Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

4 More for Once Upon a Time Fantasy Challenge

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

A lovely cover for one of NPR's Best Books of 2013--I'm not sure why I delayed reading it.    Another perfect read for Carl's Once Upon a Time challenge, the book is the memoir of a Victorian lady (in an alternate historical setting) flouting convention in order to pursue her unladylike scientific interest in dragons.

As Lady Trent says in the preface, "...this series will contain frozen mountains, foetid swamps, hostile foreigners, hostile fellow countrymen, the occasional hostile family member, bad decisions, misadventures in orienteering, diseases of an unromantic sort, and a plenitude of mud." 

I just ordered a couple of books for my oldest granddaughter, but surely she must have this one as well?  After reading the description of the deckled pages, the chestnut brown ink, and Todd Lockwood's lovely illustrations in sepia, it seems that it will have to be the hardback version for the lovely Miss Mila.  My kindle edition allowed no such sensuous tactile or visual effects.

Fantasy/Memoir/YA.  2013.  Print length:  335 pages.

The Last Falcon and Dragon Fire by Collen Ruttan

"This kickoff to a traditional fantasy series starring feisty and independent teen heroine Erynn is both well paced and engaging. The book starts in medias res, with Erynn hiding in a cave after the dragon Krystalix attacked a group of men from her kingdom returning from a horse-buying expedition, and the raid on the recently purchased animals leaves her father dead. But Erynn got a clear look at the person who struck the fatal blow, a "fair-haired man with the limp and the jagged scars," and vows to avenge the murder. When she discovers the true identity of the fair-haired man, Erynn uncovers a conspiracy that may complicate her quest. Ruttan blends the medieval and supernatural effortlessly, ably setting up a sequel to this fun fantasy novel."
-- Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

I know, I'm getting lazy, but I've got several reviews to get into this post, and the above review describes the situation so neatly.  

My main complaint is the sequence of caught! escaped! caught! escaped!  caught!  well, you get the idea.  Oh, and I didn't like the name grated on me each time I saw it.  Weird.  

Overall, it is a decent series and entertaining, but not in my top tier of favorite YA fantasy.

Hmmm, although I have to admit the covers are excellent and may be among my favorites for their graphic simplicity and visual atmosphere.

YA/Fantasy.  2012 and 2013.  Print length:  Falcon - 292 pages; Dragon - 341 pages.

I'm just going to mention another one that I've finished and really liked:  Animas:  The Legacy of the Claw by C.R. Grey.  This one is another NetGalley book, and I will have to hold the review until closer to the publication date, but you can pre-order it.  

It is for a younger audience, but was a great read, and I can't wait for the next in the series.  Perfect for grandson Max, who will be entering the third grade in the fall.  It would make a great book for my daughter to read aloud to both Max and Mila.  Although the target audience is for grades 3-7, I thoroughly enjoyed it! 

Middle School.  Oct. 28, 2014.  Print length:  304 pages.


  1. These look good! I can already see that I need to get my hands on Animas for my 10-year-old daughter. I can't wait to see what you think of it.

  2. I loved the Natural History of Dragons and the book you describe sounds fantastic!
    Lynn :D

  3. Irene - I love reading books that I think my grandkids will like! Not that they always will, but I'm ever hopeful.

    Lynn - I don't want to wait too long for the next in Lady Trent's adventures. I'm eager to follow up with Tropic of Serpents!

  4. I'm really curious about The Natural History of Dragons. I love the cover!

    Animas sounds really good too!