Friday, December 27, 2013

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

Notions too mad for another to take seriously are the very notions I seize upon and enact, often in the most organized and sensible fashion

Why I read this book?

This was the main pick for the Sword and Laser bookclub for the month of December. It seemed to be a nice mix of women in science and dragon fantasy and boy did it deliver!

What is the book about?

The book is told in the voice of Isabella Hendemore, a naturalist at heart who discovers very early in her life that 1. She loves science and 2. She loves dragons. These two things are not the ideal pastimes of a proper lady from Scirland. Is through her love of dragons that she will meet her husband and afterwards they will go on an expedition to study her beloved creatures.

What about the main character?

Isabella is a very strong willed woman, a scientist who grew up in a time and a society that this was not "normal" for a young lady. There is sweetness in her that sometimes reads like naïveté about the world. I don't know if she is supposed to know this about herself, but the character for sure uses it to her advantage. What I love the most about this character is that, since she is writing after retirement, you will find comments such as "oh, my editor won't like this, but I will put it anyway" and that for me makes a character that is been round and about and no longer cares about preconceptions.

Final Thoughts

I've read a lot of reviews saying that the book didn't have enough action. I will have to agree with them, and I guess that the first assumption with a dragon book is that there will be action and flying and fire blazing. If that's what you are looking for, this is not a book for you. However, with a title as "Natural History" I was not expecting that so I did enjoy the book quite a bit. I loved the drawings! The turn of events (that I will not discuss you guys, no spoilers!) really caught me off guard and I was honestly sad with it. This is a series I would like to continue for sure; I think is a new way of visiting a world full of dragons and I think Brennan did a great job giving a voice to Isabella.

I am- and was, even then- a scientist. When I find myself with an uncertain theory, my impulse is to gather evidence that will prove it or disprove it.


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