A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan was published in 2013. The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl was published in 2015. And yet, they both read like they were written in the late nineteenth century. Published as contemporary novels. Written as Victorian ones. An intriguing paradox.
I love dragons. And I especially love a well-developed world where dragons make sense. A Natural History of Dragons has both of those things. The dragons are simply another type of wild animal, just like lions or deer. It's just that very little is known about them scientifically. That's a perfectly plausible set up for a world full of dragons. Because the book was written in a more Victorian style, it seemed occasionally slow-paced. But there was plenty of intrigue (and dragons!) to keep you invested in the story, all the way to the very end.
Again, the Victorian style set me back a bit here. For a book that is essentially about pirates, it was rather less. . . swash-buckling than I would have expected. We hear the story from the bookaneer's companion, told to his young friend several years after the adventure. The story probably would have had more impact being told directly as it was happening. Even so, I enjoyed the concept of book pirates. I enjoyed learning about the island of Samoa and Robert Louis Stevenson's time there. It's an unusual book, made even more so by its style of narration. Even with that quirk, it was still a pretty great adventure.