Review. Marie Brennan, A Natural History Of Dragons

Coverbuy and a trustworthy recommendation. That’s what made me put A Natural History Of Dragons on my wishlist. Cause granted, while the blurb never really put me off, it didn’t turn me on either. So it was just sitting there on my wishlish, waiting to be bought after I had purchased the books wich made me giddy with excitement. Luckily, the boyfriend thought otherwise and bought it for my birthday cause – and I quote – “It seemed much more interesting than all the other fantasytrash you’re buying and reading”. Why yes, I love you too..

Everyone 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.

The plot is more than the blurb would like you to believe and because of that, it does the book quite a disservice. There is a difference between not revealing too much about the plot and pretending the book is an academical piece of writing by a fictional scientist on a fictional species. At least, that is how I perceived it. But it couldn’t be further from the truth, so to speak. While this is a fictional memoir chonicling the happenstance in the early life of Lady Trent, it is also a tale of mystery, politicking and excitement. Above all, it’s lots of periodical drama and hilarity. What about that, blurb?
Marie Brennan does a great job of weaving a tale that questions the position of women in society and brings two very different cultures together. On top of that, ancient beliefs are colliding with science. All this in just some years of Isabella Trent’s life.
Isabella is the perfect protagonist for a story like this. She is blundering through society like an elephant in a porcelain shop and while pretending to conform, she could care less and at times this attitude shows. Isabella is the star of this novel and the other characters merely make her stand out even more. That is not to say that they are useless, but it’s clear whom it’s all about. The relationship with her husband also resonates well with me. It was nice to see a romantic relationship that had a foundation in friendship and a mutual interest. It’s a far cry from the insta-love and other superficial relationships in novels and on television, based on looks and sexual interest alone.
The cherry on top, though, was the writing. For me, the writing in books like these is make or break. It has to convince me, and here it did. It was very sophisticated without trying too hard and I believed it was written back then.

Beautiful on the outside and within, that pretty much sums up A Natural History Of Dragons. This was a very pleasant read and the two sequels are evidently already shining on the shelf. Cause if Isabella doesn’t change her ways, the best is yet to come.

★ ★ ★ ★

Sign up for Lady Trent’s adventure here!

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