A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent - Marie Brennan Oh dragons! You know I jumped at the chance to read this especially since I also heard that there were some good illustrations to go with it. However, I did worry that I may find the book dry. My worry was because I've read a few of these alternate reality books like this. Unfortunately they tend to mimic the books you might have gotten if it was real too well and became a dry alternate science course. I'm happy to find that this was not the case with this book. It presents itself like a biography but only concentrates on one part of Isabella's life. So, it turns out as more of an adventure story.

In this we find out why and how Isabella's obsession turns into a profession. It's like sitting down with her as she recollects what happened during that time now that she is an old lady telling her story. This helps you get into the story quite easily and root for her to become what she seeks in scientific study at a time where women's main concern was to catch a husband to better their station and live in society. This was a hard time for women like her.

The last part of the story is a telling of her big first adventure away from home to study dragons. She manipulated her husband into going and than taking her. Although this often doesn't endear me to the heroine, in this case it didn't bother me. That was because of Jacob, her husband. He knew full well what she was trying to do and confronted her with the fact. I have to say that Jacob was my fave character throughout the book even when he did become a bit mulish and tried to be the husband expected of him by controlling her. Mostly because that behavior didn't last and he was in love and just wanted her to be happy.

Isabella, while I did like her, I didn't like her as much as Jacob. While Jacob often thought of others especially his wife, Isabella often seemed to me to be a bit selfish. While I did understand why she would have to push and manipulate at that time to get even a fraction of what she wanted, I would have liked to have seen a bit more thought to Jacob. She did do that more and more as the story progressed and it kept her selfishness in check at times, but I would have just loved to have seen her sacrifice her wants at least as much as he did for her. Despite my feelings on this, it did not distract from the adventure and I really did enjoy the fact that Isabella was the one to figure out most things intellectually.

In the end I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed this alternate reality and wished that dragons really did exist like this. It's a fun book and I do hope that we get more of Isabella's adventures. The way it is written you assume lots of growth from this character in her later years.