Review – A Natural History of Dragons

Posted 28 March, 2016 by Nikki in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of A Natural History of Dragons by Marie BrennanA Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan

Reread this ready for the release of the fourth book in April (which I am very excited about and argh, can’t I just have it already?!). I didn’t love this the first time I read it, and now I’m not entirely sure why; I think I found it slow, but this time I tore through it. I guess it helps that I’m already acquainted with Isabella and I know what’s coming, and how straight-up awesome it all is. I described the series in a recommendation as “pseudo-Victorian lady becomes a scholar and takes on the patriarchy”, and that’s a pretty good summary, though it misses out on a lot of the extra stuff — the fine writing, the world-building, the attention to detail.

The thing I loved particularly, reading it this time, was Isabella’s relationship with her father and then later, with her husband. The way her father tries to find a way for her to be happy; the way Jacob slowly learns about her and learns to support her, learns to give her what she needs. The portrayal of Isabella’s periods of depression is great, too; the point isn’t belaboured, but it’s there.

And, you know, dragons. Dragons being studied, for science — the history/archaeology of an older civilisation that seemed to worship them — the glimpses of draconic intelligence and social life.

And despite the Victorian-ish tone of the memoir writing, it’s never boring; Brennan manages to capture the flavour of it without sacrificing fun. I really need to get my own copy of this.

Rating: 5/5

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4 Responses to “Review – A Natural History of Dragons”

  1. I love this series so so so much. Dragons as a part of the natural world around us is such a brilliant idea, it’s a wonder that Brennan was the first to really explore this idea where using natural sciences and ethnography to understand the creatures and the interactions they have with humankind. The books just get better and better too!
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Audiobook Review: Cry Wolf by Patricia BriggsMy Profile

    • Yep! I need to get on with my reread ready for Labyrinth of Drakes. I remember loving the second and third books even more, so I’m pretty confident I’m going to enjoy myself plenty!

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