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A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent | [Marie Brennan]

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

You, dear listener, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart - no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments - even at the risk of one's life - is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten….All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist.
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Publisher's Summary

Marie Brennan begins a thrilling new fantasy series in A Natural History of Dragons, combining adventure with the inquisitive spirit of the Victorian Age. You, dear listener, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart - no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments - even at the risk of one's life - is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten….All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

"Saturated with the joy and urgency of discovery and scientific curiosity." (Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on A Natural History of Dragons)

©2013 Bryn Neuenschwander (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (233 )
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  •  
    William Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-30-14
    William Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-30-14 Member Since 2012

    On level 5 of Robot Hell

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Dragons like you've never seen them."
    What did you like best about this story?

    It felt so natural and real. In the midst of the dangers and trials you were reminded the heroine was a naturalist at heart and the scientific observation and inquiries did not disappear in favor of action at moments of crisis.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The exploration of the ruins I would have to say. It was a moment of timelessness in a world of the fantastic. The heroine and reader both shared a glimpse into ancient eons.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Oh very much so. I sank right into the book hated having to stop and start repeatedly.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pradheepa 01-20-15
    Pradheepa 01-20-15 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Feminist science fiction"

    Very well written, realistic ( an odd word to describe a work of imagination, but an apt one) book. The narration is excellent. The main character is a bit too unemotional at the end, but she acknowledges it herself. She seems to care more about scholarship, than about life. That is the reason this story gets four instead of five stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 04-17-14
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 04-17-14 Member Since 2013

    BJS

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kate Reading makes this audio book devine"
    What did you love best about A Natural History of Dragons?

    Victorian history with touches of bizarre chemistry and creatures of unfathomable grandness. It has a "Steam-Punk" feel but keeps you in that Victorian era. The main character is a young woman way ahead of her time. Luckily she's able to find some one to share it with. In a time when women were expected to stay and home and look pretty, our heroine wants to grow with knowledge


    What other book might you compare A Natural History of Dragons to and why?

    I don't think I've come across any book like this. It is the memoir of a woman who is now in her old age telling of how she started out as a child with interests in nature and and especially Dragons.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are so many I don't want to spoil the story, there are twists and turns that really make the story interesting.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Jacob tells Isabelle "Don't let them get away with this." I won't spoil it .


    Any additional comments?

    I've read reviews of people who read the kindle version, and the print version. I have to say Kate Reading makes this story come alive. She is marvelous with accents, voices both male and female, and showing emotions. I can't wait to read the next in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorie J. ODonnell 04-03-14

    MissLorieO

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful, both in story and in narration"

    This is a book that defies neat and orderly description. It is, in turn, an adventure, a fantasy, a steampunk mystery, a romance, and a most excellent scientific treatise. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and look forward to the continuation of the series.

    The narration was spot on!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Hope, BC, Canada 03-22-14
    Connie Hope, BC, Canada 03-22-14 Member Since 2013

    Science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction...take me away!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Victorian Lady discovers her passion for dragons"

    Engrossing story told by Lady Trent, documenting her early life and fascination with dragons, culminating in a dangerous trip to distant lands to study them closely. Amazing narration, lovely story. I hope there are more volumes to come!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 07-21-15
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 07-21-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Historical fiction with a bit of fantasy flavour"

    As the title suggest, it is written as a memoir of Lady Trent early years. A head strong women in Victorian England who is not content with the quiet house wife life society expects her to live. After just reading Pride and Prejudice I don't blame her. She goes off on an expedition in search of Dragons.

    Despite the title, Dragons play a very little role until the very end. They're used as a macguffin to motivate the character and add additional 'wow' to the reader. Because of this is read more like historical fiction with a little bit of fantasy added. Themes include showing culture shock and how she deals with it.

    I wouldn't call it hard science by any means but it takes a practical look at Dragons and facts the character studies. The world is large and rich with plenty of room for a sequel or series.

    I speed read/listened to it so others who don't may find it a slow read. If you'r not into biographies don't read it.

    I'd recommend it to someone who is curious about the fantasy genre, especially if you like historical fiction, and biographies. Fortunately I do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean 07-06-15
    Sean 07-06-15 Member Since 2015

    "Not all those who wander are lost" -JRR Tolkien

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Downton Abbey meets Fantasy"
    What would have made A Natural History of Dragons better?

    Less tea drinking, more dragons.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Kate Reading?

    I have and I will. She brought a certain experienced voice that was necessary to the character.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah N. Hanley Osceola, WI 07-05-15
    Leah N. Hanley Osceola, WI 07-05-15 Member Since 2014

    leahnoel

    ratings
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    "For girls/women who don't want to be put in a box"
    Where does A Natural History of Dragons rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Somewhere in the middle toward the top


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Natural History of Dragons?

    There were several, and I'd be spoiling some revelations if I noted them here.


    Did Kate Reading do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Kate Reading doesn't have a very developed range in character voices, but she does an okay job to the point that you can tell when someone else is talking. She tries incorporating Russian & French accents but they kind of waver in-and-out when the character has more than one line.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    There were some parts that made me want to stay to listen, but I couldn't have listened all in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a charming book series! I recommend it to any girl or woman who doesn't want the traditional life style of raising children, cooking meals for the family, cleaning the house, etc., or even those who want to branch into a more male-dominated career field. The main character breaks all social boundaries of how women should act in (I'm assuming) the Victorian era. Just because there are dragons in the book does not mean this is futuristic. I believe the author had the Victorian era in mind when women had few rights, and she just reinvented our natural world a little. The story has less to do about dragons and more to do about adventure, mystery, scientific discovery, and following your dreams. And if you like this book, #2 is even better!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison 04-16-15
    Allison 04-16-15
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    "Absolutely loved it!"

    I found the story and characters captivating! It's set at a wonderful pace, and told from a unique and refreshing angle. If you love dragons I highly recommend this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa 03-31-15
    Melissa 03-31-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Alternative History with a twist"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Natural History of Dragons to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version but I enjoyed the audio version.


    Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But I did enjoy her performance. She has a strong style that suits the genre.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes. There was a point that was especially poinant but I hesitate to say because of spoilers.


    Any additional comments?

    I started the series after a recommendation from Writing Excuses. But I am continuing it because the writing had a dry edge that reminded me of a mix of Naomi Novik and Elizabeth Peters. (If you have read either of these two authors you will enjoy this series)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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