Let’s start this adventure!
Hello everyone! Here is my first post! I decided for a review of a book I’ve read quite some time ago especially because main character and I share a name.
“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“
"Will appeal to both fans of Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series and Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown." — Entertainment Weekly
"Beautifully written. Some of the most interesting dragons I've read."
— Christopher Paolini, New York Times bestselling author of Eragon
This is a fantasy novel published in 2012. In Rachel Hartmans splendid debut we meet three official species: humans, dragons in human form and underclass of smaller dragons. Our main hero is a 16 year old musician in the royal court, who discovers that she is half human half dragon even though mating of this two type of beings is not supposed to be possible. From Seraphina’s narration we learn that her father had no idea his wife was a dragon until Seraphina was born. Also both we and Seraphina realize that she is actually surrounded by dragons. They can assume human shape and human emotions but in their true form they are logical and emotionless.
For 40 years dragons and humans have lived in an uneasy peace and on the anniversary of the treaty everything falls apart. The crown prince is murdered and Seraphina unexpectedly becomes involved in the investigation.
Seraphina feels isolated and alone, and is learning every day how to live with her secret. Every day she is lying to the world about who she is and in this lie she starts to lose herself. Music is the only constant and certain thing in her life. It is her link to her dead mother, her work, and her access to the court, and Hartman fits it perfectly in her metaphors and descriptions. And of course we cannot forgot the love story, and that is something Hartmans does perfectly, for example, describing her first kiss.
But for me the most beautiful part of the book is seeing Seraphina overcoming obstacles especially the biggest one – herself.
This is not just another dragon book story. This is a story of growing up and finding your place in the world. The setting is close to Renaissance Europe and Hartman perfectly combines an unknown world (dragons) and familiar (human), moving the borders and pushing the limits of début novels.
This is an impressive début and strong on so many fronts. With detailed world building and complex characters that you can relate with – all of them, not just the main character.
There is only one outcome for this novel and it's 5 stars and I cannot wait to finally read the second part in which Rachel Hartman gives a closure to this story. And if some film studio buys the rights for an adaptation I'll be first in line to buy a ticket because this is worth seeing on the big screen.
About the author:
Rachel Hartman was born in Kentucky, but has lived a variety of places including Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She has a BA in Comparative Literature, although she insists it should have been a BS because her undergraduate thesis was called “Paradox and Parody in Don Quixote and the satires of Lucian.” She eschewed graduate school in favour of drawing comic books. She now lives in Vancouver, BC, with her family, their whippet, and a talking frog and salamander (who fight zombies)(really. There are a lot of zombies in the Pacific Northwest).