Reviews

A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan

angharadmair's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

my heart is so heavy with pain

tisme's review

Go to review page

3.5

I really liked the writing style and the idea of having a fictitious biography. I must also say that lady Trent and her commentary on her past self is pretty funny throughout.
The lore was also pretty good in this book.
The only negative I have is that it felt slow moving at times, as it really just covered her one expedition and I would have wished for a bigger time frame/ span of her life in one book.

hforsythe26's review

Go to review page

adventurous reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75

questionablyvexed's review

Go to review page

adventurous inspiring mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

samwescott's review

Go to review page

4.0

I really enjoyed this book. While I understand the common complaint about the lack of dragons, I found the framework of observational study to be really interesting. I love the idea of reading a story about the methodical, scientific study of dragons. It's realistic fantasy, as much of an oxymoron as that may seem.

I would describe the style as Victorian Lite. It reads a bit too modern and casual to be straight up Victorian, but the author does a good job taking inspiration and then developing her own thoughts, much like she does with the various countries of this fictional universe.

Highly recommend for people who want to try a different kind of fantasy and don't mind something a little silly.

viiemzee's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

This is the first in a series of books I’ve read that are part of a series. I bought a bunch of books that came first in a trilogy or series and decided to see if I wanted to continue the series. This book is the first from those that I bought.
This book is one of the best examples of low fantasy I’ve ever seen. For those of you not privy to the lingo, there are two kinds of fantasy – low and high. High fantasy is Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, fantasy that takes place in a world that exists outside of ours, such as Middlearth or the Seven Kingdoms. Low fantasy is fantasy that takes place in our world, such as the Harry Potter series. This series if low fantasy at its finest, incorporating elements of Victoriana society with magic.
Well, not really magic. Just dragons.
The world in this series is a world almost exactly like ours, with a lot of Victorian society being exactly as we know it to be from the history books. This society forces expectations onto women that we are familiar with from that era – marry, have children, look after the house, be a lady. But our lovely main character, Isabella, doesn’t want that. Isabella wants to study nature, but specifically she wants to study dragons. She starts young, capturing small dragons and dissecting them, preserving them in jars and taking notes and sketches on them. Her father disapproves, especially when she almost gets killed by a rather large dragon as a teenager, and she eventually has to start ‘conforming’ to society’s expectations of her.
And then she meets Jacob.
Jacob not only wants to give her the life of a lady, but also indulges her interests in the study of dragons. And that leads to them joining an expedition in a far off land to study dragons.
This book is fantastic in so many ways, but it does have a few short comings. For starts, the writing style often felt forced or rather strange and it took me a while to get properly into it. But the amazing story actually makes up for that tenfold.
Another criticism I have is that the book had many opportunities to delve into racism and colonialism as themes and really dig deep into them, but it didn’t take them when I thought it did. However, it did have decent critiques of themes such as society and travel writing, and I can appreciate what she did there.
All in all, this is a fantastic first book in a series, and if the rest of the series are like this book then I am ready for it! I give it a 4/5.

xandypp's review

Go to review page

4.0

3.5 stars rounded up

aeris7's review

Go to review page

adventurous relaxing slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

3.5

ophiliae's review

Go to review page

5.0

This book brought me much joy, as expected

nellybly's review

Go to review page

3.0

A Natural History of Dragons is the first in a series of novels recounting the adventures of Lady Trent, or Isabella, as she is known in this first book. She is a fascinating character that is bogged down by the expectations of her time, and rebels against them all in the name of science.

If you are looking for a story about epic dragon battles, then this is not the book for you. Our protagonist is a scientist and approached her research that way. That being said, this book is a bit dry at times. I enjoyed it enough and would like to read more of Isabella’s life, so I will definitely continue the series.