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A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

There are many fantastical creatures in mythology and folklore but I think that the dragon is one of the most well known and well used beast as a focus in literature.

In this story, Marie Brennan creates a world in which dragons are very real, and a symbol of scientific and popular interest as any exotic animal would be today.

A Natural History of Dragons is told from the point of view of Lady Isabella Trent, who as a young girl had an avid interest in science and the study of living creatures, with her first love being dragons. Despite pressure for her family to conform to feminine ideals, she follows her passions and embarks on her first expedition to study dragons in their natural habitat. 

As well as narrating her findings and theories about the dragon species, she also tells her own personal story; her childhood, her family, her husband and the start of her travels that would both kick start her career and also change her life forever. 

Isabella’s narrative is easy to read and her character is full of spirit and intelligence that makes you really care about her journey. The references to dragons with the scientific slant made for fascinating reading, and there are some illustrations included as well so it reads like a real memoir. It makes you really want to believe in the existence of dragons. 

The time period suggests an age similar to the Victorian era. I liked that she defied the conventions of her time to follow her dreams; a veritable female role model with an interesting life story to tell. All the characters well written and the landscape and action were eloquently described. 

Award winning author Marie Brennan has a background in archaeology, anthropology and folklore, and this really shows in her writing. The front cover is genius and along with the illustrations inside, compliments to the story perfectly. A must read for dragon fans and definitely one to try for readers of fantasy.


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