Review: A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book #4 for 2015
PopSugar Challenge Criteria Met:
-A book set in a different country
-A book a friend recommended
-A book that made you cry

The plot may have been all over the place and a little oddly paced, and a few things may have been a bit predictable, but I enjoyed the heck out of this faux memoir. The voice was consistently well executed throughout and made it easy to immerse myself in this tale of adventure and dragon lore.

Brennan set Lady Trent’s story in an alternate world that is analogous to our Victorian era without actually being our Victorian era, and that may have helped prevent it from feeling derivative even though I was constantly reminded of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody Emerson and Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily, with a dash of Agatha Christie’s autobiographical Come, Tell Me How You Live as well. I occasionally wondered if this alternate reality was truly necessary for the insertion of real (if non-supernatural) dragons, and I’ve decided that it was. It was actually a very clever device to make the world, its dragons, and its characters feel extremely authentic.

I can understand some readers wishing for more dragons in the story, but there was enough dragon action to keep me satisfied, and I plan to read more in this series. I would recommend this especially to fans of Peabody and Lady Emily, but also to those interested in dragon tales and historical mysteries.

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