Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
by Rachel Hartman
first published July 2nd 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Never a question in my mind that this book would be anything other than five stars. From page one, I was in its thrall.
It's such a unique style of writing, moving and flowing, teasing me, drawing me in and down. The style fits perfectly in this book, so completely different from anything I have read before. I love not being able to liken it to something else. I stands apart. It is so unique, in fact, that it is stretching the limits of my own imagination. I will be basking in this creativity for months to come, or at least until I read the sequel, which I am sure will be equally breathtaking.
There are certain phrases and concepts which even now are escaping my grasp. Lucky for me there is a glossary of terms in the back of the book. I didn't use it throughout reading, since it would have taken me a step out of the story, but it's there for anyone who needs it. Even without fully understanding the religious icons and practices, or their geography, or history and politics, I was drawn deep into the story. The characters were absolutely real, though fantastical, and I could feel them as though they sat by my side, watching me flip the pages, whispering words in my ear.
Seraphina is an unlikely heroine, music mistress to a princess. From the beginning, though, you feel that there is something great about her lurking beneath her surface. Orma, seemingly cool and calculated, is not someone I could have foreseen growing an attachment to. But I love how blind he is to Seraphina's effect on him. And of course there is Lucian Kiggs. Even after having finished the book, I feel his character is shrouded in mystery, his dark intelligence just barely touched. I really look forward to seeing how he is revealed in the next book.
The villains are often heard, and not seen. They leave destruction is their wake, but are faceless. Who killed the prince? It could be anyone! Best to stay on your toes...
*sigh* I don't envy the next book I read. It's bound to be a hard act to follow.
And while you're at it, you might as well read the prequel, The Audition. It's FREE! And takes only a few minutes to read. And yet, another 5 stars!
Does that make this a 10 star review? Hmmm...