A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Rate: 3/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers):

Popping on and off my TBR list over the past two years, A Natural History of Dragons was one of those books that hovers at your periphery without conveniently falling into your lap to read. I’d first stumbled across A Natural History of Dragons on a fantastic list of compiled reads that would get you through your ever patient Game of Thrones wait. At this point, I believe I’ve worked my way through the majority of the titles on that list, with each one being a highly rated read, however now I can’t, for the life of me find the original article.  Back to the book at hand, A Natural History of Dragons proved to be a read that holds one’s interest without making putting down the book impossible. With a narrative comparable to The Historian, we are treated to the fictional autobiography of the dragon expert, Isabelle and how she broke social norms to become a renowned researcher. The majority of the book focused on how she came to be a dragon expert, rather than the creatures themselves. In that regard, the bulk of this book was not as I’d expected and seemed to drag. That being said, as the first installment of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, I’m sure with this foundation established, later volumes would focus more on her dragon based adventures that were alluded to throughout A Natural History of Dragons. Brennan wove together an interesting literary world that borrowed elements from the late 1800s with the addition of dragons, though it was incredibly rare to actually see one. I did enjoy the main point of view coming from a strong female character who defied the norms and expectations of society, although the cast lacked the depth that adheres one to their dire dilemmas and fates. Overall, despite an intriguing premise and a grand adventure, more time was spent navigating stiff social mazes than interacting with dragons.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Poor Jacob! It was hinted that he was dead during the narrative, but I didn’t expect him die so soon. They’d hardly bonded or had much in the way of adventure together. Would she had become the world renowned researcher she was if he had lived?
  • I couldn’t decide if I liked Isabelle or disliked her. I waffled on this opinion throughout, with the majority of the time finding her stubbornness frustrating. My lack of connection with the main character is likely why I waiver on continuing this series.
  • Why do dragons decompose so quickly compared to other living creatures?



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