Format read: paperback
Release Date: 2 July 2012
Publisher: Random House
Formats available: Hardcover, audio book paperback, ebook
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK)
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisite debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.
Seraphina is the beginning of what promises to be an incredible series.
Seraphina is coming up in the world, recently appointed assistant music master of the royal court Seraphina is living her dream of working with music, but unfortunately her talent is getting her noticed around court, something her father has urged her not to do because getting noticed, could lead to being found out. Seraphina has a secret, she is part dragon.
On top of trying to keep her lineage under wraps, Seraphina is also playing the role of detective. Her friends within the royal family have recently lost their beloved uncle, his death being blamed on a dragon attack something that if proven true, could start a war between dragon and human kind crumbling the fragile peace their species have held for the last forty years.
Seraphina was an amazing character, not only in her uniqueness but also in her personality. Being part dragon, an abomination in the eyes of both dragons and humans, she has a few special quirks that if not kept under control could destroy her ruse. Intelligent, witty, loyal but very dishonest she was willing to risk her comfortable life to uncover the truth about the death of the Prince all to save her city from a false sense of security. The murder was being covered up, passed off as bandits in the woods, but Seraphina investigates the truth to find out if it was really a rogue dragon.
I loved Hartman’s take on dragons, their lack of emotions and pursuit only of knowledge, power and intellect. Their transformations between saarantras – human like form – and their dragon forms, the way they were completely beaten down in the city of Goredd, forced to wear bells that Identify them as a dragons and pushed into certain parts of the city. Such powerful creatures being rendered so helpless, it was amazing to find out their reasons for putting up with the humans scorn and disdain in the ways that they did.
I think what I loved most about Seraphina, was not the individual characters themselves, but the entire world Hartman created, the political aspect of the royal court and what the royal family had to go through to keep the peace in their city and with the dragons no matter their own personal feelings on the subject. Dragons are hated by most of the citizens of Goredd, who are not only scared of them, but also repulsed and that didn’t exclude certain members of the royal family.
That Hartman also broke with every other fantasy book I’ve read and set the treaty that governed the lives of her world’s inhabitants to only forty years prior instead of the standard hundreds of years created a whole new dynamic. Instead of the standard, this is the ways it’s always been done mentality people are still settling into the treaty, not many are happy with it and still some want to see it abolished. That discord within the ranks that the citizens still feel made Goredd as a place, that much more interesting.
Seraphina is a fantastic read, the whodunit mystery that wasn’t all that obvious, the political turmoil, the slight hint of romance between Seraphina and her forbidden crush, the dynamic between the two species trying to live as one people and Seraphina’s overall character had me engrossed from the start.
I give Seraphina 5 Stars
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