“Be warned, then: the collected volumes of this series will contain frozen mountains, foetid swamps, hostile foreigners, hostile fellow countrymen, the occasional hostile family member, bad decisions, misadventures in orienteering, diseases of an unromantic sort, and a plenitude of mud.”
I found ‘A Natural History of Dragons’ by Marie Brennan just by browsing through bookshelves, and it basically just jumped out at me. With a beautiful front cover and enticing description, I set it in my mind as a book I would read one day. I didn’t buy it that day, and not until literally a year after, but it was one of those books that kept coming up in my mind, calling me to just get to the bookstore and pick up a copy.
‘A Natural History of Dragons’ is the first novel in the Lady Trent series, and follows the life of a girl in a Victorian-fantasy world who wants to study dragons, much to the displeasure of society. Scholarships, and dragons, deemed an unladylike and inappropriate topic in this society. This first novel is an introduction into the incredibly real world of Eriga, dragon naturalism, and the fiery courageous scientist, Isabella Trent.
Simply put, a masterpiece. I loved the writing style of this novel, the plot, and the characters. It is written like a memoir, with the atmosphere of an elderly lady looking back fondly on her life who won’t tell us everything up front. Beautifully written, with a constantly evolving storyline that make you want more. Isabella Trent is an inspiring character, who illustrates the breaking of gender norms with poise and sarcastic, witty humour. The story gets more intricate and compelling in the later volumes. An instant favourite, and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in fantasy, natural history, or dragons.
** Won’t be reviewing the second, third, or fourth, but will review the final book when it comes out in April 2017!