Lyrical, imaginative, and wholly original, this New York Times bestseller with 8 starred reviews is not to be missed. Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut will have you looking at dragons as you’ve never imagined them before…
In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer.
The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.
When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life. (from GoodReads)
On paper, Seraphina should be the kind of book I don't like. I usually shy away from high fantasy because if the world building is less than stellar, I won't enjoy the book. And Seraphina is high fantasy in every conceivable way: dragons that take a human body, new vocabulary, an entirely made-up world. I loved every minute of it.
Rachel Hartman brings the world of Goredd to life. I'm still not sure of how everything works, but it felt like I was thrust into this new world and have to learn as I go along. Everything is so believable and well-done and thought-out. She has some imagination!
I also love the character of Seraphina. She was smart, talented (musically and otherwise), curious, strong, conflicted, sometimes rude, witty, loving, I could go on. She's definitely one of the more fleshed out and developed YA characters out there. The inner turmoil she feels about being half-dragon was so relatable, as I'm sure we've all felt like we've had to hide part of ourselves (though not to extent that Seraphina had to endure). Seraphina's struggle was very heartbreaking and Hartman does a wonderful job of relaying her emotions to the reader.
An important part of the novel is the hatred between dragons and humans, and the stereotyping, prejudice and bigotry that goes along with it. I could definitely see this as a metaphor for present day struggles. The book has the wonderful message of acceptance and tolerance that I'm sure people today could use.
I am so glad that the author is planning a sequel because I thoroughly enjoyed Seraphina and want to spend more time in this world! Too bad I have to wait until 2015!
Rating: 9 out of 10.
2012/Random House/512 pages