Book: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Publisher: Tor Books, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Kick-Ass-Women
Source + Date Read: Library + Finished May 2014
Recommend: You all have no idea how much I love this. Of course I recommend it look at the hearts I gave it!
Book Pro’s: I loved the travelogue format of the novel.
Book Con’s: For the love of spoilers, I can’t say what the con is. But it’s a con alright.
Favourite Line: “More shouts, and then my father was there, staring down at me in horror: the minor pagan god, appalled at what his worshiper had done.”
I know I start off a lot of my reviews with the usual drama-I’m-so-busy-disclaimer, but put up with me a bit OK? I’ve been quite absent these past few weeks and that’s because I’ve been a twat and procrastinated to the last month to get all of my 10,000 word papers due and study for my exam on the dreaded June 11th (shudders). But, this past Saturday a family friend picked me up and decided I needed a break and we went all around the country, it was beautiful! So sunny and lush! I got back home, much to be sadness around 6 and just didn’t feel like doing work. So I picked this book up at the library (after I wandered around the city aimlessly trying to ignore the fact I was still here!) and went home. And read the whole thing. In 5 hours. I got a massive headache and my eyes were twitching like crazy, but this book was worth it. It was worth every bit of it.
Like I mentioned earlier, the parts I loved about it I’ve read in other reviews as something that’s negative. The format is set up like a Victorian era travelogue, as women were encouraged to do during that time (they weren’t allowed to be considered real scientists you see). Now, part of being an anthropology student is reading an inordinate amount of old fashioned stuff like that. So I was quite pleased when Brennan took a horribly racist, sexist and bringgenre such as this and made it actually pleasing to read. The format is well suited to understanding the main character’s struggles and her rage against the patriarchal normativity of that time.
I quite enjoyed the characters, every single one of them had something valuable to contribute, characters that I wasn’t too fond of. I’ll admit that around 3/4 into the book I figured everything out, however, do not let this deter you because the author throws in some serious sucker punches that catches readers off guard. The writer does an excellent job at the world building, as the book’s world is a reflection of our very own Earth yet drastically different and somehow just a bit more magical and wonderful (which is the purpose of fantasy in my opinion).
Furthermore, Tor Books did an amazing job with the presentation of the novel. The cover is absolutely drool worthy, seriously, it’s so amazing I want a poster of it. Secondly, the book includes illustrations, brilliant, beautiful, amazing illustrations that t do not detract from the text of the piece, but rather aid in our conception of the world. No lumpy dragons in your imagination! The illustrations are 2 parts fierce and a million parts fantastic.
I’ll stop fangirling now, but you get the point right? Read the book.