Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Published: 2012 by Random House
Obtained: Library Download
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.
“I remember being born.” (Prologue)
Well. I have officially found a new favorite dragon book.
I find it funny that Christopher Paolini is the one who is quoted on the cover, seeing as his books used to be my favorite (yes I know I still haven’t finished them). Anyways.
In this world, there were all these wars pitting man against dragon. Finally they established peace. Oh, dragons also have the ability to morph into human form, even though it’s very uncomfortable for them. Seraphina is a half dragon – half human. Her father fell in love with a dragon and didn’t know she was a dragon until she died giving birth to Seraphina. So now Seraphina works in the palace as a music mistress and gives lessons to the Princess, all without letting anyone know her secret. Her dragon uncle, Orma, stays around to help her out. So the book starts with a member of the royal family’s funeral. Since he got killed in a very dragon-like manner, the people start distrusting the dragons again. But the peace treaty celebration is coming up and the leader of the dragon population is coming to stay within the castle. Lots of discord. Anyways. So during this time of stress, Seraphina is helping Prince Lucian figure out who killed his uncle, and she’s finding it harder and harder to keep her secret. Also, there’s a chance that her secret is the one thing that can help them all.
This whole concept with dragons is new and refreshing, and I love it. Orma is amazing and the Ardmagar is incredibly complex. Although the dragons in their natural form weren’t anything new, the thoughts they had were. Certain times when the reader got to see what the dragons thought, it was all scientific, about wind vectors and such. I never really thought about them needing to know the best way to fly.
Seraphina’s trouble with her secret was handled in an excellent way. It wasn’t just her hiding it forever and ever. She slowly began to accept herself (akin to the character transformation in Grave Mercy). As she began to accept herself, she opened up to friends and love.
I won’t say “this was an great debut novel,” because this was just a great novel, period. I loved this book. The length was perfect and the story isn’t over, as there is a sequel coming out late 2013. It should pick up the mystery right where it left off. Hopefully some unfortunate circumstances get resolved.
Content Warning: Some mild language