fantastical world but there’s no magic, just dragons seem to exist.

The book focusses on the early life of Isabella and how she came to build her fascination with dragons and then her getting involved in her first expedition. It feels like its set in an alternative Victorian world where explorers and scientists went out for the first time to study and that it was mostly earls and lords that did so. It is also holding of the opinion that women are the lesser sex but we have Isabella that pushes those boundaries and finds a husband that loves her intelligence and allows her to explore that side of her.

The story falls into more of a mystery and it becomes greater than just the dragons. It explores the human element and the difficulties associated with essentially entering into an unknown culture. The plot was not smooth, it misled the reader and Isabella missed some of the main explanations so I found myself waiting for it to eventually play out. That is why I knocked a star off of my rating because I loved everything else about this story.

I am hoping that things will grow in the previous books because the author clearly has a clear idea of where she wants to take things and gives us little snippets of the future stories and how her life developed.

The best part about this book (apart from the dragons because they’re awesome) was the writing. I adored the style it was written in and the way that Isabella’s voice came through the story. It was written as if toward the reader and it made it feel so real. So many things happen in this story and when bad things happen you really feel for the characters.

We basically had three main characters and they were ok. I really liked her husband Jacob but the other two were sort of there and you could see the tension between the group. It was not a natural fit but they all felt very distinct and as such I think it made it feel so authentic that I really wanted to be in that world.

I really haven’t heard much about this series or this book but seriously people should pick it up. It does feel like an adult fantasy but there isn’t anything that young readers cannot read. There isn’t much graphic or sexual content it is just discussed.


Does anyone think they’ll pick this up? Thanks for reading!

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