A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
by Marie Brennan.
Right, you thought I could walk by this cover in the library and not pick it up? Ha. This book is a fun little adventure story. The conceit is that it’s told as a memoir, from the point of view of Isabella (Lady Trent), one of the preeminent dragon experts of her day, looking back on her youth and start of her career. It’s a completely fictional world, though Lady Trent’s native Scirland sounds amazingly like Victorian England, right down to tea and Society. Isabella, of course, doesn’t fit in with this polite, superficial world. She is an intellectual, and interested in science and how things work. And she is especially interested in the mystery of dragons, about which very little is known. This first volume of her memoirs details many of her firsts: her first marriage, her first expedition, and her first major discovery about dragons. It’s got romance and adventure and humor and mystery and danger. She is a witty narrator, looking back on some of her youthful opinions with a wiser eye. It’s a fun read, and a relatively quick one. My only complaints are that the end wrapped up rather abruptly, and that Isabella, even as a natural scientist, was a little emotionless at times when she shouldn’t have been. But it’s an interesting read regardless, and I will be picking up the next book.