Book Description (From Amazon): 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.
Soundtrack: “Ave Maris Stella”~ Otto Olsson
So much of the book revolves around Seraphina’s relationship with music, and this gorgeous choral piece came to mind immediately.
After reading about this book in a recent issue of “Shelf Awareness,” I was beyond excited to snag a copy from the library.
In a country where there is an uneasy truce between humans and dragons, Seraphina has spent her entire life attempting to hide her true identity. Turning her considerable musical talents to a position as the assistant to the court composer, she is unable to evade notice for long.
When a member of the royal family is killed, and the murder appears to have been commited by a dragon, Seraphina finds herself dragged into the investigation and forging unlikely relationships along the way.
It is not exaggeration to say that I LOVED this book. Seraphina’s character is so richly imagined that she practically leaps off the page. The reader sharply feels her turmoil at reconciling her public and private lives. She’s a very typical young woman, wanting to feel beautiful and valued but believing herself unworthy of those things. Seeing her explore her unique talents and realize that what makes her different also makes her remarkable is fantastic.
While Seraphina herself is reason enough to read this book, I can’t do it a disservice by neglecting to mention the supporting characters. Each of them is challenged in some way by their role in society- Prince Lucian is contracted to marry his cousin regardless of his personal wishes, Orma finds himself fighting his very nature when it comes to loving his niece, and Seraphina’s father is an expert in the law despite having broken it himself long ago. The mythology is developed to a wonderful degree. Ms Hartman developed a unique class of dragons, with their own quirks, emotional characteristics and habits. She’s given the human residents of her world their own caste rules, prejudices and religious system.
In the case of this book I would even be tempted to break my own rule regarding YA series. Though the ending resolved the plot well, I wouldn’t have been opposed to spending a lot more time with Seraphina and following her as she and Kiggs move forward and prepare for a potential war between the humans and the dragons. I didn’t do a great deal of searching, but if I were to read that Rachel Hartman was planning a sequel, it wouldn’t cause any gnashing of teeth on my part. There’s music, there’s romance, and plenty of intrigue to keep you turning pages until the end.
Five out of Five Ivory Flutes.