Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Memoir by Lady Trent, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Memoir by Lady Trent, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Memoir by Lady Trent #1)

by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  6,016 ratings  ·  1,016 reviews
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 farthes
...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Tor Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Natural History of Dragons, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Emily It's quite entertaining if you like Victorian-style manners in a fantasy setting. The dragon lore is a little low, but it's very entertaining and part…moreIt's quite entertaining if you like Victorian-style manners in a fantasy setting. The dragon lore is a little low, but it's very entertaining and part of a trilogy that I would definitely recommend. :)(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
seak
It turns out, and I wouldn't have discovered this without reading A Natural History of Dragons, that I really like dragons slaying, riding, attacking, hoarding, speaking, snoozing, probably even over-easy ... but to witness them studied for science bored me to death.

I feel really bad about this, because there are some great things about this book, I just couldn't wait for it to be over.

A Natural History of Dragons is a memoir of the life of the famous Lady Trent, who tells about her first intere
...more
Rabindranauth
The first in a series of memoirs in which the famed dragon naturalist Lady Trent describes not only how she started on the path to becoming one of the most vibrant, scandalous, adventurous personas in the history of Scirland, but also the foremost authority on dragons. Marie Brennan struck gold when she put this together, I think. An incredibly fun, captivating tale of the struggle against sexism, unexpected love, and mystery.

Long before she became reknowned as the occasionally scandalous Lady T
...more
Sanaa
[5 Stars] I loved this book. I knew I loved this book after reading only two pages of it. I'm finding it difficult to say anything right now because I loved it that much. This series may even become an all time favorite if each book is as good or better than this one.

Though this book is called A Natural History of Dragons it is really more about Lady Trent and how she initially became interested in dragons and also her experience on her first dragon studying expedition. This book also deals with
...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
The preface drew me in with its strong voice and promise to relate the adventure-filled career of a lady naturalist in an alternate Victorian age, studying dragons. The book itself is entertaining, but doesn't quite live up to that promise.

A Natural History of Dragons is the first in what looks to be a long series of fictionalized memoirs of Isabella, Lady Trent, a dragon naturalist. In this book, Isabella briefly takes readers through her childhood, courtship and marriage, then moves on to spen
...more
Rob
Executive Summary: The book has surprisingly few dragons in it for being in the title of the book. It's still a decent book, but I found myself underwhelmed by the end of it.

Full Review
I was hesitant to read this book when it was announced as the December pick for Sword & Laser. I like dragons, but the concept of this book made me apprehensive.

I ended up really enjoying the start of this book though. It really appealed to my inner scientist that wants to categorize things and understand ho
...more
TheBookSmugglers
Originally reviewed on Kirkus' SFF Blog

Be warned, then: the collected volumes of this series will contain frozen mountains, foetid swamps, hostile foreigners, hostile fellow countrymen, the occasional hostile family member, bad decisions, misadventures in orienteering, diseases of an unromantic sort, and a plentitude of mind. You continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart–no more so than the study of dragons itself.


At the age of seven, Lady Isabella Hendemore discovers a lifelon
...more
Jessica
The lovechild of Lady Cottington's Pressed Faerie Book and His Majesty's Dragon, I can't believe I waited this long to read the thrilling tales of Lady Trent! I must have the second (and third!) books immediately! This book reads exactly like a Victorian memoir, except for the fact that there are dragons. And there is also Isabella, Lady Trent, is not one to faint at the sight of a little dragon blood! Instead, spurred by a fascination with natural history in general and dragons in particular, s ...more
Kaora
I feel like this book is named incorrectly. A Natural History of Dragons? While it is a memoir of Lady Trent dragons hardly play into it. I was thinking that this might be a book much like The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Spencer Black, but perhaps a bit less mad scientist and more dragon biology.

I was disappointed.

Lady Trent is a woman born in the time where women are expected to attend and host dinner events, not to read books. But after developing a passion for books and dragons at a you
...more
Mhmd.
Marie Brennan's choice of words was very precise, it confirmed to the type of narrative and obliterated any chance of circumlocutory. Having the story told in the form of a memoir, there was no tedious minutiae, since you'd be advised by the naturalist to find those seemingly insignificant details in other volumes she had published in the past. Practicality at best, if you ask me.

The plot, the characters and the setting, and the highly unfamiliar dragons, made such an indelible impression on me
...more
Nikki
It took me a while to get round to finishing reading this, even once I was a decent way into it and knew I wanted to finish it. It's a slow sort of book, one I suspect you will either get on with or not based on the narrator and setting. The idea is of a Victorian-era analogue in which dragons exist, and in which one young woman has the opportunity of a lifetime to go and study dragons scientifically after having obsessed over them all her life. The conceit is that it's narrated by her in the fo ...more
Dara
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent follows the adventures of Isabella, a young woman with an obsession with dragons and a passion for natural history. The book is a memoir starting with her awakening fascination with dragons to her first expedition to study them.

I loved the voice Marie Brennan created for Isabella/Lady Trent. She's stuck in an 18th century style culture where women aren't expected to have scientific interests and are expected to behave in a ladylike manner. Isa
...more
Anzu The Great Destroyer
I started A Natural History of Dragons thinking that it’s a standalone book. As you know, A Natural History of Dragons is the so called memoir of Isabella, or Lady Trent (whatever you want to call her), who is between the most acclaimed dragon researchers in the book’s universe. It’s needless to say that I was very curious to witness the events that have won Isabella’s title.

There were many things that I loved about this book. Exploring the world from Isabella’s point of view was nice. Marie Br
...more
Gina (My Precious Blog)
RATING: 4.5 Stars

INITIAL THOUGHTS: Enjoyable read about a strong lady character enamored by the scientific study of dragons. However, in the age this book is set, this type of educational pursuit is improper for a woman. Its also a story about an expedition in search of dragons which lead to other polictal battles. With beautiful, lyrical language Lady Trent's story is told in first person, holding the reader on the edge of his/her seat throughout the novel.



SUMMARY

When a young girl shows more i
...more
Veronica Belmont
**SPOILERS**

A Natural History of Dragons is the story of Isabella (or Lady Trent, who functions as the story's narrator in her later years). A curious and tomboyish girl who grows up to be fascinated by the Dragon species. This book is different from most traditional takes on the dragon theme, since it's really more like an alternate history story that just happens to feature dragons in it, as opposed to something more high fantasy.

I read a few complaints in the S&L forums that since the na
...more
Wendy
This book was not exactly what I expected. That is to say, there isn't a lot about dragons, much less their history. I was expecting something that could almost be an accompaniment to His Majesty's Dragon, and, if I wanted to get my headcanon on, I could manage a good mash up, with this book being like a prequel where Lady Trent and her ilk are learning about the enigmatic creatures. But alas, this is actually a memoir *of* Lady Trent, by the lady herself. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, bu ...more
Bridget Mckinney
There is so much to enjoy about this book.

**Probable spoilers for the first half of the book below.**

1. It's fantasy, but set in a world that is very similar to 19th century Europe. The downside of this is that it has a lot of the same problems that nearly all Regency era and Victorian historical novels have regarding squicky class politics and lack of PoC. The upside is that it's very much a book about gender and how women existed in times when they had far more restrictions on their behavior t
...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 stars. Wow, I really liked this book -- everything from the story and the characters and the writing down to its stark yet elegant cover which first drew my eye to its spot sitting on a store bookshelf. I blame my background in the biological sciences, since it seems I can't help but be intrigued by anything that looks like it has anatomical drawings on it.

As indicated by its title, the novel is told in the form of a memoir from the venerable Lady Trent, leading research and expert on the ma
...more
Evie
A Natural History Of Dragons is a beautifully written book, constructed with remarkable care for details and executed with passion and precision. The novel assumes the style of a memoir and leads the reader on a fascinating journey into the world filled with dragons. Everything - from the phenomenal Victorian/Regency Era atmosphere, coruscating dialogues, unforgettable visuals and - most of all - extraordinary (and perhaps a little bit eccentric) heroine - is to die for!

Lady Trent's uncanny na
...more
Nancy O'Toole
A Natural History of Dragons is a solid start to a new fantasy series by Marie Brennan. Brennan really makes the well worn topic of dragons her own by choosing a more science based, as opposed to magic based, focus on dragons. Here dragons are not so much the untouchable treasure-hoarding creatures as they are fascinating specimens. As a result, our heroes in this tale are not sword wielding knights, but scientists, including out heroine, Isabella Trent.

I have read several books by Marie Brennan
...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
2.5

Within the first few chapters, I was prepared to love this book. Lady Trent reminded me a bit of Alexia Tarbotti and Amelia Peabody - those anachronistic women of modern pseudo-Victorian tales I enjoy. (Though this world is even more pseudo than the others as it's set either in a different world entirely, or, perhaps, in the far future - but the society and even writing style, complete with multiple chapter sub-titles, remains the same.)

Anyway -

The voice of Lady Trent, the older lady writing
...more
David(LA,CA)
For a work of Fantasy, it's very realistic. There's no magic here. The author does her very best to ground everything in the book in science. The dragons mentioned in the title aren't mythical beasts. They behave and are treated like an apex predator, with natural abilities that the main characters are able to study. And while the dragons do play an important part, the book is more a portion of the life story of the narrator. About how her curiosity and love of dragons frequently seemed to get h ...more
Connie Hirsch
Another book I picked up on the basis of first the subtitle (As Told By Lady Trent), then opened because of the beautiful illustration on the cover. The voice of the narrator, an older woman whom I mentally pictured as being played by Maggie Smith, is perfect. I was utterly charmed all the way through, and I can only hope that the further adventures alluded to in asides by the narratress are followed up on.
Hallie
First things first: if you can get this in paper form, do it. It's a beautiful thing, and having to cut some of the pages really added to the Victorian-esque feeling of the book, though where is my silver paper-cutter??

This came very close to being total win for me, but just missed by a smidge, although it was beautifully done. The tone of that adventuring natural scientist of what would be the Victorian era in our world seemed perfect to me, as did the older writer reflecting on things that had
...more
Enzo
First of all Lady Trent is my kind of Dame! The book is a great story that recalls her first journey to meet Dragons. Which in this wonderful novel not only exist but are part of scholarly studies. It recalls our own 19th Century discoveries and methodology. The best part is that it's a fun read and leaves you wanting more. Highly recommended to fantasy and Victorian age fans.
Robyn
An adventure in a classic vein; a young woman from a quasi-Victorian society heads out on a mission with her young husband to scientifically document dragons ... and to solve the mystery of why dragons have suddenly started attacking humans.

Very enjoyable, and I'll happily keep reading any follow ups. I very much enjoyed the emphasis on strong women!
Giovanna
3.5

I'm so confused...it's not what I expected both in a positive and in a negative way. There were good parts (and awesome drawings) and boring ones, but I'm really curious to see where this series is going because I haven't read anything like it. So...I liked it but I have some "doubts" let's say...

I'm still not sure how I feel about A natural history of dragons. There's part of me that is actually really intrigued and wants to go on with the series, and then...there's part of me thaf wonders h
...more
Christopher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paola (A Novel Idea)
As soon as I started reading this book, I knew I was going to love it. It's very difficult for me to resist a heroine who recounts her misadventures with both wit and humor, let alone a heroine who dresses as a boy to join a dragon hunt -- with an unloaded rifle. That particular tale is only one of many recounted by Isabella, Lady Trent in these fictional memoirs. Set in an alternate universe with Regency manners, the story unfolds from Isabella's childhood on her family's country estate and tak ...more
Liz
Dear Goodreads,
Will you please implement a half star system? This was not a three star book because what it was trying to do pushes it easily into four stars, but it somehow doesn't quite seem to achieve what it sets out to do. (Bow before me, for I am the queen of the vague review).
In certain respects, Brennan's book is brilliant. She has the voice of the naturalist down pat and she does 19th century British woman on an adventure with all the style and sincerity of someone who gets the Victoria
...more
Beth Cato
This book has gained considerable buzz as it nears its release in February 2013, and I was fortunate to receive a gratis copy through NetGalley.

A Natural History of Dragons is an incredibly fast and gentle read, though also frustrating. The book's description gave me expectations for a different pace of story, and in the end that left me disappointed.

Set in a secondary world (i.e. not Earth), the social dynamics are thoroughly Victorian. This means that Lady Trent's interest in dragons from an e
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Shattered Pillars (Eternal Sky, #2)
  • Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4)
  • Tooth and Claw
  • Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1)
  • The Flight of Dragons
  • Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood, #1)
  • Crucible of Gold (Temeraire, #7)
  • The Goblin Emperor
  • A Stranger in Olondria
  • Handbook for Dragon Slayers
  • The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance, #2)
  • Between Two Thorns (The Split Worlds, #1)
  • Quintessence
  • The Silvered
  • The Desert of Souls (The Chronicles of Sword and Sand #1)
  • Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy
  • The Midnight Queen (Noctis Magicae, #1)
  • The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1)
105839
Marie Brennan is the author of the Doppelganger, Onyx Court, Wilders, and Memoirs of Lady Trent series of fantasy novels.
More about Marie Brennan...

Other Books in the Series

Memoir by Lady Trent (3 books)
  • The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent, #2)
  • The Voyage of the Basilisk (Memoir by Lady Trent, #3)
Warrior (Doppelganger, #1) Witch (Doppelganger, #2) The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent, #2) Midnight Never Come (Onyx Court, #1) In Ashes Lie (Onyx Court, #2)

Share This Book

“Just as Manda Lewis's impressions of the world had been informed by her reading-- leading her to expect balls, duels, and conveniently timed thunderstorms out of life-- so, too, had mine; but what I expected was intellectual commerce between equals.” 1 likes
“Be warned, then: the collected volumes of this series will contain frozen mountains, foetid swamps, hostile foreigners, hostile fellow countrymen, the occasional hostile family member, bad decisions, misadventures in orienteering, diseases of an unromantic sort, and a plenitude of mud.” 1 likes
More quotes…