Wednesday 16 April 2014

A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan

When this book came into the shop I had to buy myself a copy, because SO pretty.... I'm always a sucker for books with gorgeous dragons on the front cover and this fitted the bill nicely. As I'm thinking about doing a feature of dragon related books this one got bumped up my to read list pretty sharpish, and I'm actually rather glad it did. Books I buy for myself tend to languish for rather a long time as I work my way through all the lovely proofs and arcs that I am sent, this one was calling to me though and didn't disappoint. Written as the first in a series that will complete the memoirs of the fictitious Lady Trent, dragon specialist extraordinaire, this book covers her early fascination with the beasts and her first expedition to seek them out in the wild. There are lots of digressions from the author as she writes the work, critics of her younger self and asides about other works and stories that we can expect in later volumes, so I do hope that these are picked up successfully as the series continues. Lady Trent makes for an entertaining and convincing narrator, and although there were actually surprisingly few genuine dragons featuring in this story, the stage was set for further exciting adventures. The story itself is largely focused on the injustice and misogyny Lady Trent has had to overcome in order to succeed in her chosen field. A very complete fictional society is shown to exist with social attitudes being somewhat similar those found in 17th/18th Century England, only with a slightly more Victorian attitude to foreigners and clothing. Society dictates that noble women should interest themselves in little beyond husbands and homes, while females further down societies ladder evidently find working opportunities to be more plentiful despite legal restrictions.
With a strong female narrator, an interesting and action packed story, exotic locations and the odd dragon showing up here and there I can imagine that this would appeal to readers who like their fantasy to be believable but a little lighter than some of the blood and guts stuff you can come across. I am certainly looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the next instalment when it comes out in a couple of months.

No comments:

Post a Comment