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.
Thanks to my sister, I read this book. Thanks to Ms. Hartman’s amazing writing, I stuck with it. I was interested by the cover and the plot, but I was also wary of how she would pull it off. She didn’t disappoint. In her debut novel and first book in the trilogy, she introduces Seraphina and the world of Goredd...and dragons.
Dragons are hated and distrusted by humans. In turn, dragons aren’t very fond of them either and distrust them as well. Unfortunately for Seraphina, she’s trapped in the middle. She can’t let either side know–excluding her dragon uncle and human father–about her secret.
Being half-dragon is definitely not a great situation in Goredd. Dragon laws forbid it and humans think it’s unthinkable. Why would someone mate with something as disgusting as a dragon? It didn’t matter that dragons can and do take human form, mating just wasn’t done. To make it worse, the tensions draw higher when a royal is murdered, rumored to be by a dragon.
All Seraphina has is music–to the pain of her father. She plays at the palace as a musical mistress assistant and her tutor is her uncle. Of course, her life changes when she finds out that she’s half-dragon. Then it twists again when everyone recognizes her everywhere after she plays for everyone in the city. Once the murder takes place, she’s determined to find out if it was a dragon or not.
Seraphina is a book that’s hard to review because you have to make sure you don’t uncover any spoilers. That’s probably one of the reasons I really like this book: it has twists and turns. It makes you want to keep saying, “One more chapter” until you finish the book and realize it’s three in the morning.
Ms. Hartman does an amazing job of taking a tired subject–dragons–and giving it umph. She combines romance in there, but I wouldn’t call it a romance book. It has adventure, but the romance fans aren’t going, “Okay, okay, now where’s the romance?” She adds just enough of each element to create a fantastic book.
|My group of huggable characters|
The charming Kiggs (otherwise known as Prince Lucian) makes me smile easily. He’s a mix, but not a half-dragon. His mother was a royal, his father was not. He’s sensitive of being illegitimate, however, he later makes light of it with Seraphina. One of my favorite lines in this is actually from him (see my favorite quotes down below). His cousin and fiancé (I know, I know that this happened back, way back, in the day but this makes my nose scrunch up) annoyingly lovable Princess Glissenda is the heir after her grandmother and mother, respectively. She’s a bit of an airhead at first, insulting people without really meaning to, but she develops a strong care for Seraphina. She later does buckle up and becomes the ruler she’s supposed to be. Then while you only truly meet a couple of the grotesques in her head, the ones you do meet are wonderful. I just want to hug Loud Lad and Fruit Bat and never let go, being forever friends with them.
I give a great knuckle-bump to Ms. Hartman for her characters, plot, and twist on dragons. Also, a hug for not making me cliff-hanger angry at the end.
Verdict: I can’t wait for the sequel!
My favorite quotes:
Kiggs: “I may have been hoping you were illegitimate, like me, but no, everything was in order. Congratulations!”
Seraphina: “For future reference: do not underestimate the seductive power of math.”
Orma: “Tell me why I shouldn’t bite your head off. It couldn’t make things any worse for me.”
Orma: “What were you up to when I arrived? You weren’t going to mate right here in the snow, were you?”
Word to Parents: they repeatedly say “bastard” but in the literal sense. Other than that, it was clean.