Title: Seraphina (#1)
Author: Rachel Hartman
On the Shelves: Young Adult Fiction> Fantasy
“In her New York Timesbestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages.Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”
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 (Goodreads 2014)
Seraphina took me a bit of getting used to, but once I got into it (probably around 1/3 of the book), I couldn’t put the book down. The story follows a girl named Seraphina,who is working as a musician in the courts, providing music at the ceremonies. It is soon discovered that there is more to her tutor, and to herself, than meets the eye- mainly shiny scales, fangs and a tail.
The story is focussed around the two races of humans and dragons, and turbulent history between them. They were at war for centuries, and finally a peace treaty was drawn up between the two, so that they might live together on the shared land. However, it looks like after four decades, the treaty isn’t going to make it to it’s 50th anniversary, as the dragons are not happy and the humans are full of hatred and prejudices against them. It appears that war is on it’s way again, and Seraphina may just be the key to stopping it.
I did enjoy this book. Hartman has a lovely way of writing and story-telling, and the descriptions in this book were so vivid that I had no trouble imagining what this world looked like. I did struggle to follow the events sometimes, it felt like the book had rushed ahead and not explained what exactly was happening once or twice, but it soon caught up with itself, I just had to be patient and wait for the explanation. I enjoyed Orma as a character, alongside Seraphina and Lucian, I think Orma was my favourite, and I hope he returns in “Shadow Scale”, although it doesn’t look very probably- le woe!
If you like fantasy and “dragon” books, I would definitely recommend that you give this a try.