I picked up this book because of the cover. Intriguing, is it not? I’m so glad I bought it – on whim that was encouraged by my dear boyfriend. If I hadn’t, I would not have found my favorite book so far this year, or my new favorite author.
A Natural History of Dragons is the story of Isabella, a young woman with a desire to study dragons. The world in which her tale is set is reminiscent of the Victorian England, both in cultural style and writing style. Isabella recounts how society around her was not set up for her to be a learner, and how she dealt with this in order to achieve her dreams (because some sort of dream-achieving must take place if there is to be an interesting story, right?).
This fantasy “memoir” is in fact fantastic – I could barely put it down and read the entire thing in 3 days. I will admit, I am a sucker for memoirs (at least the ones where interesting things actually happen) and fantasy novels (obviously), so this seemed to be written just for me. From the beginning it gripped me as if it were a dragon an I it’s prey (forgive the pun) and did not let me go. A thoroughly enjoyable read, A Natural History of Dragons kept me on the edge of my seat.
Some people might find the fact that it is a fantasy memoir to take away the suspense (after all, we know Isabella has survived to write it), but as I firmly believe: it’s about the journey and not the destination. Knowing that she survives incites my curiosity as to how – and just because we know she survives doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of plot twists in this amazing tale.
Hats off to Marie Brennan, author of this fantastic work. If I can write something half so true as what she has written, I will be happy. Truly, if you are a writer and need a reminder of why you write, pick up this book. It will whisk you into an alternate history in which our world is not even our world, but the ring of familiarity is there.
I give this book five stars (out of five, of course) and recommend that you all pick up a copy and get lost in Anthiope for a little while.
For more on the book:
And of course, I do not own the image.
And, if you happen to see this review posted on Amazon – I put it there. Will be posting it elsewhere as I can.