Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina is 16 years old. Her old tutor is a dragon, and she is currently assistant to the court composer. She gives harpsichord lessons to the princess Glisselda, so she lives at the palace, for convenience.  She also has scales around her waist and left wrist, as well as strange mental powers. The reason? Seraphina is a half-dragon, and her dragon tutor is her uncle. Thrown into the maelstrom of confusion at court after the death of Prince Rupert, uncle to Glisselda and her cousin/fiance Prince Lucian, Seraphina must search for the truth. Many Goreddis, her country's people, suspect a dragon, as Prince Rupert had lost his head, and it was never found. People were antsy enough about dragons under a treaty that some suspect is false, but the Ardmagar(ruler) of the dragons is due for a visit. He is coming to honor the 40th anniversary of the treaty. With the help of Prince Lucian and her Uncle Orma, and several other half-dragons(which aren't supposed to exist)that she's collected along the way, Seraphina must prevent as many deaths as she can.

Dragons, check.  Palace intrigue and gossip, check. Music, check.  Controversial saints, check. Assassination attempts, check. Prince Charming, sort of. Half-dragon girl, of course.  This is definitely not an ordinary sort of book.  That may be my favorite thing about it, as well as some of the things mentioned above. I absolutely loved the saarantrai, dragons able to become humans, hoarding knowledge in place of gold. The quigutl were also fun, almost human cousins of saarantrai that go begging for metal to make little figurines. The story starts a little strangely, but once I got into it, it was hard to put down. The writing has a lyrical quality, with a bright thread of humor throughout. This book reminds me of the Inheritance books by Christoper Paolini, one person set to bring two separated worlds together, joining them in a common cause. Rachel Hartman's debut novel is truly magnificent.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA