A Natural History of Dragons

I honestly thought I made a post about this book months ago, probably in February or something when I read it, but I guess I didn’t because this post was sitting in my ‘drafts’ section, blank. Ugh.

So I’ve got this really bad habit of buying books and then letting them sit around for a long time before touching them, but that didn’t happen with this book because I bought it for a purpose. You know, as an aspiring author, a thousand and one references are needed on a thousand and one different subjects in order to make a thousand and one different things make sense inside a single novel. And you know, more than half of those references get put on the shelf to be read when they’re actually needed. But I picked up this book and was like “hey, dragons, why not?” and so I read it.

It was not what I expected. It was better.

So I guess I was expecting something like lots of diagrams and a bit of lore based on the dragons present in this world, but that has to be the stupidest assumption I’ve ever made about a book. It clearly says ‘memoir’ on the cover, and considering the size and shape of the book, it’s most definitely a novel, not a picture book. Regardless, my retardation aside, it was quite a lovely read.

It had a Victorian era feel to it and I’m a fan of that for whatever reason– don’t ask me to explain it because I don’t even know why; I just do. I especially liked how it was a unique, female perspective from a fantasy version of the era– I’ve never read anything like that before. I suppose females had little say in important matters back then, even–or arguably, especially– the wealthy.

This story had a bit of that, but the protagonist– whatever her name was– only accepted it to a degree. I think for a novel set in this time, that’s pretty typical, almost cliche. But I don’t know, I guess the way this character’s motivations weren’t necessarily wrapped around her lack of freedom, more so she needed freedom as a consequence of her motivations and interests, was a different take on it. Or at least it felt like it.

It was also… heartbreaking. I can’t say too much about why without revealing critical plot points, but the story was unexpected and magical in a way that you don’t often find in stories that lack magic (at least I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any magic– gimme a break I read it almost a year ago). But I guess as someone who sympathizes with animals regardless of their nature, maybe some people wouldn’t necessarily agree with that view.

I say that the novel is definitely worth a read to anyone interested in fantasy on the lower end of the magical scale. I haven’t read the sequels yet to have an opinion to share on those, but I do look forward to reading them sometime in the near future.





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