Book Review: A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Series: The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1
Published by Tor Books on February 5th 2013
Pages: 334

Everyone knows Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. Here, at last, in her own words, is the story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, prospects, and her life to satisfy scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the mountains of Vystrana, where she made discoveries that would change the world.


A Natural History of Dragons was a surprisingly engaging read. I mean… dragons… how can that not be engaging? But I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the mix of historical propriety mixed with dragons. First of all, I loved Isabella’s character – she tried her best to survive in society’s restraints and ended up winning a marriage full of love and mutual interest thanks to her strong personality. Her narrative is simply stunning – I love that even though she is somewhat odd for a woman of her class she has people around her that care for her and do what’s best for her nature.

Her character is a true heroine, one that pushes the boundaries of society and wants more from her life than just tending to household duties. She is brilliant and manages to persuade her husband to allow her to accompany him on a trip to really discover and study dragons – her passion. Even when there are bumps in the road, she keeps a fairly cool head and has to overcome quite a few terrible instances. I wouldn’t think that I would like this type of book, as I rarely read memoir style writing, but I fell in love. With the characters, the world, the dragons and seeing everything from Lady Trent’s eyes was amazing.


A fantastic start to a series, one which blends so many styles and elements fluently that you feel like dragons really should exist.


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