Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: July 10, 2012
My Rating: 4 stars
"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."- Goodreads
Rachel Hartman is obviously an experienced author. The way she wrote Seraphina was simply splendid. It was very well written. The descriptions were fantastic and engaging . She took something used like shape shifting and turned it into something completely her own.
Seraphina is lonely. She grew up knowing not to get attached to people. Because if they ever found out the truth about her, they'd discover a beast in disguised as a human. For forty years now, there has been peace between dragons and humans. But that doesn't mean people have to like it. Most people despise dragons and want them gone. Permanently.
Chaos is simmering beneath the surface of long- standing peace. Someone is working hard to destroy the fragile bond between species that the Queen worked so hard to build. After a series of events, Serephina is dragged right in the midst of it along with Prince Lucian. It's up to them to discover just what's going on and stop it, while it's possible.
Seraphina didn't have an easy life and it's apparent in her actions. She shies away from anything that could expose her secret, which I understood. It was a bit annoying at first but throughout the story she began to grow as a person and stop hiding herself. Her uncle Orma was probably my favorite character. He was very complex, and although it often didn't seem like it, he loved Seraphina. He was always there for her even when no one else was. The princess was ok. Although she was pampered, she still managed to act courageous and even nice. Finally, I had mixed feelings about Prince Kiggs. He could be a jerk but it was only because he didn't want to be betrayed.
The world Seraphina lived in didn't need time to grow on me. I loved it from the start. It was a medieval setting but with a fantasy aspect to it. Seraphina traveled to several different places and met many people. The places all began to feel real to me and it was sad when the book ended.
However, there were a couple things that bugged me. The plot took a while to pick up and I found myself wondering when the story building would end. Also, I got quite sick of Seraphina despising herself. She refused to see anything good about herself even though (I don't want to spoil anything here so I'll be vague) she admired a dragon.
In conclusion, I did enjoy this book and will definitely stick around for the next one. It was a great read, especially for fantasy readers. Although the world was so defined that dystopian readers would also like it. Plus, there's shape shifting which means paranormal readers might want to check out this book.
- "Sometimes the truth has difficulty breaching the city walls of our beliefs. A lie, dressed in the correct livery, passes through more easily.”
- “I cannot perch among those who think that I am broken.”
- “I became the very air; I was full of stars. I was the soaring spaces between the spires of the cathedral, the solemn breath of chimneys, a whispered prayer upon the winter wind. I was silence, and I was music, one clear transcendent chord rising toward Heaven. I believed, then, that I would have risen bodily into the sky but for the anchor of his hand in my hair and his round soft perfect mouth.”
- That’s the secret to performance: conviction. The right note played tentatively still misses its mark, but play boldly and no one will question you. If one believes there is truth in art – and I do – then it’s troubling how similar the skill of performing is to lying. Maybe lying is itself a kind of art. I think about that more than I should.”