All Things Urban Fantasy's Reviews > A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
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Jun 05, 13

bookshelves: 2013-february-hotp, reviewed-by-julia, earc
Read in February, 2013

Just as steampunk rewrites familiar history with technological advancements, A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS takes an oh so familiar historical period and adds a drop of the draconic. Though the place names are different, the flavor of Victorian England and Scotland is strong enough to make this story feel real.

And it was that familiarity that really hooked me. Brennan swirls a touch of fantasy into her world, like rich cream in coffee, but I marveled most at the ways Isabella overcomes the mundane obstacles in her path. Our heroine has no special powers, just a passion for biology. With this inner fire, she navigates the marriage mart and societal pressures, all the while hiding her intelligence and interests under the Clark Kent-guise of silence and small talk. The dragons were a tasty accent to the story, both for their beautiful illustrations and unknown properties. By giving Isabella passion for dragons, rather than elephants or bees or something familiar, Brennan allowed me to discover this species alongside her heroine. The tantalizing hints regarding dragon biology and behavior gave me a window into Isabella’s world, those details inspire echoes of Isabella’s passion and curiosity in myself.

A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS reminded me more of other beloved historical novels, either with a touch of fantasy or without. Isabella is capable and indomitable, yet human, testing her mettle against a world closed tight against her ambitions. Forget genre, this book is a testament to character, to the strength of an outsider defying society’s expectations.

Sexual Content: References to sex.
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06/05/2013 marked as: read

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