A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
by Marie Brennan
Published by: Tor
Genre: Fantasy, Dragons!
Source: own book
From the back cover:
All the world, from Scirland to the furthest research of Eriga, knows 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, in 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.
I am sorry that I waited so long to read this. Wow - it was just lovely and almost a perfect read for me. The book does really feel like a Victorian Lady Travels to X Place novel - reminding me strongly of Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters, which is one of my favorite books ever. The author did a wonderful job with the worldbuilding and evoking a period feeling.
I really liked how the developing relationship was handled as well. I have never quite gotten my head around the idea that women had to be married off before they were 25 or they went stale or something - married at 19 and the adjustments and everything, especially given how sheltered upper class girls were - it must have been so tough and overwhelming. I thought this was well done and that the author managed a delicate balance in the narrative that emulated a person writing about these issues but still maintaining a polite distance from the overly personal.
Some might find the pace of the book slow, and overly descriptive, but I loved it. I am very much looking forward to the next book.