Series: Memoir by Lady Trent #1
Published by Macmillan Audio, Tor Books on February 5, 2013
Genres: Adult SFF, Fantasy
Length: 10 Hours 16 minutes
Narrator: Kate Reading
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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.
Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.
A Natural History of Dragons was quite the unexpected read. Being the start of a fictional set of memoirs of Lady Isabella Trent. The title of this book is actually the title of another book featured heavily in her memoirs of being what inspires Isabella’s lifelong love of dragons. Upon starting this book I was immediately captivated by Isabella’s story and her life.
A young whipper snapper grows into a most peculiar lady
While the memoir starts off narrated by an aged Isabella in the twilight of her years, the story then quickly jumps back to her as a child and moves forward from there. We get to see her grow up, develop her love for dragons and try to settle herself to the fact that she isn’t a man and will likely never be able to pursue the things that she’d like to. Until she meets a man that she thinks could be her friend but ends as her husband and indulges her in ways that I take it aren’t normally done with women of her time. Hence how she is able to go on an expedition out of country to research dragons.
Very improper if you please!
From the sounds of it I thought I would be in for some high adventuring. But the tone of Isabella’s character definitely isn’t the kind of adventuring tone I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong its still exciting what with the traveling, the seeing of and being attacked by dragons, and some mysteries to be solved, oh and some very liberal baptismal cleansing of demons. *snickers* But there isn’t a jovial tone. Because of Isabella’s personality the adventures have a rather proper and somber tone even if the Lady is quite the improper lady of her time. Because of this I actually found the first third of the book to be more exciting then the part when the expedition sets out for the country of Vystrani where they will be researching dragons. There were parts of this expedition that had such a lull that indeed I set the book aside for a few months before I picked it back up again and pushed through the remainder in a few days.
Listening versus reading
I personally started this book on audio and finished the second half in print. The audio narration was superb and I highly recommend it if you are an audio book reader. The only reason I switched to print was because I read faster then I’m able to listen to audios and I was already struggling to get through the lulls in the book that I knew if I didn’t switch I might not have finished.
The memoirs are far from over
I’m fairly confident that there are many more expeditions and mild mannered adventures in store for readers via Isabella’s memoirs. I do hope that I’m able to adjust to the tone of the stories better in the next installment because I did find the story and world so familiar and yet unique at the same time. Isabella’s native country of Scirland reminds me very much of Victorian England and yet she is creating an entire new world. I am definitely happy I was able to finish this book and will be gladly reading the next very soon!