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A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (The Lady Trent… (edició 2014)
de Marie Brennan (Autor)
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A Natural History of Dragons de Marie Brennan
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This is not your conventional fantasy novel with high-flying adventure, magic, and epic battles. Marie Brennan has done a wonderful job writing a fictionalized memoir st in a Victorian-like period, by a young woman who has a love for dragons (which are real), and goes against convention to study them. The narrator is an old woman recalling her earlier adventures that led up to her as a respected natural historian. I found the novel refreshing. Brennan is not trying to make a completely likable heroine. The writing is convincing, sharp, whimsical, and beautiful. I would recommend this book for fantasy lovers, admirers of the Regency/Victorian era, or anyone who loves dragons, wants to believe they are real, or are interested in their study! ( )
Everything about this book is amazing. Read it. Now. Heck, read it yesterday. Just read it.
This is the first in a series of books I’ve read that are part of a series. I bought a bunch of books that came first in a trilogy or series and decided to see if I wanted to continue the series. This book is the first from those that I bought.
This book is one of the best examples of low fantasy I’ve ever seen. For those of you not privy to the lingo, there are two kinds of fantasy – low and high. High fantasy is Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, fantasy that takes place in a world that exists outside of ours, such as Middlearth or the Seven Kingdoms. Low fantasy is fantasy that takes place in our world, such as the Harry Potter series. This series if low fantasy at its finest, incorporating elements of Victoriana society with magic.
Well, not really magic. Just dragons.
The world in this series is a world almost exactly like ours, with a lot of Victorian society being exactly as we know it to be from the history books. This society forces expectations onto women that we are familiar with from that era – marry, have children, look after the house, be a lady. But our lovely main character, Isabella, doesn’t want that. Isabella wants to study nature, but specifically she wants to study dragons. She starts young, capturing small dragons and dissecting them, preserving them in jars and taking notes and sketches on them. Her father disapproves, especially when she almost gets killed by a rather large dragon as a teenager, and she eventually has to start ‘conforming’ to society’s expectations of her.
And then she meets Jacob.
Jacob not only wants to give her the life of a lady, but also indulges her interests in the study of dragons. And that leads to them joining an expedition in a far off land to study dragons.
This book is fantastic in so many ways, but it does have a few short comings. For starts, the writing style often felt forced or rather strange and it took me a while to get properly into it. But the amazing story actually makes up for that tenfold.
Another criticism I have is that the book had many opportunities to delve into racism and colonialism as themes and really dig deep into them, but it didn’t take them when I thought it did. However, it did have decent critiques of themes such as society and travel writing, and I can appreciate what she did there.
All in all, this is a fantastic first book in a series, and if the rest of the series are like this book then I am ready for it! I give it a 4/5.
Working at a natural history museum, I do enjoy reading memoirs of real expeditions, and this book is a skillful imitation of that genre. So for that I enjoyed the book. On the other hand I thought the solutions to the two mysteries of the situation, namely
Isabella, Lady Trent, looks back on her eventful life in a series of memoirs, the first of which acquaints the reader with the beginning of her lifelong interest in, and passion for, dragons when a young girl and her life until her marriage to fellow dragon enthusiast Jacob Camherst. By far the largest section of the book is devoted to the expedition to Vystrana in order to study the rock-wyrms in that country's mountains, which she accompanies with her husband and as the group's secretary.
It took me a while to warm to Lady Isabella, especially in the early chapters, with her slightly superior attitude despite occasional mentions of her flaws, but in the end I found her determination and resilience in the face of misogyny admirable and inspiring. Her experiences in Vystrana form a good old adventure tale with a mystery at its core: why have the dragons started to actively attack people?
A minor criticism, as other reviews have already mentioned, is the relative scarcity of dragons, but since A Natural History of Dragons describes only the beginning of Lady Isabella's career as a natural historian, I hope that this will be remedied in subsequent titles in the series. It was good to see the narrative shift slightly at the end of the book from a focus on understanding a dragon's anatomy, physiology and behaviour to natural history that includes conservation, which strongly reminded me of today's efforts to halt the steep decline of wildlife diversity in the natural world. I fully intend to see what her next expedition, to study the swamp-wyrms of Mouleen, will bring.
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Pertany a aquestes sèries
Isabella, Lady Trent, known as the world's preeminent dragon naturalist, writes her memoir detailing 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 dragon discoveries that would change the world forever.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)