Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.
Every once in a while I crave utter distraction and escapism and nothing does the trick like a terrific adventure yarn with a smart, funny, female lead, a passing nod to Victorian travel writing and, well, dragons.
Brennan's wonderful at creating a complete world, full of history and religion(s) and languages and then revealing it to the reader without undue exposition. It's a real talent and one any emerging fantasy writer would do well to study.
The Lady Trent is obsessed with dragons in a world where young women of breeding simply do not indulge in such passions. However, when she married Jacob -- chosen as much for his tolerance, and eventual support of these passions -- as for passion itself, they head off together on a Victorian-style expedition to a darkly (think Transylvania) superstitious wild land where dragons still live in mountain lairs, with the purpose of scientific research. Our heroine is at once charming and naive and bold and foolish, just as such a heroine should be.
That Lady Trent eventually becomes a world-renown expert in the field we know from the outset; how she got her start is the arc of this narrative.
Is it a bit predictable? Possibly. The wise older-woman voice telling the story does intrude a bit too much now and again, but because her personality is so delightful, I didn't mind.
A fast read. An enjoyable one, and just as diverting a bit of escapism as I craved. Recommended for fantasy lovers, dragon aficionados from the age of about fifteen onwards, and those of us who enjoy Victorian novels on a day when we desire a little froth with our goth.