Series: Seraphina #1
Publisher: Random House (2012)
Hardcover (464 pages)
Reading Challenges: Read 2015
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.
I kept hearing so many wonderful things about this book that I finally requested it from the library. I had rather high expectations and this book met them. It was beautifully written and pretty awesome.
The novel is set in a quasi-Middle Ages Europe. The culture is largely focused on their saints. This reminded me of Italy and bit of Russia. It was interesting to read the parts of the saints and try to draw connections to the Roman Catholic saints. I found it all rather neat though some people might not.
Anyway, in this world there are humans and there are dragons. For forty years there has been an peace between the two races. The dragons have been able to take human form and live in Goredd. The treaty seemed to be working just fine until something happened.
Suddenly Prince Rufus is murdered in a draconian manner. A rogue dragon is seen flying over Goredd. Tensions are rising as the fortieth anniversary of the treaty approaches. Stuck right in the middle of this is Seraphina Dombegh, the assistant music mistress in charge of music for the anniversary festivities.
Seraphina is a half-dragon. Her father had no idea until her mother died in childbirth. Marriage between the two species was forbidden. Seraphina’s father, a lawyer specializing in the treaty, knows this better than anyone. So Seraphina keeps her secret close. She does her best to go unnoticed so that no one will discover the ring of scales upon her arm and waist.
After the death of Prince Rufus, Seraphina is drawn into more than she ever wished to be. Orma, her music teacher who also happens to be a dragon, may know who is to blame for the death. Seraphina turns to the two people who might be able to help: Princess Glisselda and Prince Lucian.
Prince Lucian is the Captain of the Guard. It is he who has the resources to look deeper into the information Seraphina brings. Princess Glisselda is his betrothed and in line for the crown after her mother and her grandmother, the Queen.
Seraphina’s life is further complicated by the new friends she is making. They are people that Seraphina might finally be able to trust like she has never trusted anyone before. That is, if she is willing to let her guard down a bit.
This story is so good. I would love to keep telling you more but I don’t want to give any spoilers. If you like dragons, romance, intrigue, and mysteries, this book would probably be perfect for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
- You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge