A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

12974372A Natural History of Dragons is a different dragon book than many others. In this book dragons are considered more from the biological perspective rather than as powerful and amazing creatures of fantasy and magic (you could pretty much guess it form the book cover).

It is the first book in the Memoir by Lady Trent series and introduces us to Isabella, who is a dragon enthusiast in times when women should not indulge in science. But it does not stop her. With some encouragement from her father Isabella finds the right husband who shares her passion for dragons. After a personal tragedy she starts to put her time in examining the local species of dragons and, eventually, her hard work pays off. She joins an expedition to Vystrana, and so her journey begins.  Vystrana holds many secrets, and is not the most welcoming place for strangers, but it has a huge impact on Isabellas life – adventures, solving mysteries and new scientific findings make this journey very dangerous and special.

The story is told from Isabella’s perspective as she tells about her childhood and youth. The language has interesting elements and the author has created a new world, where dragons are as common as many other animals in our world. Some parallels could be made to characteristics of Europe/Russia from the semantic likeliness. The dragons, which are creatures not very well known to human kind, play the key role in this book. The lack of knowledge about the species is clearly marked, and Lady Trent plays a significant role in filling in the gaps.

I liked the book mostly for it’s honesty and the strong female character, which is strong in a natural way – she is emotional and has weaknesses but puts a lot of effort to overcome them. The story is in retrospective and marks the flaws in actions as well as reveals the emotional struggles of being a woman in a strange land. I also like the language and style of this book. It was a relatively fast read. I did not really liked the ending. Actually, the last 50 pages or so were kind of a blur. It seemed hasty and I was not excited about killing off a character at the end. Nonetheless, I want to read the next book in the series and rate this book by 9 out of 10. I would recommend it to anyone, who likes dragons or adventure stories.

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