Imagine if dragons were real, as common as the Australian Kangaroo or the Bengal Tiger. A Natural History of Dragons follows Lady Trent, a lady of middle class standings who has a fascination of the creatures. The book explores the idea of how they and us, humans would live together. Of course humanity, being as we always depict ourselves, have pushed them to the brinks of the world to mostly inhabitable locations.
“The dragon within my heart stirred, shifting her wings, as if remembering they could be used to fly.”Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
The book also provides insight into a Victorian era where civilisation had advanced far enough so that people could explore their passions rather than struggle to survive. Of course with that era comes the discrimination against women, which is still prevalent today. Women of Lady Trent’s class were expected to be educated, but not to the point that they would embark on journeys to see nature. Lady Trent however bucks the trend and uses her husband to pursue her goals. He is a great enabler and Lady Trent herself was surprised at how far he would go.
“A husband willing to fund a library for his bookish wife is not so easy to obtain; most would see it as a pointless expense. You might, however, find one willing to share his library.”Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
I didn’t enjoy Lady Trent’s mother however, she was very strict and traditional. Her dad on the other-hand was a bit like her husband, He would enable her to do the things she wanted which was nice to see. It does seem that there is bias on both sexes, the females are the ones preventing her from going out, while her male companions are all for her to do the things she wanted. Hopefully, in the sequel the females eyes will open up.
“More shouts, and then my father was there, staring down at me in horror: the minor pagan god, appalled at what his worshipper had done.”Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
The book is amazing and well written, it really does feel like a memoir by a real life person going on a journey to see dragons. The book did not end how I expected it to, and was a huge shock when it did end. I would not want to spoil it, so go out and either buy or loan the book as soon as you can. It’s a beautiful piece of writing and I enjoyed every minute of it. This easily gets 5 stars.