A Natural History of Dragons [book review]

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 out of 5, I’m in love!


Key Aspects…

  • Dragons
  • Fantasy ‘History’
  • Intelligent Women
  • Beautiful Drawings
  • Intense Worldbuilding
  • Natural History

“YOU, DEAR READER, CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK. IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART NO MORE SO THAN THE STUDY OF DRAGONS ITSELF… FROM SCIRLAND TO THE FARTHEST REACHES OF ERIGA, ISABELLA, LADY TRENT IS KNOWN 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 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 AND NATURAL HISTORY 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 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.” ~ BLURB FROM AMAZON.CO.UK

Do you enjoy adventure and action packed pages with the added spice of fantasy thrown in? Do you also enjoy non fiction books and natural history? Then this is the book for you… written in the style of a memoir of natural history, A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, and the rest of the Lady Trent Memoirs, recount the life of Lady Trent as she embarks on missions across the world in her career as a dragon naturalist.

Book One covers Isabella’s first ever expedition abroad to Vystrana, to research Rock-Wyrms in the mountains, with her husband and team. At this point in the world’s history not much is known about dragon kind, but all this begins to change as Isabella conducts research with her peers and discovers new insights into the creatures habits. But all is not as it seems in Vystrana and Isabella and her peers find themselves in many moments of danger, not only concerning dragons, but people as well.

I loved this book so much that it has in fact become my new favourite –  the spot of ‘favourite’ on my bookshelf has FYI not changed in over seven years of obsessive reading and book hoarding… until now. I read it in a matter of hours, staying up into the late hours of the night to finish it… because there were only 100 pages left… and I just had to know what happened. It got its hooks into me right from the very beginning and still hasn’t let go to this day. I immediately bought the other 4 books in the series after finishing A Natural History of Dragons ~ The Tropic of Serpents [2], Voyage of the Basilisk [3], In The Labyrinth of Drakes [4], and Within the Sanctuary of Wings [5]. 

There are a few illustrations dotted about within the novel that depict different events that Isabella sketched at that time of her life, adding a layer of realness in the story – there are also maps at the beginning of each book to show the different areas of the world and they are absolutely beautiful.

It was such an exciting read and to be honest I was rather sad when it came to an end. It made me laugh, it made me cry on odd occasion and it made me ache for a world that doesn’t exist – it would be an extraordinary adventure to be able to venture into unknown lands with Lady Trent and learn about these mystical creatures. I highly recommend the whole series!

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