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 her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy 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.
My review in 200 words or less
At first I was unsure about this dragon book, but by the end of the prologue I was completely enthralled and weeping with the beauty of Rachel Hartman’s words. Seraphina is a slow build; an intricate tapestry, punctuated with music, emotion, intellect, and magic. It continually took my breath away.
Seraphina has got to be one of the most interesting characters I’ve come across in a fantasy novel, and I very much enjoyed getting to know her. It felt like a privilege, being allowed to see the world through her eyes, and experience people the way she does. Each interaction with another being was delicate and meaningful. The romance in Seraphina’s story is such a gentle, sweet, slow development that it not only felt real, but it felt so right.
Aside from Seraphina, each other character held my interest in a different, yet similarly real way. This story was so well-crafted, the world so thoroughly developed, that even though there were many words that were unfamiliar, they felt familiar in context (and there’s a glossary!). I absolutely loved Seraphina and have not one compliant. Please, if you like fantasy, and you have the chance, read this book.