A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons

eBook - 2013
Average Rating:
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Marie Brennan begins a thrilling new fantasy series in A Natural History of Dragons, combining adventure with the inquisitive spirit of the Victorian Age. You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart?no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments?even at the risk of one's life?is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . . All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever. "Saturated with the joy and urgency of discovery and scientific curiosity." ? Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on A Natural History of Dragons An NPR Best Book of 2013 At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Publisher: [S.I.] : Tom Doherty Associates, 2013.
ISBN: 9781429956314
Branch Call Number: eBOOK OVERDRI
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

Opinion

From Library Staff

This is Amelia Peabody (Elizabeth Peters) meets Jane Austen if Austen's characters ever left England, went on grand adventures, and had any passion for science. For those who like history, science, and fantasy, it's full of gender role subverting behavior with an indefatigable heroine who's drive... Read More »

Isabella, a young lady from a respectable upper class family, is far more interested in most unladylike pursuits such as conducting field research on dragons than in finding an eligible gentleman to marry or hosting dinner parties. The series includes five novels (A Natural History of Dragons, Th... Read More »


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DBRL_JulieC Aug 08, 2016

Written like a memoir from the equivalent of the Victorian era, this book reads like a scientific journal on the pursuit of knowledge on dragons. It's a bit of a slow start but well worth the read.

CMLReads_Kristin Apr 11, 2016

Lady Trent has never been a typical woman, being altogether too interested in dragons for social acceptability. In spite of disdain for societal norms, she does an excellent job of manipulating them to end up in a position to be able to head off to Vystrana on dragon studying adventures. The beginning of a unique Victorian-like Gaslamp-like series.

librarylizzard Aug 26, 2015

This reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series (independent woman explorer, set in Egypt). I liked the mix of old fashioned speech and attitudes with the novelty of DRAGONS! There are a few touches I especially liked, such as the "sparklings" - small, dragon-like creatures classified as insects (a classification Lady Trent attempts to disprove) - and the names of places and seasons that conjure images of our world, but that belong to another. Highly recommended for the adventurous reader/listener (I listened to the audio version and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of narration).

KateHillier Jun 23, 2015

As much as I enjoyed this (and enjoy it I did) I couldn't help grasping onto these little references of future events. Tell me more! More, I'm sure we shall get since this is the first book in a series. It is set up as Lady Isabella Trent writing her memoirs and this one chronicles her very beginnings (as in childhood) and her very first expedition.

It's a Victorian travelogue by way of fantasy, except the dragons here are not fantastical. They are working within natural laws and Isabella is out to study everything about them in a world that knows very little about them and expects very little of her. She's a woman who knows her calling early and strives all she can to reach it, even unconsciously when she tries to be more of a 'proper' woman for her time and place.

So we have a great environment, a great heroine, and fab writing. It almost reads like the Victorian travelogues I had to read in undergrad. It feels very authentic and very real. I think we have a winner all around here so pick it up today!

a
Argavius117
Jun 10, 2014

Loved it. It managed to be slightly old fashioned but still kept me interested. The dragons certainly helped a lot.

forbesrachel Apr 18, 2014

A magnificent new approach to the much overused topic of dragons. Lady Trent recounts her adventures with dragon-kind in the manner of a memoir and instructional guide to academics. She approaches her study though scientific inquiry, seeking to learn about their physiology, behaviour, and habitat. In this world, dragons are not magical creatures, they are real, and bound by the same natural laws that effect us. To remain true to this realism, her abilities are kept to the plausible. Certainly she is bold, but having lived a comfortable life, she is ill-equipped to handle the harshness of her first journey.

The setting, social conventions, and language are similar to Victorian England. By their standards, Lady Trent is quite eccentric, especially when she accompanies her husband and their mutual friend into the backwater Vystrana mountains. Curiosity leads her down many a dangerous path, but even for such a risky pursuit, she remains determined to learn all she can. Her independence, and intelligence provides a fascinating perspective of this world.

Disgruntled villagers, and mysterious occurrences plague this groups attempts to study these wondrous beasts. There is much more than meets the eye though, and because of this Lady Trent's course in life is to be forever changed. A Natural History of Dragons is just the first of her adventures, and as she so often hints at, there is much more to be learned.

j
julia_sedai
Apr 01, 2014

I loved this book so much because it was like reading a novel about the Victorian era except that there are dragons added. Everything is really similar, although the author makes it a different world. It is so interesting. I am excited to read the sequel. I think Marie Brennan is a very clever author.

c
ctpete
Jul 01, 2013

A fun read! Think Amelia Peabody with dragons.

n
nerowolfgal
Jun 28, 2013

What a delightful book! Written by as a memoir by the first "lady naturialist" recounting how she became an expert in dragons. The voice of Lady Trent is intelligent, witty and refresingly brash. Her tale of the difficulties in being an intelligent woman of the "proper" upperclass let alone being interested in something as "unladylike" as dragons is both perceptive and funny. The writing is crisp, the story gallops along and you will finish the book hoping that Lady Trent is writing her next memoir right this minute. Think of it as Jane Austen with dragons.

s
SusanWilbanks
Jun 23, 2013

A charming fantasy novel set in a world reminiscent of our 19th century.

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