01 February 2013

ARC Review: A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan

Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Books

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.
If I had to praise the author for one thing about her novel it would be the beautiful writing and the beautiful images that go perfectly with the book. I really loved the addition of the pictures which made the novel feel a bit more realistic, even though it isn't at all. However I wouldn't recommend this novel to anyone, it certainly feels like a real memoir, whilst being fictional and I'm sure not many are a fan of those.

The story is slow-paced. Nevertheless there are many mysteries to be uncovered throughout the book, everything happens rather slowly. I still found the story interesting and intriguing enough not to give the whole novel up. I had never read such a novel and I was more attracted to the novelty of the book's style.

The characters are fitting to such a story. You make a bigger connection to the main character. A woman who can't live her dreams for not being a man. But she fights for it and in the end becomes a renowned naturalist. But overall I didn't care much about the characters and even Isabella wasn't a character that you feel compelled to like. Her husband was maybe my favorite character in the whole novel.

A Natural History of Dragons is not a novel that will please everybody. It's rather a slow-paced novel and people eager for romance, action and humor won't get much of these. It's an scientific adventure and if you like reading about those, here is a novel for you!

Huge thanks to Tor Books for providing me with a copy in exchange of an honest review!


  1. This sounds really good. I have a lot of patience for books, so the pacing won't bother me, especially if the book is interesting and inventive enough to make up for that- which it sounds like this is :)