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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent - Marie Brennan

I kind of loved this. I didn't really expect to. I started it on a road trip where I expected my attention to be divided. Nope.


This is the first in a series of fictional memoirs about a scientist who's field work has earned her the reputation of leading scholar in her field in spite of her gender. This volume covers her childhood obsession with dragons, her teenage attempts to hide this interest in order to better fit into society, and her first expedition. 


Not the most action packed dragon adventure out there, but there's such a lovely attention to detail. She talks not just about the excitement of seeing dragons, but about the methods of observation used and the importance of specific discoveries. And, also, the local politics, superstitions, and her own failings with regard to interacting with the inhabitants of the small village serving as their base.


And then there are the dragons. Wild beasts of immense size and power. Difficult to study as live ones are dangerous and dead ones decay quite quickly. 


There are places where this veers heavily towards "not like other girls," but in the memoir format, the narrator has the distance to acknowledge when she's been wrong. She clearly doesn't think herself superior so much as odd. The voice of this protagonist is great. A feisty older woman describing her youthful indiscretions. The voice of the narrator is a great addition in the audiobook.



I'm glad I knew this was a series going in, though. It doesn't end on a cliff hanger, but it does end in a somewhat unsatisfying place. 


I've already downloaded the next audiobook in this series.