Tag Archive | dragons

Book Review: A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

 

Anyone who knows me, based on the title and cover of this book, would think that I would be stark raving bonkers over it. Madley, passionately letting my inner geek out to play with the dragons.

Eh. Not so much.

This is one of those novels that I circled around forever. Sometimes, when I finally bite it is a great read. This time, it was a pretty good story, but the voice in it kind of… hmm… how to explain it.

The voice of the character is spot on. Isabella is writing after a long career, obtaining and sharing knowledge of her beloved dragons. A pragmatic scientist in a country and time that didn’t allow easily for women to do such… well… she finds a way. Through her husband.

Using Lady Trent’s voice is both brilliant and little bit off putting. There are clues hidden here and there, among things that she says to her readers or about her editors. Things that contemporaries of hers would know, but we the reader wouldn’t. Such as the following:

(SPOILER ALERT BELOW>> SPOILER ALERT BELOW)

The careful reader will remember that she signs the preface as Isabella, Lady Trent. But her husband wasn’t anything beyond a Mr. Hmmm….. I knew what was coming before it did, but even still…. it just was… too remote.

The voice, however, also puts a wall between action and emotion. It’s a little old fashioned that way. I wasn’t as intently invested in this book as I have been in others simply because of that wall. I may be a lazy reader, but I just didn’t feel like breeching the wall and taking apart the book piece by piece.

I did end up reading it all the way through— if it had been atrocious there was no way that that would happen.

Mixed feelings on this one, peeps. Have any of you read it? What did you think? Have you read any books that you couldn’t decide if they were good or not?

Book Review: Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb

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Originally, this was intended as a trilogy, but it is actually four books. That works for me. Blood of the Dragons is actually the last book in the series, and it wraps it up nicely.

This series gave me a serious geek girl moment. I walked outside while at work, and realized I had forgotten my book. My first thought? “But I wanted to go to the Rain Wilds.” Serious geek girl moment, but that’s ok 😀

Books One (Dragon Keeper) and Two (Dragon Haven) hooked me in and would not let me go. Book Three (Dragon City) is a bridge book— one of those books in a series that kind of breaks with the first ones, so that the grand finale will make sense. We also get 3 new point of view characters. We had seen or  heard of them before, but had never been inside their heads.

Most authors, you know that everything will work out ok… but with Hobb on this one, I wasn’t sure (but in a good way). I tore through the whole series in about a week, maybe two (I know I had to wait for payday to get the last one LOL).

Love, love love this series. Especially love how the dragons are very distinct from humans, and from eachother. They are not merely beats, but neither do they think or act in a human way. Why would they? They outlive humans by hundreds, if not thousands of years.

I was sad to read the last pages of this series, but rest easy knowing I can visit anytime I want to. While the instinct of a fan girl such as I is to keep writing the series, as writers we all know when the story is done.

Hobb also has a habit of re-visiting the world she built in completely different ways… and re-introducing her characters. Check out Paragon, and how far he’s come by the time this novel opens. So, onward and upwards!

I was so geeky over the series, that of course I have to give it a 5/5… with the caveat that book 3 is a bridge book.

Enjoy, my lovelies!

 

Dragons Dragons Dragons

So.  A long time ago, when I was a junior in college, I started what was to become my first ever completed novella: If There Be Dragons. It’s at about 55,ooo words, it was never published… And it has one of my very favoritest characters in it.

Alex is a kick sass kind of girl. As Mistress of the Dragons, her first and formost duty is to the dragons. She *likes* that she isn’t responsible for people, as she sees it as a conflict of interest. She learned to fight in a skirt, avenged her bestest friend (and some thought future husband), fell for and married an assassin, kicked a god’s butt and demanded blood price of the rest of them.

I loved her. I adored her. She was everything I wished I could be. Take charge, confident. Not afraid to be exactly who she was. When she learned to deal with the trappings of being a female in her world it was on her terms. She’s a force of nature, and it was an incredible ride when I first started living in her world with her. She is the first character’s whose story I finished, and the last character that my mother was acquanited with. I started it in my Junior year, and mom read EVERYTHING I wrote. Even though she was a strictly romance kind of woman, she read each and every sentence that I wrote during that time. Mom died my Senior year of college. Alex helped me through it (sometimes, I think being able to go into her world is all that saved my sanity).

I kind of cringe when I read it now. I have some really really short scenes. Instead of head jumping, I just switched scenes. But one thing that has never let me down is Alexandria Draconia, Mistress of the Dragons.

And she’s talking to me again.

I can’t wait for the ride that she’s going to take me on this time. Her world is about to explode in a big way, making her do things that she really really doesn’t want to. Making choices no woman should have to.

And with the advent of e-publishing, there seems to be more room for different things, like a chick-lit high fantasy novella. Doesn’t really matter if there’s an audience for it or not however…

Cuz I’m all in.

 

Next week, I fully plan to geek out on Christmas Romance titles. Fair warning to those of you who don’t read it. Probably have dragon updates, too.

Dragon Riders

What makes a book a classic? Is it universal themes? Or readability, five, ten, twenty, a hundred years into the future? Being a fantasy fanatic, there are very few “modern classics” to pull from. J.R.R. Tolkien. Zelzany. McCaffrey.

I resisted reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series for decades. How many, I didn’t realize until I read the copyright notice AFTER reading the book. The book was published a few months after I was born, so it is… twenty one twice plus one.  Hehehe.

The first time I remember anyone telling me about the books was while I was in college. At the time, I resisted because I was writing about dragons. I didn’t want any influences on my world building, characters and dragons. Quite frankly, I was jealous too. I *wanted* to be Queen of the Dragons!

For some reason, I never did pick up any of the Pern novels. Despite often running out of books to read, new authors to try, being bored out of my skull… You get the idea. Never. Once.

So on Saturday I was given a brief respite and ran to the book store. My brother Leonard, who has very different tastes in books than I do, highly recommended it. “You loved Tolkien. You love that Game of Thrones series. I can’t stand those types of books.”

“I guarantee you’ll like Anne McCaffrey,” he told me.

Normally I take recommendations with a grain of salt. This time I went ahead and jumped in and I am so glad I did. Because it is simply amazing. What makes it so? It’s a fairly great idea, even though I’m not sure why the Sci-Fi elements need to be in there (to be fair, there are a lot of books left to plow through, so it might actually be needed later). It reads well, even after forty some odd years (drat, I spilled the beans).

For popular fiction, or genre fiction, to become a classic though there has to be magic. An audible pop in the reader’s mind when all cylinder’s start firing and the book sets out pell mell for the finish line. It’s still kind of funny to me that I ignored this series for so long.

No more!

Yay! I have a new series by a writer who was very prolific and whose son has taken up the pen!