The Real Life Experiences of a Fictional Character Created by Marie Brennan
Any of my followers or fellow bloggers who have noticed my last book review on this blog, and observed the title of this one, might realize that I have a soft spot for dragons. This book did not dissuade me from that sentiment. In fact, I share that feeling with the main character, Isabella Camherst, a.k.a. Lady Trent, who, against the “rules” for women in her society, defied social convention and made it possible to fulfill her deepest desire: to study dragons.
As someone who works in a library, I enjoyed Mrs. Camherst’s love of books. She spent much of her childhood raiding her father’s library, having her brother steal a book every now and then so she could learn without her parents’ knowledge. In fact, when her husband was proposing to her, he exclaimed, “You want me for my library.”
The symbolism in Brennan’s novel is unique. Who knew that one book could change someone’s life so much? If you haven’t guessed yet, that book is The Natural History of Dragons. I won’t say any more on the subject for fear of giving spoilers to anyone who happens upon this blog post before reading the five star book about which I am writing.
Despite the love story alongside the dragon documentation, this book is far more realistic than any romance, and yet, when you come out of your “this is awesome” comma, you realize that the contents contain more heartbreaking romance than any novel with a half naked couple on the cover. It’s subtle, but it makes you realize that the Camhersts were made for each other.
Brennan setting this novel up as if it were a memoir made it more interesting and different to read. Books start sounding the same if there isn’t some unique way of conveying the point of view. It also enabled us to get to know Mrs. Camherst quite well. The sketches that Lady Trent published with her memoir made it easier to picture where she was and what she saw on the expedition to Vystrana.
I seem to have the ability to chose fantasy novels that have a strong mystery story within them. This book being the main character’s memoir, it has foreshadowing, involving clues and different events that are all pieces to many of the puzzles and problems the characters face during their dragon-studying quest.
I recommend this book to anyone who has ever wanted to study a dragon in its natural habitat.