"A Natural History of Dragons" review


Title: A Natural History of Dragons

Author: Marie Brennan

Subgenre: Adventure, Victorian, Science fantasy

2021 Bingo squares: Genre guide, First person, Forest setting, Genre mashup, “{Blank} of {Blank}”

Recommend: Yes

Stars: 4/5


A Natural History of Dragons is a nice opener to a series that I have not yet continued, but I’ve heard gets much better. It’s narrated by a much older Lady Trent, looking back at her childhood and early adulthood, and the majority of the appeal is her narrative voice rather than the story, though the story is acceptably enjoyable as well. Lady Trent, then known as Isabella, is obsessed with dragons. She wants to study them, to observe them, to draw them, to understand them.

Yes, we shot a dragon.
I find it fascinating that so many people take exception to this.

Isabella does science: Expect some detail of dragon dissections and the like, though most of the novel concerns her adventures and life experience, including her courtship of Jacob Camherst (it’s very sweet). There’s also some mystery - where is Jindrik Gritelkin? - quite a bit of culture shock, and some dragons.

This novel can be read as a standalone if you want, but the series is supposed to get significantly better, and I plan to eventually continue it; when I do, I’ll review the rest.

Cover of A Natural History of Dragons

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River is a MediaWiki developer and admins Leaguepedia. This blog contains her fantasy novel reviews.