Time reading: 7 hours
I wanted to read this book ever since I first discovered it existed. I mean, look at that title! The prologue only confirmed that it was going to be awesome. And it was! Historical-ish setting–it’s an invented world, but with a Regencyesque culture and level of technology–plus dragons? Sign me up.
The characters are delightful. I loved Isabella, both the memoirist telling the story and her younger self. (This is what put me off The Name of the Wind, once upon a time–I liked the older Kvothe well enough, but couldn’t stand the young version.) I got invested not only in her scientific endeavors, but also in her cautiously developing relationship with her husband, who approves of her interest in dragons in principle but sometimes just wants her to be safe, dammit. Lord Hilford was also a favorite of mine, and I’m hoping to see more of him in the sequels.
Definitely recommended for fans of historical fantasy, especially Temeraire. I was reminded a little of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which is sort of an imaginary biography the way A Natural History of Dragons is an imaginary memoir. I was also reminded of Sharon Shinn’s General Winston’s Daughter, which also features the fantasy-equivalent-of-British main characters traveling abroad and meeting locals who aren’t always pleased to have them there.
Goodreads tells me there are now two sequels and a fourth book has been announced, so I’ll have to look those up later!